How to Know if Your Boss Hates You

If you’re one of those people who don’t care what others think of you, good for you. But, there are certain people you want to like you, and having their approval can make your life a whole lot easier. No, we’re not talking about your in-laws (good luck with that). We’re talking about whether your boss hates you or not.

Even though it’s unfair, managers do play favorites and being a part of their trusted inner circle could save you from a layoff, or advance you to a promotion. Here are five ways workplace experts say you can tell if your boss really likes you, or merely tolerates your presence.

Male bosses standing side-to-side with you while you’re engaged in conversation is a very good sign. Body language expert Patti Wood says standing at your side, rather than directly in front of you, shows your boss feels comfortable with you. Where there’s comfort, there’s trust. Likewise, if you’re in a meeting and he comes to stand behind you as you’re seated, he “has your back.”

There are subtle ways your boss creates distance with you if he doesn’t like you. Keeping an object, like a coffee mug or a cell phone, between you while you talk at a table means he doesn’t want to be close to you or he wants to be distracted. Whereas, having the object already there when you sit down, and then removing it, shows he respects you and wants to give you his full attention.

Some employees believe not having their boss check up on them is a good sign. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You want your boss to seek you out. It means he’s interested in what you have to say and what you’re working on. Communicating only through email (and copying others on the correspondence) is a very bad sign. It means he wants to have as little interaction with you as possible, and create a paper trail while he’s at it. However, if your boss frequently calls, texts, or comes by your office to chat or invite you to lunch—these are all good signs, says Wood.

If the eyes are the windows into the soul, the hands reveal your true feelings, Wood shares. Keeping his hands on his desk, or using them to make gestures as he talks are signs your boss likes you. If he keeps his hands down, out of view, he’s on his guard and doesn’t trust you. Arms crossed as you talk, and lips pursed? Find another job, fast!

As hands are to body language, so is what your boss says and how he says it, reveals Marc Salem, of Men’s Health magazine and one of the world’s foremost authorities on non-verbal communication.  For example, if he tells you you’re doing a great job while ticking off your accomplishments in a fluid, even toned voice with no pauses, it’s a good sign. If there are pauses in his sentences, his voice cracks, is high pitched or extra low, he’s reading off a script and not meaning what he says.

While there’s never a second chance to make a first impression, you can start bridging the gap in your relationship with your boss today by making a few changes to your routine.

Make a point to say good morning first thing, ask him to take a look at a project you’re working on, or get a recommendation from him in an area he’s proven himself to excel at. Genuine flattery can take you very far in your career, without having to resort to being a fake kiss up.