I used to get that ALL the time and, for me, it was the enviroment and culture I was in. I was in the south and (don't flame me here) at least with the people I worked with, they were that "fake" nice. They would turn on the southern charm when they wanted to and fool people and snarl behind your back. I am much too direct for that. I am always professional and courteous but not always chit chatty if things are busy (do you want me to get my work done or talk about the weather?) If there is a conflict between me and my coworkers (I mean simple misunderstandings) I would simply talk to the person about it. My coworkers complained that I was too intimidating. Every issue (no matter how small) was brought to my manager (who was as passive agressive as they come). Now I am a hard worker, very productive, the physicians loved me etc. I would always get the , " you are our best nurse, but....". It created a complex b/c I believed I really had an issue relating to people. I would always be fussed at b/c I was not smiling like I normally do, I was not chit chatty like normal. I was busy! I then moved up north and when I started working with the fantastic group of people I work with now, I remember warning my manager (in title only, she is my buddy and great coworker) that I tend to get not so nice when things get really busy, hectic etc. I remember talking about it after I had been there for about 2 years and she looked at me like I was crazy saying, "what are you talking about, I have never seen that in you". Keep in mind, I had not changed how I acted at all. The group I work with (MD's, nurses, NP's) we are all very hard working, intense, perfectionistic, direct. We can all get a little tense/short when the you know what is hitting the fan. Noone pays any attention to it. I have had plenty of times where we all can be a little be short with each other, but it is when all heck is breaking loose. We are not robots, cannot smile, with a soft tone constantly. At least I can't. As far as the patients, I have not had one say a word negative about my interaction with them in 5 years. I used to get weekly complaints at my old job. I have not changed how I am at all. So for me, it was a cultural thing and it was something at my old job that they fixated on until they gave me a complex. If you are mindful of how you can come across and make a conserted effort to be careful when things are stressful etc, that is all you can do. For some people, they don't like your personality (and it is their issue not yours) and you cannot have a personality transplant and change who you are fundamentally. The key for me is, OK I am feeling stressed, I take a deep breath, focus on my tone and think before I speak. Where I work now, never had a problem. Where I used to be, that was not good enough. I remember telling my manager at my old job that I did not know how to work any harder on relating to people. I was trying SO hard and it was not good enough. The bottom line, they just did not like me. Period. I think the key is to find a group of people where your personalities mesh. There are a lot of people at my hospital that wonder how I can work with the division I do. We are a little too intense for a lot of people. But, we take excellent care of our patients, the patients love us, we work our you know whats off, our # of new patients keep increasing when other divisions are going down and our revenue is the best in our division and we all stick up for each other and cover for each other. Give me that over a Stepford wives constant, fake smile/soft voice anyday!