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If lots of people describe you negatively, are they right? Watch

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    Say your colleague at work or uni, for example, finds you (and describe you as) annoying. They say you're self-centred, talk about yourself 70% of the time and things that interest you the other 30%, affect a demure, slightly clumsy personality to draw attention and sympathy, and maybe use your sex to get favours done by others. [I'm describing a character from an old TV series - Penny from Teachers (UK) - but go with me].

    Now imagine that all of your other colleagues describe you as annoying, and all of them speak of you in exactly the same way. Most of us assume that they're right. After all, if so many people say the same or similar things about you, however unpleasant, there must be truth to it, if not consistency. But there's still the chance everyone is wrong, surely? Think of the first impressions you gave on your first at work or uni, they've stuck, but there's a complete personality to you that people who only see you negatively miss out on. You'd say "Who cares?'" when it's one person, but it can be a problem when everyone you work with does this.

    My question is what happens if your colleagues are wrong? Is it just a case of 'tough luck' on account of the premise that your colleagues will never admit they're wrong, which makes them the negative people? In which case, the 'power in numbers' doctrine still applies; if a few colleagues have misunderstood you, they're under no impulsion to apologise to you, because hey, everyone else got you wrong too. Nothing changes, and you're still the pariah.

    Or maybe colleagues that judge you so negatively aren't the kind of people with which you want to spend more time than you have to, even if it is the whole office? You just stick it out and hope that you can cope with being 'different'.
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    bump
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    I don't think bumping it makes much difference, I'm afraid. Either people aren't interested, or the post is too long. You know, you got 53 views for this thread and no replies, so I'd go for the latter. Try condensing future posts. As for my two cents, what happens when you're in that situation depends on whether you validate yourself through those around you or on your own. Sure, you can have a Billy-No-Mates at work, who everyone dislikes but is consistently a top performer, and is happy with themselves. If everyone dislikes you, maybe something's wrong with them, or your personality intimidates them. OK, rubbing people up the wrong way is a real thing, but not everyone likes someone who's confident, or happy-go-lucky, or well-spoken, or amiable. Least of all in an office, which can be, at times, the dreariest of all target-driven environments.

    Can you see how some types of person or personality just don't click in certain social settings? You won't be everyone's cup of tea in any given workplace or whatever, sometimes you're no-one's cup of tea. Doesn't mean you're a wrong 'un, the world's complicated like that
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    (Original post by chockypud)
    I don't think bumping it makes much difference, I'm afraid. Either people aren't interested, or the post is too long. You know, you got 53 views for this thread and no replies, so I'd go for the latter. Try condensing future posts. As for my two cents, what happens when you're in that situation depends on whether you validate yourself through those around you or on your own. Sure, you can have a Billy-No-Mates at work, who everyone dislikes but is consistently a top performer, and is happy with themselves. If everyone dislikes you, maybe something's wrong with them, or your personality intimidates them. OK, rubbing people up the wrong way is a real thing, but not everyone likes someone who's confident, or happy-go-lucky, or well-spoken, or amiable. Least of all in an office, which can be, at times, the dreariest of all target-driven environments.

    Can you see how some types of person or personality just don't click in certain social settings? You won't be everyone's cup of tea in any given workplace or whatever, sometimes you're no-one's cup of tea. Doesn't mean you're a wrong 'un, the world's complicated like that
    Yeah, I get that, but if you asked any working person that last question, the stock answer would be "There's no smoke without fire" or something like that. People are usually better suited to list others faults than their own, especially when large groups are doing it too. For example, John's white teeth and beaming smile is always the hot topic for water-cooler talk with everyone else. Tim doesn't want to feel left out, but isn't superficial enough to write John off for his appearance. Why would Tim risk alienating other colleagues by ignoring the backchat and being himself, when it's in his favour to **** John off in order to fit in? The concept of othering, and maybe a touch of deindividuation, come to mind.
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    It personally doesn't matter to me whether it's the criticism of one person or an entire group; if they can prove their point, they're worth listening to.

    For example, if just one person out of a group calls me rude and reminds me of a time when I, say, didn't say thank you, then they're likely to be right as you both have a similar recollection of the event and the evidence stacks in that one persons favour.
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    Definitely. If more than two people use similar adjectives to describe you, whether they are positive or negative, there has to be some truth to it. Especially, if those people have never met each other.

    However, that's not always true. Although people may describe you as something, it is what everyone thinks of you but it might not actually be you.

    For example, if various people call you stupid. Everyone may think you're stupid. But perhaps, you're only stupid verbally as you have difficulties expressing yourself but you're actually extremely intelligent in writing. Or you're really creative. etc...
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    (Original post by Vian)
    It personally doesn't matter to me whether it's the criticism of one person or an entire group; if they can prove their point, they're worth listening to.

