7 signs someone secretly hates you but wants to keep you close, according to psychology

“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”

It’s a chilling thought, isn’t it? The idea that someone you consider a friend could secretly harbor ill will towards you.

According to psychology, this phenomenon is not as rare as we’d like to believe.

See, human behavior can be quite complex. Sometimes, people keep those they dislike close for various reasons – be it to keep an eye on them, or perhaps to gain some kind of advantage.

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Could this be happening to me?” Well, that’s what we’re about to delve into.

In this article, we’ll unpack the tell-tale signs showing that someone may secretly despise you but still wants to keep you within arm’s reach.

So, buckle up. You’re in for a revealing ride.

1) They’re always competitive with you

Ever noticed a friend who always seems to be in competition with you?

You share a success story, and they instantly counter with their own, often trying to one-up you. It’s like there’s this invisible tug-of-war going on.

This could be more than just friendly banter or healthy rivalry.

Consistent, intense competition could be a sign of hidden resentment. It might indicate that this person secretly dislikes you but keeps you around to fuel their need for superiority.

So, next time this ‘friend’ turns your shared experiences into a battleground, take note. You could be dealing with more than just an overly competitive buddy.

2) They belittle your achievements

I remember when I got my first promotion at work. I was over the moon – I’d worked hard for it, and it felt like a significant milestone in my career. Naturally, I wanted to share this joy with my close circle.

One ‘friend’, however, had a different reaction. Instead of celebrating with me, they downplayed my achievement, saying things like “Oh, promotions are handed out so easily these days” or “You must have a really lenient boss.”

Initially, I brushed it off as them having a bad day. But then, it became a pattern. Every success of mine was met with dismissive remarks and subtle put-downs.

This kind of behavior may be a sign that someone secretly dislikes you. They may keep you close to feed their own insecurities by undermining your accomplishments.

In hindsight, I can see that their reactions were less about me and more about their own issues. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but recognizing such behavior can save us from needless emotional distress in the long run.

3) They’re master manipulators

They’re charming, outgoing, and everyone seems to love them. But there’s a side to them that few people see.

They know how to twist words, play the victim, and redirect blame. They’re a master manipulator, a puppeteer pulling strings behind the scenes.

They’re the kind of co-worker that will pass the blame on you for their own mistake – in front of your boss. They know how to make you feel guilty for not helping her with their work, even though they never assist you with yours,

These instances aren’t mere accidents; they’re calculated moves.

According to psychology, people who secretly despise you but want to keep you close often use manipulation as their weapon of choice. It allows them to maintain control and keep the upper hand in the relationship.

This form of psychological warfare can be subtle and hard to detect, making it all the more dangerous. 

4) They’re often passive-aggressive

Passive-aggressiveness can be one of the most frustrating behaviors to deal with. It’s like a veiled attack that leaves you feeling uncomfortable, but you can’t quite put your finger on why.

They never directly confront you or expresses his displeasure, but there’s a constant undercurrent of hostility in his interactions with you. They’ll drop sarcastic comments, give backhanded compliments, or display indifference towards your concerns.

This kind of behavior is a classic sign of a passive-aggressive individual. Such a person might secretly harbor negative feelings towards you. They choose to express their dislike not through open hostility but through subtle digs and indirect jabs.

5) They avoid meaningful connection

Did you know that the human brain is wired to form deep, meaningful connections? It’s true. Our brains release hormones like oxytocin and serotonin during intimate, genuine interactions, which are crucial for our overall well-being.

Even if you’ve known them for a while, your conversations always seem to stay at a surface level. They’re happy to discuss the latest movies or gossip about colleagues, but they always steer clear of personal topics or deeper emotional discussions.

This could be more than just them being private or introverted.

Someone who consistently avoids meaningful connection might secretly dislike you. They keep the relationship superficial to maintain a certain distance, despite keeping you in their close circle.

6) They rarely show genuine empathy

We’ve all had moments of struggle and heartbreak, times when we just needed someone to say, “I understand how you feel.”

Imagine going through such a moment, and your ‘friend’ is there. But instead of offering comforting words or a shoulder to lean on, they seem indifferent to your feelings. They may offer a cursory “That’s tough” or change the topic quickly.

This lack of empathy isn’t just hurtful; it might be telling of deeper issues.

Empathy is a cornerstone of any meaningful relationship. If someone consistently shows a lack of genuine empathy, they may harbor secret negative feelings towards you.

They keep you close, but their lack of emotional support speaks volumes about how they truly feel.

7) They’re not genuinely happy for your success

Consider this: You’ve just landed your dream job, and you’re bursting with joy. You can’t wait to share the news with your ‘friend’.

But instead of sharing your excitement, their reaction is lukewarm at best. There’s no genuine joy, no enthusiastic congratulations. Instead, there’s a forced smile and a half-hearted “That’s great.”

A person who isn’t sincerely happy for your successes might secretly harbor ill feelings towards you. Their lack of enthusiasm could be a sign they’re keeping you close despite their hidden disdain.

Remember, your achievements are worth celebrating. If they can’t join in on the joy, it might be a clear indication of their true feelings towards you.

The final reflections

It can be disheartening, even shocking, to realize that someone you consider a friend may secretly harbor negative feelings for you.

But remember this – it’s more about them than it is about you.

The behaviors we’ve discussed are often rooted in the other person’s insecurities, fears, or unmet needs. They’re reflections of their inner struggles, not a verdict on your worthiness or lovability.

Always hold on to this truth – you deserve respect, empathy, and genuine care in your relationships.

And if you feel you’re not receiving that, it might be time for a difficult conversation or reevaluation of certain relationships in your life.

It’s not an easy path, but it’s a brave step towards preserving your mental and emotional well-being.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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