People who are difficult to connect with often display these 9 subtle behaviors without realizing it

We all know that person.

The one who leaves you feeling drained and yawning after even a tiny conversation.

Or the ‘friend’ who always seems to be one-upping your stories, making you feel like you’re constantly playing catch-up in a never-ending game of one-upmanship.

But here’s the thing: it’s not always malicious. In fact, many people who are difficult to connect with are completely unaware of the subtle behaviors that create an invisible barrier between them and others.

So, what are these connection-killing habits? And might you be guilty of indulging in one or more of the below?

Let’s dive into 9 subtle behaviors that can make it hard to forge genuine connections with certain individuals:

1) The black hole of conversations

Ever find yourself chatting with someone who sucks all the energy out of the room? 

You might see them once in a blue moon, and still you spend the entire evening listening to their extensive monologue about their life. 

By the end of the night, they’re none the wiser about anything you’ve been up to, but you can even name the coffee order they got that morning…

These people absolutely dominate conversations, rarely asking questions to anyone else or showing genuine interest in what you have to say. They suck all of the life out of interactions.

It’s not too dissimilar to trying to have a conversation with a rock – except the rock occasionally tosses in a begrudging “hmm” or “interesting” to keep up appearances and pretend as they care.

2) Seething sarcasm  

On the other side of oversharing and stealing the limelight comes those who hide away behind ten-foot-tall walls.

Guarded by layers of sarcasm, cynicism, and negativity, their true emotions are under lock and key.

And conversations with them? Exhausting.

Every compliment comes with a backhanded remark, and every conversation is sprinkled with cynicism

You constantly feel like you’re tiptoeing around on eggshells, trying desperately to avoid treading on any topic that will make them snap up and start bating you. 

These individuals might be witty and entertaining (or at least think themselves so), but their constant snark and pessimism make it hard to truly connect. 

Because as we say, ‘Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.’

Low blows and painful jabs do, after a while, get tiring for anyone on the receiving end and spoil the prospects of healthy relationships.

3) Plays a social chameleon

For some people, changing their personalities to match the social setting they’re in comes naturally. 

In some situations, this can also be something of a skill.

Masters of camouflage, these individuals will down pints and suddenly know every football fact when surrounded by certain fans…

When really, they have little to no interest in the sport, have read up on facts while in the bathroom, and will return to being grouchy and miserable when the attention leaves them.

These social chameleons might think that they’re excelling at forging bonds and expressing shared interests, but the reality is that most people can see through their facade.

It’s difficult to form a relationship with someone who changes their personality based on whose company they’re in. 

The inconsistencies in how they present themselves make it impossible to know which version of them is real, hindering any chance of deeper connection.

4) Tends to overshare to a painful degree

While vulnerability can be a beautiful thing, some people take it to the extreme.  

I’m talking getting into your nitty-gritty trauma within the first 5 messages of online dating, or within first 5 minutes or a first date. 


A job interview, and you/the interviewee is deep-diving into their childhood traumas and past relationship woes with teary eyes. 

Emotional vulnerability takes great courage, don’t get me wrong. 

But there comes a time and place where pouring out your emotions is appropriate, and doing so at the wrong time only serves to push people away as it’s something of a case of ‘too much, too soon.’

Because this level of oversharing and trauma dumping can feel overwhelming and a little violating, making it hard to establish a comfortable pace for building a connection.

5) Excessive interruptions

We all interrupt sometimes (hopefully unintentionally), but for some people, they seem to be stuck on this default setting. 

You’re having your moment, venting about your tough day at work, and they’re all of a sudden jumping in, cutting you off, and talking about dinner options. 

Interrupting once or twice can be excused, but if it happens every other conversation, it can start to make you feel like your voice is insignificant.

Because these chronic interrupters have a bad habit of constantly cutting you off mid-sentence, finishing your thoughts for you, or talking over you. 

The end result is the same, and perpetually leaves you feeling as if your voice doesn’t matter. 

Even if they suddenly are overcome with energy and enthusiasm and desperately want to share their opinion then and there, speaking over others only diminishes mutual respect. 

Interrupting does nothing but make it more difficult to connect with someone, so consider your timing.

6) Weird non-verbal communication

We talk at length of the uses non-verbal communication has. 

Sometimes, it’s not in what you say but how you say it that can do wonders for helping you connect with others (like appropriate eye contact, uncrossed arms, leaning in.)

But body language can also work against you, too. 

Imagine a first date or first meeting with someone who barely makes eye contact, keeps their arms tightly crossed, and speaks only in a dull, monotone voice. You’d feel like you were trying to chat up a robot – no warmth, no connection. 

Unfortunately, these individuals are sometimes not even aware of the detriment their body language is having in severing connections.

But consider how avoiding eye contact, crossing arms, or maintaining a closed-off posture can make it difficult to read emotions and intentions. 

All of this adds up to an aura that screams, “Don’t talk to me!”, making connecting very difficult.

7) Extremely judgemental

Some people are quick to judge and criticize, making it difficult to feel safe and accepted in their presence. 

And whilst brutal honesty can be healthy and is often required in successful relationships, this typically needs to be said with some kindness. Honesty without kindness is often cruel.

So, take caution of someone who constantly makes snide remarks about your appearance, choices, or beliefs. 

Feeling perpetually as if your every decision is being side-eyed and criticized can make you feel like walking on eggshells. 

You never know when you might trigger their disapproval, so you end up hiding away parts of your personality and retreating inwards.

8) “I did it better!” 

No matter what you say, they’ve done it better, bigger, or more impressively.  

“Oh, you got promoted? Congrats! I’m on 6 figures now.”

“You’re proud of your kids for behaving well all week? How nice of you. Mine just scored spelling bee champion, but I guess they’re all winners, right?!”

“You’re feeling sick? Now that you mention it, I do feel quite poorly as well…”

This constant need to one-up others (in both good and bad situations – really searching for any attention available!) creates an environment where genuine connection is impossible.

Everyone starts shutting their mouths, particularly when it comes to discussing their accomplishments, for fear of stoking the competition and getting out-rivaled.

9) A tendency to cancel at the last minute

…or disappear without a trace.

Some friends and acquaintances do just have a nasty habit of disappearing off the face of the earth. 

And yes, life happens. Obstacles pop up, you get busy, you don’t have as much time to check in on loved ones.

But this isn’t the sort of person I’m talking about. These ghosting connoisseurs dip at the very last moment all too often. They stop responding to texts three times a year, and vanish at least once per season. 

They might come back armed with excuses justifying why they disappeared, but these are often superficial and never quite justify the flakeyness in friendship.

The end result is that you never truly feel like they have your back. They may after all disappear at any moment, so why bother trusting them?

Final thoughts 

So, there you have it – 9 subtle behaviors that can instantly sabotage connecting with certain people and make forging relationships that little bit more difficult.

Of course, not everyone who exhibits these behaviors is intentionally trying to sabotage their relationships. 

Often, they’re simply unaware of how their actions are perceived. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating for those on the receiving end.

Remember, genuine connection is a two-way street. It requires effort, empathy, and a willingness to meet each other halfway. Don’t waste your time trying to squeeze blood from a stone (or a hug from a cactus).

Instead, seek out those who radiate warmth, openness, and a genuine desire to connect. You deserve it.

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