On Thursday, Business Insider published the listicle “19 Signs Your Coworkers Secretly Hate You.” The list includes such clues as “they avoid you,” “they don’t acknowledge your presence,” “they’re short with you,” “they never invite you to social events,” and “they constantly disagree with you.”
Indeed, avoidance, the silent treatment, irritability, exclusion, and disagreement can be signs that a co-worker doesn’t like you. But these hints can be extremely difficult to decipher with certainty. As Business Insider (with which Slate has a content-sharing partnership) writes, “Keep in mind that you may just be misreading their body language or tone—the workplace is certainly not immune to human misunderstanding and no one’s a mind reader.”
Indeed, when co-workers are intent on keeping their hatred for you a secret, it’s hard to know for sure how they really feel. There are, however, a few more extremely subtle indicators of hatred that Business Insider didn’t mention in its article. Slate shares them now as a public service.
1. They tell you they hate you. Saying “I hate you” might just be a joke, or evidence that it’s opposite day. But if your colleagues are always saying they hate you, it just might be a sign that they don’t like you.
2. They tell other people they hate you. You never know the full context of an overheard conversation, but if you hear one co-worker telling another co-worker that he hates your guts, it could indicate that he’s not your biggest fan.
3. They insult you openly. Jerkwad, stupidhead, fuckface. These can all be terms of endearment. But they can also be subtle suggestions that your colleagues aren’t that into you as a person.
4. They hit you. A little roughhousing now and then can be a collegial way to blow off steam. But if your co-workers are constantly punching you whenever they walk by your desk, it could be a red flag.
5. They point and laugh at you whenever you pass them in the hallway. It can be hard to tell what people are pointing at, especially when you and they are walking in opposite directions. And lots of noises—crying, shrieking, sneezing—can be easily mistaken for laughter. But if you’re seeing a lot of pointed fingers and hearing lots of cackles at the office, it might be because your co-workers are harboring negative feelings about you.
6. They put thumbtacks on your chair whenever you get up to use the bathroom. Of course, when someone puts thumbtacks all over your chair, it could just be an honest mistake. (Who among us hasn’t accidentally spilled thumbtacks all over a co-worker’s chair?) However, if this happens frequently, it could indicate that your colleagues feel hostile toward you.
7. They made a dartboard using a picture of your face. Maybe they truly didn’t have any other pieces of paper available to make their makeshift dartboard. It happens! But a personalized dartboard can also signify that your colleagues don’t like you deep down.
8. They created a website called [yourname]sucks.com. Proceed very carefully with this one, especially if you have a common name. But if your co-workers make a website devoted entirely to deriding you, it might be a symptom of a bigger problem.
9. They burned an effigy that looked just like you. You’ll want to be absolutely certain that the effigy your colleagues are burning outside your office is truly meant to represent you and not someone else before you draw any conclusions. Effigies can be hard to tell apart! But if your co-workers are setting aflame a figurine that has your hairstyle, is wearing your clothes, and is labeled with your name, they might be trying to send a message.