Why am I getting ignored by these two?
February 19, 2009 11:57 AM   Subscribe

Why are these two males acting funny with me?

At my workplace, I get along with most of the ladies and all the men except for two young guys. Not that I don't get along with them but they ignore me. I noticed they clam up around me and don't respond to anything I say to them. Even getting a hi is impossible when they seem to kick it fine with the other ladies and gentlemen. I am not implying EVERYONE should like me 'cause that's impossible but usually males respond very well to me because I'm just myself and to the point. I am wondering why some males seem to take issue with me when I have not done anything to them to warrant that type of cold shoulder. What is that?
posted by InterestedInKnowing to Human Relations (23 answers total)
Not much to go on here, but here goes:
#1) They have seen that porn you made on the internet, and it makes them uncomfortable to work with you.

B. They both have discussed the secret crushes they have on you and are too shy to do/say anything about it.

- You are their boss, and they are new to the workforce and don't know how to handle themselves around their boss

* They are your boss, and you are about to be fired.

5 It is all in your head, they are not ignoring you, and they are just quiet people in general.

Really, without some more information, there is an endless list of possibilities, some more and some less far-fetched/ridiculous than the above.
posted by Grither at 12:04 PM on February 19, 2009 [11 favorites]

it's because "usually" doesn't include "EVERYONE."
posted by rhizome at 12:04 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Are you, by any chance, particularly attractive? This often explains strange behavior in young males.
posted by farishta at 12:05 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'd speculate that either the women in the office are jealous of you and said something behind your back to the guys, or perhaps the guys are just intimidated by confident, assertive women. More info would really be useful; it's hard to draw conclusions out of several sentences. But in summary, petty office social BS sucks, but that kind of stuff happens and sometimes it's surprising what does happen.
posted by crapmatic at 12:05 PM on February 19, 2009

Make cupcakes or something. I'm serious. Bring food, and say, "Hey, guys! In case you missed the announcement, I brought cupcakes."

Well, it worked for me.
posted by katillathehun at 12:07 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Maybe they just don't like you generally?

That might not be your fault. Some people just don't like $person. It's not always something personal to you.

Have you tried asking your coworkers? Or even the guys in question?
posted by Solomon at 12:08 PM on February 19, 2009

Maybe they find you very attractive and that makes them uncomfortable in your presence? Some men find workplace crushes quite difficult to with. If so, they'll get over it eventually. It would help if they knew that you are not available.
posted by nowonmai at 12:11 PM on February 19, 2009

They are filled with white hot burning desire for you but know you'll never reciprocate so they're cold and distant but sigh longingly the instant you leave the room.

/been that guy
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:11 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

and to the point.

That trait is bound to make you unpopular with some people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:23 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

You can guess all you want, but you'll never know unless you ask them, which I wouldn't recommend -- because, no offense, it's really annoying in an adult situation to suddenly feel like you're in junior high, being asked in the hallway "Why don't you like me?" by somebody who isn't even a friend.

You've given us a description of the situation -- which allows some of us to try to guess what it might be. But remember this: you've given us the data which you see as important, and in that situation, we can only come up with solutions that you yourself could already come up with. There are tons of other things that you may or may not have been aware of during your interactions with these two but since you are only looking at data that you think is important in describing the situation, you'll remain unable to see this from any other angle.

In other words, try not to let it bother you so much unless it becomes a professional hinderance or interferes with your relationships with others to whom you are close. You'll drive yourself crazy trying and you will come across much worse if you make a big deal out of something that may, in fact, be nothing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:34 PM on February 19, 2009 [6 favorites]

y'know, I can't say why they are doing that at all, but singling out one person to not talk to? how rude. It must be really annoying, but try not to let it get to you - if these kids can't even muster enough common courtesy to say hello, they are really not worth your time. I like to take the "I'm polite even if you aren't" route in these situations - just greet them as you would any other co-worker, and if they don't respond, you don't have to pay any more attention to them. It'll either a) force them to be polite, or, b) annoy the hell out of them, both of which are pretty good.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:36 PM on February 19, 2009

Also, are the two guys of a particular race, religion or from a certain area where to the point women are not part of the culture.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:50 PM on February 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Mod note: A few comments removed; let's skip the gendered-noun-choice derail, please.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:08 PM on February 19, 2009

Maybe they find you very attractive and that makes them uncomfortable in your presence?

Well this is certainly what everyone who has been treated rudely or cruelly would like to hear, isn't it? People don't like me because I'm so hot.

