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Difficult female coworkers at my job


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Old 5th March 2017, 7:33 PM   #1
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Difficult female coworkers at my job

Over the past month, I've begun to notice that most of female coworkers have consistently treated me with some degree of hostility or negativity. This doesn't apply to superiors or bosses, of whom I have a good working relationship with. I work at a company with over a thousand employees, so it's easy to see the behavior in volume.

Due to our company's small town location, most of our friends are our peers, and there are several office romances amongst those in the same rank. But whenever I try to talk to any girl in my rank, I am met with a lack of eye contact, crossed off body language and some anger in their voice. And this is simply conversation, smalltalk and banter, not me trying to make a move.

Just last week, one girl shut down my computer while I was at a meeting. She wasn't even apologetic about it. I saved my files beforehand so nothing got lost, but I still briefly reprimanded her (professionally) for her lack of respect. The week before, my team leader gave us some candy. We had extra, so I offered some to people nearby. One of the girls shouted at me, "NO I DON'T WANT ANY!" to that simply request to the group. Those are two recent examples. I've also noticed that a lot of us at the company are friends on social media, but some of those same girls are specifically blocking me from their pages. I don't care what they post and typically don't read their posts, but the active blocking does raise questions.

I asked a work friend of mine to observe my behavior one day, and he didn't notice anything negative about what I was doing. I'm a talkative guy, but it's mostly lighthearted smalltalk. I have friends here, but they're all guys, none of whom run into this type of hostility.

Anyone know what's going on here?
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Old 5th March 2017, 7:40 PM   #2
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Sounds like something has gotten you a bad reputation among the women at work there. I can only suggest you stop trying to get on their social media. No one usually wants random work people peering into their personal lives.

If you are talkative, stop being talkative to them because fair or unfair, it isn't going down well.

Just pull back and concentrate on work and stop trying to socialize with them at all. Good luck.
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Old 5th March 2017, 8:08 PM   #3
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Sounds like something has gotten you a bad reputation among the women at work there. I can only suggest you stop trying to get on their social media. No one usually wants random work people peering into their personal lives.

If you are talkative, stop being talkative to them because fair or unfair, it isn't going down well.

Just pull back and concentrate on work and stop trying to socialize with them at all. Good luck.
I agree that something has slapped me with a bad reputation. I don't know where it could have stemmed from, but it exists. My plan beginning this week was to become less talkative in the office for the exact reason you provided. Thank you for the advice.

However, the social media thing is quite the contrary. Most of us at our rank are friends with each other on those apps (my best work friends and I share 100+ Facebook friends, for example). Due to the setting and climate, our work friends are oftentimes our real friends too.
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Old 5th March 2017, 8:17 PM   #4
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Well, that's fine, but don't just randomly go on someone's social media that you are unsure of. When you don't know for sure what is going on, best to just hunker down until things start loosening up.
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Old 6th March 2017, 3:54 PM   #5
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Never refer to adult women as "girls." You did it several times in your posting. This is one likely indicator of why people would respond to you negatively or not at all. There are things in your personal manner that are not ideal. You need to become more self-aware.

Not everyone wants to chit-chat at work. Some who do with others may not want to with you. That's life. Not everyone is going to consider you to be charming and personable. Keep it professional, and what comes out of your mouth based on organizational objectives, and you'll see a response more to your liking and of better service to your company and its clients.

Eliminate thinking of this as a gender thing. Treat each person as an individual, and don't attribute anything to that person's being male or female. One's sex matters only when it's time to evacuate the bladder - separate rest rooms.

There's a saying that if you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting. You have to change your own behavior if you want a different experience in interacting with others. Start here - never refer to an adult woman as a girl. Unless she's your wife and says she likes to hear that term from you, it's unequivocally likely to offend. Even if she's your wife and likes you to refer to her that way, she definitely doesn't want co-workers to refer to her as a girl.
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Old 10th March 2017, 10:22 PM   #6
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On the candy...this is so normal in my world. The calories, the chocolate-hounds, the inability to stop eating, the so-called addiction, diets, weight loss....etc. For someone to say, "I have cookies (chocolate, candy, brought doughnuts), want any?" inevitably you'll hear someone in a cubicle lamenting, "Noooo!!!" It's not personal.

You state it's a small town, intertwined, and there is clear body language and hostility. You really can't think of anything that happened that might have started the rumor mill?