    For example, if just one person out of a group calls me rude and reminds me of a time when I, say, didn't say thank you, then they're likely to be right as you both have a similar recollection of the event and the evidence stacks in that one persons favour.
    The problem comes when the person thinks of you and describes you negatively, with evidence, then runs with it. Or a whole group can do it. If a group describes a colleague as ruthless (although they provide evidence of competitiveness and say "I know, but still"), the group can undergo a confirmation bias, overlooking all of the colleague's positive qualities (good listener, gives to charity, tells good jokes, etc) and only seeing behaviours which can be misconstrued as unpleasant, to vindicate their negative suspicions.

    That's why first impressions count so much. Exhibiting good qualities over time often doesn't alter the judgements of people who though you were a tosser from day one (say, if you mispronounced their name). Expand this to a whole group of people, and life at work gets hard, and right quick.
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    (Original post by Cryl)
    Definitely. If more than two people use similar adjectives to describe you, whether they are positive or negative, there has to be some truth to it. Especially, if those people have never met each other.

    However, that's not always true. Although people may describe you as something, it is what everyone thinks of you but it might not actually be you.

    For example, if various people call you stupid. Everyone may think you're stupid. But perhaps, you're only stupid verbally as you have difficulties expressing yourself but you're actually extremely intelligent in writing. Or you're really creative. etc...
    I like your answer. It shows that basically it's possible for someone to read you wrong and misread your behaviourisms or manner of speaking as a negative thing. It's also for a whole group of people, or an entire office to do it too. It's a bit unsettling for so many people to get something wrong, because we feel public opinion/judgement is always right by default. So it's a bit understandable why people stubbornly stick to their reservations, even when they're proved wrong, or proved to have no basis in fact.

    An eloquent speaker can easily be described as obscurantist by his peers. He can kindly set them right and show the difference between the two words, but then he'll be viewed as patronising. An "I think you're being unfair in your descriptions of me, this is how..." turns into a "your judgements are short-sighted and don't match your evidence; there's more to me, given the chance"
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    TL;DR
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    Yes and no. It may just be the impression you give out, as people can never know how you are on the inside. But if enough people feel the same way about you then there's a chance they're right in the way they describe you.
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    Your post confuses me, as it feels very hypothetical and philosophical in nature, and not like it's dealing with an actual issue, as everything is based on theories and TV characters. As such, I am going to base my reply simply on your title, which is the only part that appears to have a solid grounding in the need for advice:

    Ultimately there are two possibilities. Either they are right, or they are wrong. A situation where they are wrong could be a case where, as described, people feel pressured into criticising you so as not to be left out, or adopt the opinions of others. A situation where they are right would more likely be different people, from different departments, nevertheless holding the same views, without any peer pressure. Only you know which of your colleagues thinks what they think, and where they stand in relation to the others, so really only you can answer this.
    If they're right, try to take it on board, and do something about it. I talk about myself too much, have identified it, and actively try to work against it. It doesn't always happen, but people appreciate you trying.
    If they're wrong, try identifying those who are peer pressured into criticising you, and getting to know them. You're more likely to be able to win them over than those already so convinced you're a bad egg that they're persuading others.
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    (Original post by khs)
    Your post confuses me, as it feels very hypothetical and philosophical in nature, and not like it's dealing with an actual issue, as everything is based on theories and TV characters. As such, I am going to base my reply simply on your title, which is the only part that appears to have a solid grounding in the need for advice:

    Ultimately there are two possibilities. Either they are right, or they are wrong. A situation where they are wrong could be a case where, as described, people feel pressured into criticising you so as not to be left out, or adopt the opinions of others. A situation where they are right would more likely be different people, from different departments, nevertheless holding the same views, without any peer pressure. Only you know which of your colleagues thinks what they think, and where they stand in relation to the others, so really only you can answer this.
    If they're right, try to take it on board, and do something about it. I talk about myself too much, have identified it, and actively try to work against it. It doesn't always happen, but people appreciate you trying.
    If they're wrong, try identifying those who are peer pressured into criticising you, and getting to know them. You're more likely to be able to win them over than those already so convinced you're a bad egg that they're persuading others.
    Thanks for the post, it feels hypothetical/philosophical because it is in a way, I'm not going through this issue at all, so I was looking for discussion more than advice. And I know speaking on an issue that a telly character is going through doesn't help much, for validity's sake, either But you raised something which I don't get. You know how you said that ultimately, the status quo is either right or wrong about their judge of your character, and how you said only you know where colleagues stand in relation to others, how is that so? Say if virtually no colleagues are talking to you, how can you tell who's following the crowd and who actively dislikes you because they've misjudged you? You can't ask them and expect them to take you seriously?... Well thinking about it, asking them would be best, and those who were following the crowd would show their colours (i.e. no reason to dislike you), and also those that misjudged you would provide evidence for their views, which you can then dispute. Chances are, those that have misjudged you, as well as those that dislike you for character flaws you do actually have, will all react the same way: they wouldn't give you the time of day
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    (Original post by special1ne)
    I'm not going through this issue at all, so I was looking for discussion more than advice.
    Everything makes so much more sense now

