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Why Don’t People Like You? – The 20 Most Common Reasons

why dont people like you

Everyone wants to be liked. But why is it that some people seem like friend magnets and others, not so much. Read on to find out why people don’t like you.

We human beings are, like most other creatures, highly social animals. Even if you consider yourself something of a loner, you still have to interact with large numbers of people on a daily basis. Key to this interaction is the maintenance of good relations, which is made a lot easier if those involved manage to get along well. But sometimes, and often for no apparent reason, people do dislike each other.

The good and the bad of it

If you have identified that someone doesn’t like you, then it’s important to keep in mind that it may not be down to you alone. Sometimes, people have quite irrational dislikes based upon their own weaknesses and prejudices. However, if you’ve identified that a number of people seem to dislike you *and in tellingly similar ways*, then it may be time to do a little self-assessment on your interaction skills.

To help you decide whether or not the root of your social problems are self-induced, we’ve broken down the following list into two halves. The first 10 tips point you in the direction of looking to yourself for why people may dislike you, and the second 10 tips describe situations where it may be the other person’s issue that they dislike you, placing the blame in their court.

Reasons people don’t like you – areas for improvement

#1 Listening skills. Or the lack thereof. Nothing is more irritating than someone who doesn’t even make the effort to listen to what the other person is saying. Instead, these people are more intent on formulating their own words and cutting the speaker off mid-flow. If you are guilty of this, then it’s time to close your mouth and open your ears occasionally. Maybe then you’ll start to lose a few of your haters. [Read: 12 ways to be a better listener in your relationship]

#2 Deep pockets and short arms. Generosity is a wonderful quality, but its opposite is notably disliked. If you’re always keen to avoid paying your way, then chances are that people have noticed this trait of yours and word has gotten around that you can be stingy. Time to put your hand in your pocket. 

#3 Critical condition. Some people really have no filter and are so quick to criticize those around them. If this is you, it could be one of the reasons why some people seem to be giving you a wide berth. Try to ease up on the criticisms and watch your friend count soar. [Read: 9 ways to master the art of constructive criticism]

#4 Silence ain’t always golden. Sometimes it’s not what you say that might be leading people not to like you, but rather what you don’t say. “Thank you,” “well done,” “I love you,” “tastes great,” “how are you?”—these are all polite and caring day-to-day expressions that people expect to hear. A dearth of these in your conversation could lead people to believe that you are rude or simply don’t care for them.

#5 I didn’t do anything! Which may, of course, be precisely the issue. If you have a streak of idleness a mile long, yet expect everyone to pick up behind you, this could be another reason they aren’t so fond of you. Start pulling your weight and see if this improves your relationships. [Read: Different ways to say I love you without saying a word]

#6 Talking a big game. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the fruits of your labors, but boasting about your wealth, possessions or whatever else is only likely to rub people up the wrong way.

#7 Stuck like glue. Although quite endearing in some situations, clinging on to people like a desperate limpet is likely to attract all the wrong kind of attention. Play it cool and start to lay off a little. People might start to like you more again. [Read: 9 effective ways to stop being so needy and insecure]

#8 The glass is half empty. Another of the most common reasons that people aren’t liked is because they are negative and bring the mood down. Strangely, a lot of people who appear to be negative aren’t actually negative at heart. This can be reflective of an upbringing where they weren’t shown affection, so negativity provided the only route to conversation. If this is you, then maybe you need to turn some of your Negative Nancy vocabulary around. Simple, but very effective.

#9 The empty vessel. Uninterested people just aren’t very interesting. Someone who does nothing but watch soap operas, lie on the couch and read trashy magazines can be a real drag to be around. These people bring nothing to the conversation, which consequently persuades people to dislike them. Answer: get a life. [Read: How to be funny and make people love your company]

#10 Flights of fancy. If you’re the kind of person who is quite flighty and doesn’t really take anything seriously, this could be the reason why people are starting to stay away from you. So stop showing up late and/or canceling appointments with people all the time, and start showing them the respect they deserve. Commit to your words and keep your promises. Then, people might just start to really enjoy your company.

Reasons people don’t like you – not your problem

#11 Independent matters. Someone dislikes you because you won’t tow their conversational line. It’s good to have your own mind, and not responding to their controlling ways is not your problem.

#12 Success. That’s all it takes for some people to dislike you. But hey, why should you apologize for the hard work you’ve done that’s led you to where you are now? [Read: How to stop being jealous of someone else’s success]

#13 Preconceptions. Maybe it’s because of what you do or how you look, but people’s preconceptions about you are not your issue. Maybe they should get to know you first before judging you.