I think that your best approach right now is to keep professional and personal separate (don't pee where you eat), which is a bit of a task in what you describe in your town, but you don't have to be buddies with people at work. You all share FB pages, but that doesn't mean you need to like or respond to their posts, unless they are your genuine outside-of-work friends. Be pleasant in your work interactions, but you really don't need to engage in small talk around their lives, but may fill in the voids with talk about weather or traffic or some event going on in town.

And I agree, stop referring to the women as girls.
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Old 11th March 2017, 1:00 AM   #7
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On the candy...this is so normal in my world. The calories, the chocolate-hounds, the inability to stop eating, the so-called addiction, diets, weight loss....etc. For someone to say, "I have cookies (chocolate, candy, brought doughnuts), want any?" inevitably you'll hear someone in a cubicle lamenting, "Noooo!!!" It's not personal.
This would make sense. Except that the next day, someone else was parading around with cookies, and the same girl gave a polite "no thank you" without the glare or tone I experienced.

You state it's a small town, intertwined, and there is clear body language and hostility. You really can't think of anything that happened that might have started the rumor mill?
Honestly, no. No scandalous activities for me in a long while. I can't say the same about some of my coworkers though. I'm social and go out, but haven't been involved in any dicey situations. At work, I'm talkative and, while that sometimes can be a hindrance if someone is momentarily tied up (and I know when to back off in those cases), that's no reason for the hostility. A lot of people do the same thing.

I think that your best approach right now is to keep professional and personal separate (don't pee where you eat), which is a bit of a task in what you describe in your town, but you don't have to be buddies with people at work. You all share FB pages, but that doesn't mean you need to like or respond to their posts, unless they are your genuine outside-of-work friends. Be pleasant in your work interactions, but you really don't need to engage in small talk around their lives, but may fill in the voids with talk about weather or traffic or some event going on in town.

And I agree, stop referring to the women as girls.
I pick up the women/girls speak from my peers, so that's playing into how I write. Anyways, I have taken the advice of everyone here with the women I work with.
Responses in bold. This week, I did not initiate one conversation with any female coworker (at my level) unless it was purely for work. No banter of any kind. I made it a goal to only engage when a female coworker began the interaction, though no one did. I don't even think I received much eye contact in passing. How long does my change in behavior need to last before it has an effect?

Last edited by AgainstAllOdds1; 11th March 2017 at 1:06 AM..
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Old 11th March 2017, 3:01 PM   #8
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Possibly forever if they decide they don't want to talk to you. But just keep it up and see if any of them decide to cautiously approach you and if so, do not take it to the level you were taking it before at all. Just be professional and polite like you would if you were working with your strict grandmother.
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Old 12th March 2017, 8:02 PM   #9
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Possibly forever if they decide they don't want to talk to you. But just keep it up and see if any of them decide to cautiously approach you
Rather petty if they were to do that. I always thought women hold grudges like that only after a traumatic or trust-breaking event. There was no trauma or trust-breaking here.

and if so, do not take it to the level you were taking it before at all.
I don't feel my behavior or level was "wrong" in any way. Other coworkers behave the same manner. Harmless. However...

Just be professional and polite like you would if you were working with your strict grandmother.

...if shutting everything down is the way to avoid further drama, maybe it's the right thing to do for a little while.
Responses in bold. I can mellow out for a bit while at work, but I won't change who I am when others are behaving similarly. That's not fair to me.
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Old 13th March 2017, 8:31 PM   #10
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I spy with my little eye.....one side of the story.
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Old 26th March 2017, 2:15 AM   #11
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I spy with my little eye.....one side of the story.
Good luck getting the other side of it.

I took the advice here and successfully did everything I could to avoid them over the past couple of weeks. And, nothing. If I walk past them, I'm getting some serious glares. One female coworkers told her friend nearby that I go out of my way to sit near her. I arrive at work hours before her, so this isn't physically possible. Plus, I have sat at the same station every day since before she started working at the company. If she keeps sitting near me, that's her decision.

I'm guessing this takes longer than I'd want it to.
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Old 26th March 2017, 9:17 PM   #12
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I have a couple difficult female coworkers at my job now. Its a smaller company. I just don't talk to them unless I absolutely have to and I just talk about work with them. This has helped a ton. Before I was trying to befriend them and honestly this girls/women/whatever just aren't that happy.

One of the women is so bad I don't eat lunch in the lunchroom because she's in there some of the time and the more I got to know her the worse it got.

I feel sorry that you are in this situation. I would definitely cut out any kind of "banter" with girls that are not receptive to you. This for sure isn't helping things. Banter is a thing you do professionally after you've gotten to know someone really well or feel particularly safe in interacting with them and even then its done sparingly.
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