Guess What? Your Nemesis May Be Right


We’ve all had to deal with people we don’t like. Whether classmates or teachers, co-workers or supervisors, we’ve all been vexed with the problem of having to work closely with someone we just don’t like. Perhaps the person has annoying habits. Or little work ethic. Perhaps there’s no reason other than the person simply rubs you the wrong way. Guess what? The reverse is also true: there are people who don’t like you.

Just as you don’t like everyone around you, not everyone will like you. It’s just a part of life. Don’t take it personally.

Taking the situation personally will likely just escalate the situation. Instead, look for a productive and professional alternative. You might, for example, try to focus on what you have in common with your nemesis: you are both there do get a job done, correctly, and on time. Focusing on these goals may help you avoid the distraction of personal animosity.

You might also consider approaching the person. Not a confrontation, mind you, but a brief, fair, and frank discussion. If you choose to do this, stay calm and open to what the person has to say. Don’t deny the complaints, or excuse them away, or object to the tone and language that the person uses describes the gripe. Really listening to what your nemesis has to say may directly improve your relationship since most people appreciate the opportunity to be heard out.

However, one of the difficult things about dealing with people who don’t like us is finding out that they have a legitimate beef after all. Openness to constructive criticism is a sign of maturity, as is improving because of constructive criticism. Your nemesis may have many valuable things to tell you that will help you grow as a person and as a professional. For example, maybe your nemesis has a gripe with your sloppy work habits. That’s something you need to know about and then change, since sloppy work habits will stand in your way as you try to advance in your career.

So before you dismiss people’s hard feelings toward you with a shrug and a “he just hates me,” take another deep breath and consider: Is it possible that your nemesis is right?