#14 Because they like you. A somewhat paradoxical statement, maybe, but some people really don’t know how to successfully express themselves. Thus, an unhealthy dose of dislike may conceal the fact that they actually really like, admire or even love you. [Read: 36 racy, random funny questions for flirty guys and girls]

#15 In all honesty. Some people don’t like being called out for their bad behavior, and if you’re someone who can’t stand by and watch when someone is acting up, then this may be why they don’t like you. Again, this is their issue, not yours.

#16 Opinions. You have them and some people don’t like that. Especially when they are different from their own. Our advice: ditch the control freaks and spend your time with people who can handle a real conversation, differences aside.

#17 You have a family. When you have kids, you often have to sacrifice other aspects of your personal life. If people can’t handle that and don’t like you for it, well, that’s their issue. [Read: How to balance your career, social life, and dating life]

#18 Generosity. Nothing makes a miser look worse than someone else’s generosity. Don’t be ashamed of being the better person.

#19 Bigotry. Racism, culturalism, sexism—whatever the prejudice, don’t even waste your time trying to talk this person around. They plainly aren’t worth it.

#20 Attention seekers. It’s sad, but some people are so desperately lacking in anything else that the only way they can get attention is to be serial haters. Social media is full of these types—disgraceful individuals who should be cut adrift at the earliest opportunity. [Read: 15 tips to be nice and loved by all instantly!]

It’s not always your fault if someone doesn’t like you, but if you have an inkling that you may not be so popular, take some time to self-reflect and decide whether or not there are some things you could change to solve the problem. That said, never be afraid to cut ties with a person who constantly drags you down.

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David Cullen
David Cullen
David Cullen is frequently described as erudite, insightful and witty – but only by himself and only after several large glasses of Rioja....

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2 thoughts on “Why Don’t People Like You? – The 20 Most Common Reasons”

  1. feeling says:

    My part-time job is the only place where I really get any social interaction these days. Even if I was willing to branch out at university, I can’t do that anymore because I had to withdraw from the semester to deal with depression. So when I make any sort of effort to, I guess, establish rapport, and it doesn’t go well, it’s a bit rough for me. Here’s a list of reasons I’ve thought people didn’t like me: They think I don’t like them, because I avoid eye contact, I speak in a monotone voice, I’m not very expressive, and I rarely make conversation. They think I’m creepy because of the above. Like I’m only pretending to be human, perhaps. I’m gay, and they either don’t like that or they think that I have a sexual interest in them. They’re afraid of me because they think I’ll be the next Adam Lanza or Elliot Rodger. (Even though I have no violent impulses and I’ve never been aggressive toward anyone at my job, even verbally.) They don’t respect me because they think I’m a doormat. We just don’t have enough in common to be friends. I’m a social outcast, and associating with me is some sort of liability. (I work at a movie theater; many of my co-workers are just past high school age, if not still in it.) I’m just too awkward. One possibility I considered: Maybe my anxiety issues just make it difficult for me to really connect with people. Maybe if I was less anxious, I’d have things to say, I’d be wittier and more fun, etc. So I wondered what would happen if I went to work on two grams of phenibut, a legal GABA agonist. Effects are supposed to be similar to drinking alcohol, but without the cognitive impairment. (I wouldn’t know because I don’t drink.) Not a long-term solution for anxiety, due to rapid tolerance build-up, but okay for the occasional job interview or presentation. So here’s what happened: Nothing. I felt a bit calmer, but not much more-so than if I had meditated for a bit. It was still hard to make eye contact with people and/or smile. I spoke a tiny bit more, maybe. Incidentally, I also ran for a half hour on an elliptical machine earlier that day, and clearly the endorphins and shit didn’t help. Point is, even when I’m not anxious, I can’t be a friendly, likable person. When I’m not anxious, I do the same thing I do when I am anxious, but with fewer inhibitions: avoid social interaction. And I’m pretty lonely, so I don’t know what to do.

  2. Thank you for this post. I was told by someone who I know loves and cares for me that people dislike me because I destroy their beliefs with truth. Although that’s not my intention, I can’t idly listen to lies and pretend like it’s ok. If I know something is a lie, i believe sharing another perspective is helping, not hindering that individual. As a line goes in The Big Bang Theory, “it’s ok to be smarter than other people as long as you don’t let them know it because they don’t like it.” LOL. So until I find my tribe, I’m destined to a lack of friendship in my life. I’m still kind and thoughtful and that will never change. So those who don’t like me are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to befriend an incredible person. Their loss. I want to encourage others who may feel the same way to hang in there and don’t change to suit other people’s insecurities and weaknesses.

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