Does Your Boss Plays Favorites? Here’s What You Need To Do If You Are Not One Of Them!

4 minutes

I hate her. I really do! She was my college mate and it wasn’t like I was particularly fond of her in college, I mean she had her own set of friends and I had mine. But we were the only two in the whole college to crack the written test and we both made it through the subsequent rounds as well. As I said, I didn’t really know her too well in college, but I kind of liked the fact that I’d have a known face in office, and wouldn’t be all alone. But she is just such a, such a, such a kiss ass!

dealing with favouritism

I mean, the way she nods her curly, little head like a doll and giggles at every stupid joke our boss makes! It gets on my nerves! And my boss totally loves it! They have this whole bond – they eat lunch together and even take their coffee breaks together. I feel so left out!

I had this whole plan of confronting my boss today. I wanted to barge into her cubicle, rest my palms on her desk and say, “Why do you pick her over me?” And I am not unjustified. I am just as smart as her, and I do an equally good job. But I didn’t go and confront my boss because I sort of panicked in the last minute. But I guess, it worked out for the best. Because I decided to read up on this – not being the boss’ favourite, and I was approaching it all wrong!

Firstly, it is okay if this is a big deal to you. Karen Dillon, author of HBR Guide to Office Politics, agrees that it is painful and deflating when your “star isn’t shining the way you thought it was.”  She further adds that it affects your psychic and drains you of your emotional energy. Susan Heathfield, writer at says that the relationship you share with your boss at work is the most important one, and is a relationship you should work on.

We combined what Susan Heathfield and Karen Dillon had to say about how to react if you’re not the boss’ favourite and came up with this actionable list:

  1. Have a sounding board: A person who is in no way related to your work, so you definitely don’t get to choose a colleague, however tempting that might be! It has to be a rational person, who will tell you if you feeling the way you are is justified, or someone who will snap you back to reality.
  2. Do not make the boss’ favourite your punching bag: It is not his/her fault that they are the favourite. And of course he/she enjoys the adulation, wouldn’t you if you were in his/her place? Instead of misdirecting all your anger, what you could do is:
  3. Emulate the behaviour of the boss’ favourite: Don’t mimic him/her, but try and inculcate the good qualities of the boss’ favourite. Make a note of how he/she starts a conversation and writes emails, and if being the boss’ favourite is really that important you, try and do things  in a similar way.
  4. Establish a relationship: Be outgoing and seek the boss and the favourite out and engage them in conversation. Maybe you can’t replace the favourite, but you could become part of the gang!
  5. Talk it out: Well, don’t go and accuse your boss of having a favourite. But instead, ask for advice and feedback. Most importantly, be earnest when you ask your boss where you can improve and really work on those areas. 
  6. Find a place where you are appreciated: If things are supremely unfair and you don’t see any room for growth in the company, it’s time you start looking for a new job.

How did you deal with favourites, either in a classroom or in an office? Do let us know in the comments below. If you want help in dealing with favouritism and office politics, YD experts are here to help! Speak to an expert right now!

Gayathri Rao

Gayathri is a psychologist by profession with over 5 years of experience. She is liberal by nature and a vegetarian by choice. She loves nature and believes in the healing powers of the mountains and the oceans, love and kindness.