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15 Signs of an Unhappy Person that are Hidden Behind a Happy Smile

We want our loved ones to be happy, but when everyone says, “I’m fine,” it can be hard to tell what’s up. So, what are the signs of an unhappy person?

signs of an unhappy person

We all want to help our friends and family be as happy as they can be. But when you don’t know the signs of an unhappy person, how are you supposed to help or just know when to be there?

You may even be unhappy yourself, but could be in such denial that you don’t realize it. The first step to being happier is to know the signs of an unhappy person. Once you see it, you can move forward.

Why an unhappy person is hard to spot

You may think that noticing when a loved one is unhappy should be relatively easy. But when people are upset, disappointed, or just feeling mediocre, they tend not to show it off.

How many times have you felt down yet still told everyone you were fine. No one wants to be a burden or air their dirty laundry. [Read: How to be more affectionate and show someone you care]

You can be unhappy due to personal issues, mental illness, money, your job, and the list goes on. But like most people, those feelings are often bottled up so that you can put a happy face on. But, even with all that effort to seem okay, unhappiness tends to sneak out in other ways.

Certain personality traits or behaviors are signs of an unhappy person. You just have to be aware of them in your life or someone else’s in order to point it out and hopefully move forward.

The signs of an unhappy person

What a downer, huh? It is easy to spot a happy person usually. You know them when you see them. They give off a genuine and even calming vibe.

But the signs of an unhappy person can be easily missed. Everything from having a bad day to being clinically depressed can hide behind these actions and behaviors, so keep an eye out.

#1 Insecurity. Someone who is insecure and lacks confidence may not be entirely unhappy. Self-esteem issues can carry into every aspect of life and spread unhappiness around.

An insecure individual who struggles with their appearance may be more nervous about a job interview or dating. That can lead to them not wanting to speak up in a meeting or draw attention to themselves. We all have insecurities. It is human nature.

But, if you notice you or someone in your life constantly struggling with insecurities and it negatively impacts life, they may very well be an unhappy person. [Read: The 29 signs of insecurity and how to rise above]

#2 Angst. Think about how you were when you were 13 or so. There is a good chance you hated the world, didn’t want to talk to many other people, and just always expected the worst.

An unhappy person reflects their unhappiness onto the world and everyone around them.

#3 Irritability. Again, teenagers go through a lot and tend to be irritable, but as we get older we tend to be a bit better at holding back in stressful or annoying moments. Someone who is unhappy may find it difficult to control themselves in times like these.

A sign of an unhappy person would be snapping at someone for a small indiscretion or mistake or constantly being annoyed. [Read: How to deal with the rude people in your life]

#4 Indifference. Unhappiness is not a good feeling, so in order to avoid feeling it, many people try to stop caring. Unhappy people may answer every question with, “I don’t know,” or, “I don’t care.”

By not putting any meaning on things, someone who is unhappy prevents themselves from being even more disappointed.

#5 Disconnect. Similarly to feeling indifferent, they may disconnect themselves from those around them. They cancel plans, avoid seeing or talking to people. They may want to dwell alone or they don’t want others to ask how they are.

If someone pushes you away and you cannot think of a logical reason for it, they may be begging for comfort silently.

#6 Lack of effort. You know how after a long day you don’t have the energy to make dinner or do laundry so you plop on the sofa in your work clothes, order dinner, and just sit there until you fall asleep?

Well, stretch that out into everyday life. A sign of an unhappy person is a constant lack of effort with everything from work, to diet, to exercise, or even basic cleaning. [Read: 15 steps to stop being sad and alter your state of mind]

#7 Fear. We all have a touch of fear about our futures, failure, etc. But someone who is unhappy already feels down, so they are in a position where the fear takes over and gets the best of them. They are afraid to live their life to the fullest and take risks. They only see the bad things that could happen, not all the wonderful ones.

Someone who is happy, on the other hand, would be hopeful for a positive outcome when taking a chance.

#8 Jealousy. Jealousy is a bad look on everyone, but very often it is not from a place of hatred or anger, it just looks that way. Most of the time jealously comes from a person who is unhappy with themselves.

It is sort of like a grade school bully. They don’t have control in their lives so instead of focusing on that, they put others down for being different. An adult who is unhappy with their position at work or the fact that they are single might spread rumors about a coworker that is up for a promotion or complain about their happily married friend out of bitterness. [Read: How to walk away from the destructive energy of jealousy]

#9 Need to stay busy. Although some people that are unhappy roll back on work and socializing, others try to stay as busy as possible. They want to surround themselves with people so they are constantly distracted from their unhappiness.

It can be difficult for someone who is unhappy to be alone, even just overnight. So if you have a friend that is constantly out and about, they might be overcompensating.

#10 Lack of fulfillment. Someone constantly wanting more or expecting more from their life will never be happy. And if you know someone feeling unfulfilled with their job or home life, but isn’t doing anything to change, they are likely unhappy. [Read: 20 unique ways to draw happiness from within yourself]

#11 Excessive drinking. Sometimes you just get a little nuts. Maybe your team won the Super Bowl or you got engaged, but if heavy drinking is becoming a regular routine, not only is unhappiness likely the answer, but if it isn’t dealt with soon, it can become a serious problem.

If you have noticed yourself or a friend drinking more than usual, say something. Offer or ask for help. Drinking to numb the pain of unhappiness may feel good at the moment, but in the long run, even by the next day, it does more harm than good.

#12 Chronic fatigue or pain. Yes, chronic pain and fatigue can be due to actual medical conditions. If you see some of these other signs of an unhappy person along with someone always saying that they are tired or in pain that can be another sign. [Read: What it’s like to love someone with depression]

#13 Weight gain or loss. Once again, noticeable weight gain or weight loss in a small period of time can be a sign of a medical issue, but it can also be a sign of unhappiness when combined with other signs on this list.

#14 Judgmental. Someone constantly looking down on other people or is close-minded is likely unhappy. Someone who fears being judged by others may judge as a defense mechanism. [Read: How to deal with the attitude of a Negative Nancy]

#15 Always waiting. People that are happy don’t wait for good things to come along, they make them happen. If they want a better job, they go and look for one. But, someone who is unhappy may dwell in their unhappiness. They are always waiting for happiness to find them.

They may complain about their life, their job, or their relationship, but they never do anything to change their life. They are just always waiting for something to happen to them.

[Read: The rules of life – 22 secrets to never be unhappy ever again]

These are all signs of an unhappy person. Being able to tell if you or a friend is unhappy is a great way to make happiness that much more attainable. Please remember, you are not a therapist. If you think a friend is in trouble, offer to listen, but always seek advice from a licensed professional.

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Samantha Ann
My name is Samantha Ann. I am 28 years old. It was always my dream to become an advice columnist, so after years of off and online dating and eventually finding...