By Suzannah Weiss. Photos: Stocksy.
Researchers from UNC Chapel Hill, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Michigan asked 14 car salespeople who worked together and 263 college students who collaborated on a project to rate their coworkers based on how much they liked them and how competitive they felt with them. They also predicted what ratings they themselves would get from each person.
It turned out that people were really bad at predicting who considered them rivals. The authors thought this could be because people feel threatened by those who outdo them, who wouldn't consider them threats in turn.
People are "ill equipped to judge accurately how much others are competing against them," the authors conclude, and "may be blindsided by other people’s attempts to cut them down, unaware of the interpersonal competition that fuels those actions."
The consolation? Most people correctly guessed which coworkers liked them most. This is especially good news given that most of the people we consider friends don't consider us their friends, according to a study published in PLOS ONE last year. Maybe the workplace is an exception to that rule.
So, you may have unknown enemies in the office, but with any luck, you've found a work wife to have your back.
This story originally appeared on Glamour.
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