Anyway, when I read questions like these I can't help but wonder if that's not the explanation the poster is hoping for in the first place. I would put this on the bottom of the list of possible explanations - maybe it's true, but if it is, then your only recourse is to make yourself uglier. In this case, I just don't think there's enough information to hazard a guess. Sometimes people just don't like you. Even if you're the sexiest thing since garter belts, they may dislike you for a totally different reason.

So, relax. If you can't think of anything you're doing to encourage this behavior, there's not much you can do to discourage it. Of course, like one poster suggested above, it never hurts to bake cupcakes.

And if you guys don't like my answer, I KNOW it's just because I'm so damn hot.
posted by Evangeline at 1:18 PM on February 19, 2009

If they are people you need to work with, I'd ask them. Approach one or the other when nobody else is around, and ask if there's a conflict that needs to be resolved. If he asks "why?" explain that there seems to be some awkwardness, and you're just checking. Maybe you said something that was misunderstood or maybe they don't like your shoes. Even if you don't get an accurate answer, addressing the problem will usually help.
posted by theora55 at 1:21 PM on February 19, 2009

I am not implying EVERYONE should like me

Well, yeah, you kind of are implying exactly that.

That said, was there a point in the past when these two guys did talk to you? If so, then the answer is "whatever happened around the time when they stopped talking to you, is the reason they don't talk to you."

If that doesn't help, it could be any one of thousands of reasons. If it's not affecting your work, I'd suggest you just let it go -- not everyone is going to like you, and that's okay.
posted by ook at 1:35 PM on February 19, 2009

Well seeing as there's almost nothing to go on I'll go for this:
They either dislike you or want to sleep with you or both.
posted by ob at 1:35 PM on February 19, 2009

"They want to sleep with you"

Either that or they are sleeping with each other.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 2:12 PM on February 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

There's something different about you, compared to the rest of your co-workers. If it's not super-obvious to you, discreetly ask someone else at the office. Be sure to ask someone who is not into office politics or gossip.
posted by hooray at 2:46 PM on February 19, 2009

I'd do the cupcake/cookie/candy thing. Make sure to target them with the yummy sweet stuff. And be persistent. Give them a smile and a greeting/nod/wave every time you see them.

I am not implying EVERYONE should like me

Well, yeah, you kind of are implying exactly that.

Not necessarily. I've worked with people who I disliked. I still managed to be polite and say hello when appropriate.
posted by deborah at 4:12 PM on February 19, 2009

I've got the same problem, only it is with 2 older men. I chalk it up to them being just a couple of arrogant assholes. Try not to let it bother you (easier said than done, I know).
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 6:27 PM on February 19, 2009

Best answer: You know, InterestedInKnowing, that you are asking several questions and making several statements about your biases?

For instance, you are asking a basic question about human interaction. Another about male/female interaction. Yet another about workplace interactions.

As to bias... there seems to be one that suggests an arbitrary manner in which all of the above are 'supposed' to work.

There's nothing wrong with any of that, of course, but it helps to ask the question 'What am I feeling and why am I feeling that?'

The range of reasons why someone will react to you in a particular manner is the same range of reactions you have to other people. Sometimes, things don't click. I have found as I age that when they do, I am happy, and when they don't, I don't have to 'fix' it. Sometimes, it just doesn't work NOW. That's not to say that it won't eventually work, but that the intersections of your various interests/needs/desires/wants/inclinations/prejudices, etc. are not currently favorable. Be patient. They may be in time.

On the other hand, they may not. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you.

FWIW, if you are kind, pleasant, polite, honest, and decent, those things are a lot more important than whether people like you or appreciate those qualities. It seems more important to ask how you can nurture your own qualities than to ask how you can win over a few recalcitrants.

In five years, you'll all be working somewhere else, anyway. Those guys won't go with you, but your character will. Worry about it more.

Good luck. Life's fun and odd, no?
posted by FauxScot at 8:17 PM on February 19, 2009 [6 favorites]

I know you've considered this question answered, but it occurred to me reading your post that it might be this: they've decided to see if they can get a rise out of you. People can be jerks. Do these guys hang out together? It might be the case that they were having beers and one mentioned a small complaint about you and the other said yeah, she totally reminds me of this bitch I used to know, and so on, culminating in an agreement to start what is essentially a passive-aggressive, not-funny, juvenile power game. Unless they impact your work (if they are junior to you, if you need to work directly with them, if they could affect your performance evals, whatever), I'd mention it to your boss or put it on record somewhere with a co-worker that you find them uncommunicative and leave it at that. If they do impact your work, try some of the suggestions above.
posted by Mrs Hilksom at 9:13 AM on February 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

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