Clemson University Staff Senate

Ombuds Report: They Don’t Like Me

Tessa Byers, Ombuds

In August 2023, I wrote in the newsletter about what to do when you don’t like someone in your life.  I think that is an important conversation because people come to me all the time seemingly conflicted over how to “force” themselves to like someone when they just don’t.  It’s okay not to like someone.  You can still treat them with respect and courtesy and can move forward doing what is important to you.  Some of the comments I received after that newsletter asked me about the reverse:  what to do when someone doesn’t like you.

I recently was uninvited to a series of meetings that I had attended without incident for some time.  After my initial surprise and even indignation, I stepped back to evaluate.  Had I done something wrong?  Did I overstep my role?  Did I unintentionally harm those around me?  Not that I knew of.  I asked for feedback and more information about why I was no longer welcome at these meetings; that conversation didn’t give me any additional information.  My next thought is what if these individuals just don’t like me?

With all the people in the world and even all the people here at Clemson, it makes sense that this is going to be the result every once in a while, right?  We can’t possible please and win over every faculty, staff, student, and administrator here.  So why was this personal slight impacting me so much?  Here are a few tips to help you process when someone doesn’t seem to like you.

  1. This might not have as much to do with you as you think.  My initial reaction to not being invited to the ongoing meeting anymore was that they specifically didn’t want me there.  While that might be part of it, I doubt I am on this person’s mind so much as to require them to take drastic action only for me.
  2. It’s okay to feel hurt, offended, and disappointed.  I struggled to process my hurt when this first happened, and I realized I was avoiding it.  Hurt is not something I am used to feeling at work, but that is very much what was going on.  Acknowledging these feelings to ourselves makes it easier to move forward.
  3. You can still do what you need and want to do even when someone doesn’t like you.  When this first happened, I felt like it was closing the door for me in a lot of ways at work.  But when I stepped back and got some perspective, I realized that there was so much else to focus on and other work to be done.
  4. You can still have a productive working relationship with someone who doesn’t like you.  You can resolve to treat them well and to keep your focus on the work, and I think you would be surprised by how willing someone is have a working relationship when neither of you are trying to force something that is not there.
  5. When I say these people don’t like me, I am making assumptions here.  I assume because I have no other information, that these individuals don’t like me.  I’ve asked and not received any further information.  But if they were to come to me for assistance or wanted to work with me in another area or wanted to go out to lunch, I may have to reassess my assumption.  In other words, I have to remember that I am just making an assumption.  At this point, I don’t have all the facts. 

The bottom line is that when someone doesn’t like you, it can be really hard.  But it doesn’t have to be the end.  It doesn’t have to dictate your mood or your motivation or your next steps.  It can be a disappointing development that you are not going to let stand in your way of doing important work and adhering to your values of kindness and respect. 

What is the Ombuds Office?

The Ombuds Office is a confidential, independent, neutral, and informal space for staff to process concerns, get information, and develop options for how to move forward in a difficult situation.  I can provide education, conflict coaching, mediation, and facilitation as well as referrals to other resources across Clemson.  If you are unsure how to move forward in any way, I can help you work through it.

Tessa Byer
Phone:  864-656-5353
Address:  135 Old Greenville Hwy, Ste. 203 (Next to Esso!)

Save the date for upcoming training offered by the Ombuds:

Emotional Intelligence at Work
September 20, 2024 from 9:00 -12
Virtually only, sign up here:

Cultivating Resilience
October 26, 2024 from 9:00 to 11:00 At University Facilities Center, sign up here: