When a person is wanted everybody wants to work with him, he's popular and is always asked for. But is there an opposite for wanted, meaning a person who isn't popular at work, someone whom nobody wants to work with.

I was thinking of the word outcast but I doubt it can refer to such a meaning considering its definition.

I would like to fit it into this context:

  • My friend is always wanted while I am always [this word].
  • 4
    Are you passively "ingored", or actively <something (e.g. unwanted)>?
    – Mawg
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 7:47
  • 8
    Maybe: My friend is always wanted while I am always overlooked
    – fdomn-m
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 8:46
  • 11
    There are probably 50 ways to say this. You can be unchosen, unwanted, avoided, bypassed, overlooked, disregarded, shunned, snubbed... You have made the context so vague that many words which mean rather different things could fit.
    – TimR
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 10:15
  • 4
    How about unwanted? :P
    – Masked Man
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 11:01
  • 3
    Maybe it's just me, but I immediately associate "wanted" with "dead or alive". Commented May 11, 2017 at 7:38

12 Answers 12


The obvious answers are the words you've mentioned, but with un prepended: unpopular or unwanted.

(Edit) You can also say reject, in the sense of "social rejection." For example: "My friend is always wanted while I am always getting rejected". It also works as a noun, like "I am a social reject."

  • 5
    "unwanted" is my favorite. Commented May 10, 2017 at 8:56
  • 10
    @SovereignSun then wanted and popular aren't the correct words you're meant to be describing either
    – minseong
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 12:38
  • 8
    "Unwanted and unpopular aren't the words I'm looking for", still accepts the answer
    – Denny
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 14:49
  • 2
    @Denny ppl do strange stuff :| Commented May 11, 2017 at 16:18
  • 1
    @Denny I've changed my mind. Only a fool doesn't change his mind, I am not. Commented May 12, 2017 at 4:45

You could easily say that "people (at work) avoid him", but if you want to use an adjective (grammatically speaking a past participle used as an adjective) you could use shunned.

Definition of shun:

  • in the wiktionary: "to avoid, especially persistently."
  • in Cambridge online : "to ignore someone and not speak to that person because you cannot accept their behaviour, beliefs, etc."

Here are examples of the use of the word in this context:

In a book about Michael Jackson:

In a conversation in a contemporary "romance":

In an autobiography:

In a detective novel:

  • You knew what would happen to his family if he was shunned. (Roots of Murder, Janis Harrison, 1999)

In the written press:

  • Those born on Skye are shunned if they say anything against the wind farm. They no longer exist. (The Telegraph - 05/06/2005)

  • They survived Ebola. Now they are shunned (The Washington Post, 13/08/2014)

  • In my experience, shun is a moderately uncommon word, more likely to appear in newspaper headlines (like the ones you provided) than in everyday speech or writing (mostly because it's slightly too formal).
    – Kevin
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 5:01
  • @Kevin OP did not say if a was looking for a word for everyday oral use or to use in a text and did not specify any register. Shunned is not only a word you can read in newspaper headlines, you can read it in lots of writings. I'll add examples from various recent writings, and you can find thousands more if you search.
    – None
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 6:22
  • I was just remarking on the relative formality of the word. I never said it was exclusive to headlines.
    – Kevin
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 6:48
  • @Kevin And I was just remarking it was quite frequent in non formal writings - even in conversation.
    – None
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 6:52

What about unwelcome?

: not wanted or welcome • unwelcome news • an unwelcome guest

This is especially apt if you are trying to join some groups or activities.

I think the simple avoided could work:

transitive verb
1 a : to keep away from : shun • They have been avoiding me.

Ignored could work, especially if you are actively trying to get everyone's attention or approval. In my opinion, the first part of the sentence implies that it is because you are not wanted.

transitive verb
1 : to refuse to take notice of


There are some good answers, but I wanted to add Pariah to the mix.

  • one that is despised or rejected

In your sample sentence, it would read like:

My friend is always wanted while I am always (treated like) a pariah.

It is pretty strong though. You wouldn't necessarily use it to describe a one-off situation, rather if the rejection was a fairly regular occurrence.


If you want something with a negative ring to it you can use


  1. a. Contempt or disdain felt toward a person or object considered despicable or unworthy: viewed his rivals with scorn. b. The expression of such an attitude in behavior or speech; derision: heaped scorn upon his rivals. c. The state of being despised or dishonored: held in scorn by his rivals.
  2. Archaic One spoken of or treated with contempt. tr.v. scorned, scorn·ing, scorns
  3. To consider or treat as contemptible or unworthy: an artist who was scorned by conservative critics.
  4. To reject or refuse with derision: scorned their offer of help. See Synonyms at despise.
  5. To consider or reject (doing something) as beneath one's dignity
  • 2
    Scorn is a viable suggestion, but I think it may be a little too harsh in some cases. Learners should know this is a rather strong word.
    – J.R.
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 9:06


From Cambridge:

Dislike (noun) a feeling of not liking something or someone.


Actually, outcast is a pretty good word to use here. The usage would be like so:

My friend is always wanted, while I'm always the outcast.

or as others have noted, if you're not actively cast out of groups but rather just not noticed:

My friend is always wanted, while I'm always overlooked.

My friend is always wanted, while I go unnoticed.



Either in the adjective form:

having qualities that are not pleasing or wanted an undesirable effect

or the noun form

one that is undesirable

Seem to fit here.

  • Or 'undesired'. It has the same meaning as 'un-wanted' without the negative connotation of actively not wanting something.
    – 1owk3y
    Commented May 12, 2017 at 3:24

Repulsive would fit in case where you describe a person you don't want to work with, but with a more emotional (they behave badly, smell/look unpleasantly), rather than objective (if they are a low productivity worker) sense.


I feel like out of place would fit here.

Out of place: [...]

  1. Fig. [of someone ] awkward and unwelcome. (*Typically: be ~; feel ~; seem ~.) I feel out of place at formal dances. Bob and Ann felt out of place at the picnic, so they went home.
  • My friend is always wanted while (I am always/I always feel) out of place.

I like Anathema, myself. As in, "Gideon was anathema at the office." It has the connotation of someone who is avoided, shunned, and held in low regard.

Anathema, in common usage, is something or someone that is detested or shunned. In its other main usage, it is a formal excommunication. The latter meaning, its ecclesiastical sense, is based on New Testament usage. Wikipedia


Current recommendations are good. Unwanted is probably best since it's by nature the opposite of wanted.

If you want to go with a different word with similar meaning, I might go with something along the lines of feared.

I wanted cake for dinner.

I feared pork for dinner.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .