How-to tell if someone is upset with you at work

Inner-Strength Training Tip #10: Know when you are in the wrong and learn from it

You, again? What happened to you now?! Ah, well it happens. Here’s the run-down.

How-to tell:

  • Your heart tells you (by the sensation you feel) that you’ve made this person upset
  • Interactions with this person are not how they used to be
  • Anxiety that you’ve ruined the friendship (Oh, great!)
  • Wanting to know the rest of the story, how this person feels, etc.
  • They treat you a bit different than other people (giving everyone else a smile, and you…the fakest smile you’ve ever seen. (lol!)
  • The dynamic has changed, not able to speak or be receptive like you used to be
  • Having to put in work to get back to a good place

The situation:

(This particular article is geared toward a work friendship that you feel can go the distance or one that you care about maintaining)

You’ve done something wrong. Perhaps you were too assertive. Too focused on your goal and inconsiderate of the feelings of others. In fact, I’m guilty of it!

This post was inspired by a situation that recently happened to me, where I pressed an issue I should’ve let go with a new work friend.

And you’re wondering the other person’s emotions are. Are they mad at you? Worse do they hate you? (Why do we always assume the absolute worst, anyway! It’s rarely the case.)

You’ve spoken with them a few times and you sense that things are not right.

It’s hard to move forward when you’re unsure about how the other person even feels.

It’s like an unknown part of the story that is missing. And instead of knowing for sure, you’re left wondering the worst. Your mind might assume that they hate you.

Or, that you weren’t meant to be friends, anyway. This would happen to you, you ruin everything right? (Wrong!)

Should you let it blow over? Try to make a funny joke? Hard to tell when you’re not even sure that they are upset with you to begin with!

Human element:

This is where that inexplicable human element comes in to play. You hear about it all the time in technology and artificial intelligence.

Scientists say that AI needs to capture the human element. The things that we can’t explain so easily. Feeling things. Unspoken knowingness. Like when you know you’ve crossed the line at work.


It starts in your gut. As women, we are more receptive to the thoughts and energy of other people. We are naturally intuitive! But, you already knew that…

If you feel that you have to wonder or ask “Are they mad at me? Or am I just overreacting?”

Then… they are probably mad at you.

Every time I had a hunch of how a situation “seemed”, I had been right.

Now, the important factor is the degree. How mad are they at you?

What might feel like a worst case scenario, may just be your feelings and mind going to the worst place.

The degree of a situation is so important to get right. So, do your best not to think the worst!

As cliche as it may sound, you can also use your heart to understand how people are feeling.

Put your hand over your heart, shut your eyes, and ask a question…..

For example, if you know you are in the wrong, and absolutely know this person is mad at you, but underneath that, you also feel that they care for you and perhaps even find the situation funny. Then you can trust what you are feeling.


Open and authentic communication is the key to solve your problem.  But, knowing when the time is right is just as important. And there isn’t a one time fits all. It depends on your own situation.

In my case, it is best to wait a week or so and let the situation settle, before trying to speak about it.

In other cases, a swift resolution might be best!

When you do speak it’s important to be authentic.

It’s amazing how people can tell if you’re being your real self or if you have a wall up. The connection that it forms is loyal and powerful.

(It’s also important to gauge the situation, though. Should you have your wall up with this person? Listen to your body if it tells you all is not right.)

But, if you feel that this friendship or work relationship is worth it to you, then it’s worth the effort.

“At the office….online….where do you work at, again?”

To tidy up the situation, try to find a good time at the office or your virtual office or in the break room. There are so many places to work at these days!

If you’re at the office, though ask if you can speak in an empty conference room.

It’s always best to speak with people privately…

It’s professional and maintains the integrity of both parties. Also, it eliminates the chances for gossip and skewed perspectives of onlookers.

If you are at an office, when you recall the situation, make sure to stay focused on that particular situation.  And even though you feel a lot of emotions (I know I do, sometimes). Try to remember that you are still at work, in a professional environment.

Are you often left in the dark wondering what other people are feeling?