We all want to be liked (well, apart from internet trolls!) but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. However, some real turn-offs can make people deeply dislike you.
The good news is they can easily be avoided, once you are aware of them.
Read these 7 tips to find out some of the worst social faux pas you can make.
1) Giving a monologue
Chatting is one of the best ways to bond with someone, but a conversation is a two-way street.
Sometimes you may have a long story to tell, and that can be ok. But keep an eye on the other person’s body language to see if they seem engaged. If not, do your best to trim the unnecessary details and get to the point.
People generally enjoy being asked for their opinions, so you can reengage them by asking what they thought of a theme that came up in the story.
But that’s assuming that it is something they can relate to, rather than something very specific that they don’t care about. And if they don’t care about it, definitely don’t give a monologue about it!
Naturally, your close friends and loved ones will be more interested in something you are passionate about (because they are interested in you!) and will give you more leeway, but still. Don’t overdo it.
2) Just waiting for your turn to talk
Again, this comes back to the art of conversation.
Do you ever find that you are tuning out when somebody else is talking because you have something you desperately want to say? I know this used to happen to me, because I would worry that I would forget and it felt important to share it.
But then I realized that most of the time if that topic goes from my head – it’s okay. And it’s far better to stay present and focused on what the other person is saying.
Even if I forget what I wanted to say, the chances are that by actively listening I will have something even more relevant to share that enhances the flow of the conversation.
If this happens a lot, and you really really want to remember something but can’t, (ADHD traits anyone?) keep a notepad and jot it down quickly.
Some people might find it odd, but at least you will then be able to focus on what your companion is saying, and make them feel heard and seen. This is vital for building connection, and making people like you.
3) Boasting endlessly
It’s great to share your wins and successes with others. But as we’ve seen, if the conversation is all about you and how great you are, the chances are it’s going to make people dislike you.
I once met a girl who just couldn’t stop boasting about herself and it quickly made me and others dislike her.
I realize now that it was probably just a form of insecurity manifesting as bragging. But it didn’t do her any favors, and it won’t help you either!
Again, who you are speaking to matters. If it’s your doting mother or best friend you can get away with honest sharing of things you’re proud or happy about. If not, just keep it balanced.
4) Being cold
One of the quickest ways to get someone to dislike you, is to make them think that you dislike them. And this can happen even when it isn’t true.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen this, particularly in my teens and early 20s. But it can happen at any age.
Maybe you’re thinking, why would I do that, when I want to be liked?
And here’s the thing. This kind of mutual dislike is based (usually) on mutual paranoia, and happens accidentally.
Perhaps Person A gives an odd look or comment (or that’s how Person B interprets it). Then Person B sees this and starts to act a little cold to ‘protect themselves’. Person A picks up on this and sends cold vibes back. And so the cycle becomes self-perpetuating.
How can you avoid this? Simple. Be warm and friendly to whomever you want to like you. Even if you have sensed some cold vibes. Because the chances are it’s just a misunderstanding.
And even if you’re wrong, a warm, smiling, caring person is hard to dislike for long! But an aloof and uninterested person is easy to pull away from.
5) Lecturing people about what they ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ do
If someone asks for your advice, then you have some free reign to do so. But if you are constantly telling others what to do, and using words like ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’, it can make you sound arrogant and pompous. And that’s annoying.
There may well be times when you have an idea of something that would be good for another person. And if appropriate, you can suggest these things – just take care of your wording.
So instead of, ‘You should go out more so you feel less depressed,’ you could say, ‘Maybe it would cheer you up if you came with me to this art exhibition’. Suggesting works better than instructing.
6) Criticizing people’s beliefs and passions
So we’ve already explored telling people what to do. But there’s something even worse. And that’s telling people how to think.
Most people tend to hold their beliefs close to their hearts, and if you criticize them or judge them, people can take that very personally. They may even feel like you are saying they are a bad person, or that you are diminishing them.
Recognize that while healthy debate has its place, telling people their beliefs are wrong is going to alienate them. You won’t win them round to your point of view, and likely you’ll just annoy them.
If you really want to share an alternative belief you can word things more gently. So instead of saying – “Your beliefs about god/Atlantis/aliens/politics [or any other controversial topic] are wrong,” it’s better to:
- Listen to what they have to say,
- Try to truly consider their viewpoint,
- Then share your own beliefs,
- Without stating that yours are right or superior.
7) Cutting off a conversation to look at your phone
Okay, so I’ll be honest. This one is a personal pet peeve of mine.
If you’re deep in conversation, or just spending quality time with someone, then breaking the flow by checking your phone all the time is a great way to make people dislike you.
Like anything, we may genuinely need to check our phone. If so, you can politely excuse yourself and let the other person know that you will be with them again in a moment.
But randomly checking it in the middle of an intimate hangout makes the other person feel that you don’t truly care or value what they are saying, or their presence.
All in all, the key to not making people dislike you is to make them feel heard, valued, and seen.
If you focus on them more than on yourself in conversations and social settings, you’ll likely find that you’ll avoid these traps easily.
And as a bonus, you’ll probably enjoy your interaction more, because genuine connection with others is what makes us happy!