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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

How to Be the Least-Liked Person at the Office

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There’s a lot of advice out there for how to be the most well-liked person at the office. For example, you can empathize with your co-workers, own up to your mistakes, or even do simple things like hold open the door.

But what if you prefer a challenge and want to take your likeability in a different direction?

I’ve got your back with these 18 friendly suggestions:

  1. Go off on tangents as often as possible (bonus points if they include bizarre, highly personal details about your life). Aspire to be the person who everyone walks away from saying, “I have no idea how that conversation started.”

  2. Bring fish for lunch. Wait until the kitchen is packed and then heat it up in the microwave. Have the audacity to get offended when someone walks in and says, “What smells?”

  3. Schedule meetings with no agendas. Make sure nothing of substance is discussed. Then, as everyone’s getting up to leave, say, “OK, so we’re all clear on next steps?”

  4. Turn the volume on your phone all the way up. And don’t answer it when it starts ringing. Instead—and this is key—join in with everyone else who’s looking around for the offender. Do this for several minutes before realizing that it’s you. 

  5. Make eye contact with co-workers you don’t know well in the bathroom. Hold it. 

  6. Talk at length about football (or any other sport or hobby of choice), and pretend not to notice that the person you’re speaking with does not care. Decide that her eyes always glaze over like that and that she often appears to be “playing dead” during conversation.

  7. Pull a “Hansel and Gretel” by showing up to the office sick and leaving a trail of wadded up tissues everywhere you go in the office.

  8. Speak only in metaphors and inspirational Facebook memes. After all, you miss 100% of the shots you never take.

  9. Ask your colleague if he’s free to chat by approaching his chair from behind and lurking there until he turns around. Bonus points if he jumps.  

  10. Answer “How was your weekend?” in detail even though the other person was just asking to be polite and is now fidgeting listening to you talk about your Saturday morning yoga class drama.

  11. Talk about how stressed you are. Make sure every other sentence includes phrases like, “I just have a lot of my plate,” “My plate’s really full right now,” and “Has anyone seen my plate? It’s the one jam-packed with obligations.”

  12. Pretend that it’s humanly possible to “forget to eat lunch” because you’re busy.

  13. Insist on weekly check-in meetings with people you work with only occasionally. Then regularly cancel them at the last minute. 

  14. Keep quiet when your co-worker has something in her teeth and is about to give a presentation.

  15. Pull out your phone when someone asks if you had a good vacation. Physically prevent them from moving until they look at least 35 photos from your trip. (OK, you may keep it to 30 if they say something like, “Wow, you’re like a professional photographer, I’d buy that.”)

  16. Friend your colleagues on Facebook and invite them to every open mic night you perform at. If you receive no response online, ask in person if they’ll come support you because it would mean the world. After they say yes, respond with, “By the way, it costs $35 and it’s a two-drink minimum. Also, I don’t go on until 11 PM.”

  17. Write your emails in such a way that every line can be misinterpreted. Leave the person saying, “Either this is the most genuine message I’ve received or the most passive-aggressive.”

  18. Take this article seriously.