    (Original post by special1ne)
    Say if virtually no colleagues are talking to you, how can you tell who's following the crowd and who actively dislikes you because they've misjudged you? You can't ask them and expect them to take you seriously?
    In all honesty, I hadn't really though about that particular point. Drawing on my own experiences of being excluded from a group, I had a vague idea of who was likely to be an instigator and who a follower based on their personality, but it's true that this is far from accurate, and so shouldn't really form the basis of an assumption that 'you can tell'.
    I suppose in the end you would either have to ask, as you suggested (highly effective, but also very difficult to do I should imagine), or try to identify yourself whether these things are true or not. This is not without its own challenges though, as people don't often identify/recognise their negative points.
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    People always have the right to judge you without knowing who you really are. But you also have the right to decide not to care...
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    (Original post by special1ne)
    Say your colleague at work or uni, for example, finds you (and describe you as) annoying. They say you're self-centred, talk about yourself 70% of the time


    Now imagine that all of your other colleagues describe you as annoying, and all of them speak of you in exactly the same way.
    (Original post by special1ne)
    I'm not going through this issue at all, so I was looking for discussion more than advice.
    (Original post by chockypud)
    I don't think bumping it makes much difference, I'm afraid. Either people aren't interested, or the post is too long. You know, you got 53 views for this thread and no replies, so I'd go for the latter. Try condensing future posts.
    (Original post by james1211)
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    Even so, it looks like random people on the internet also feel that you talk about things in an annoying and slightly self centred way :innocent:

    If you don't conform with social/primitive tribal norms in a group then you're going to be treated differently. Also, people prefer talking about themselves rather than listening about another, so even if this is all hypothetical, for future posts you should ask about others experiences to get a better response :giggle:
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    Not necessarily. People behave more like sheep, than sheep do. People like gossip. They believe what they want to believe a lot of the time. If a zillion people believe in something daft, It's still something daft to believe.

    This is from personal experience. A LOT of people have had problems with me. I've lost many people in workplaces, general friendships, circles of friends, I've been sacked from a workplace due to lies and schemes... I can't be 100% sure why, It's hard to question it with people.
    I wouldn't outright go up to someone and say 'Hey, why did you decide you didn't want anything to do with me any more?' 1)It'll make me look like I care and of course I do a little bit, I'd rather most people thought for themselves more and weren't so judgemental, but I don't care enough to give them the satisfaction of having something else to gossip about and 2)They'll probably lie!

    Jealousy has a lot to do with it-I never used to believe this about myself especially because I'm a modest down to earth person and I have never been jealous of anybody , I am very lucky and never bitter. But It's true, I know that now-this sort of thing has happened to me for most of life.
    Gossip has a lot to do with it. If one person has something against you, and they have a 'fan club' then they'll get other people to agree with them easily.If I was to decide to spread a rumour about someone I work with-I could tell one person and granted it would be around the place within a few days and that person would be judged for it.It's just how things work.
    I'm not trying to get sympathy by the way-I'm happy I got rid of the idiots and am still me. I have a loving relationship and a great family and my true friends are the ones still standing by me.
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    (Original post by sugarmouse)
    Not necessarily. People behave more like sheep, than sheep do. People like gossip. They believe what they want to believe a lot of the time. If a zillion people believe in something daft, It's still something daft to believe.

    This is from personal experience. A LOT of people have had problems with me. I've lost many people in workplaces, general friendships, circles of friends, I've been sacked from a workplace due to lies and schemes... I can't be 100% sure why, It's hard to question it with people.
    I wouldn't outright go up to someone and say 'Hey, why did you decide you didn't want anything to do with me any more?' 1)It'll make me look like I care and of course I do a little bit, I'd rather most people thought for themselves more and weren't so judgemental, but I don't care enough to give them the satisfaction of having something else to gossip about and 2)They'll probably lie!

    Jealousy has a lot to do with it-I never used to believe this about myself especially because I'm a modest down to earth person and I have never been jealous of anybody , I am very lucky and never bitter. But It's true, I know that now-this sort of thing has happened to me for most of life.
    Gossip has a lot to do with it. If one person has something against you, and they have a 'fan club' then they'll get other people to agree with them easily.If I was to decide to spread a rumour about someone I work with-I could tell one person and granted it would be around the place within a few days and that person would be judged for it.It's just how things work.
    I'm not trying to get sympathy by the way-I'm happy I got rid of the idiots and am still me. I have a loving relationship and a great family and my true friends are the ones still standing by me.
    This.
 
 
 
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