10 signs you have a difficult personality that some people find exhausting

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Do people seem to get defensive around you?

Are they limiting contact? Establishing boundaries? Avoiding you altogether?

If your interactions lead to negative responses, it may be time for much-needed self-reflection.

Here are 10 signs you have a difficult personality that some people find exhausting.

Recognizing there’s a problem is the first step toward personal growth.

1) You constantly judge others

If you have a habit of making assumptions about those around you and are critical of their choices, people likely find you tiring.

We all have judgmental tendencies to some degree, but there’s a difference between keeping your snappy assessments to yourself and terrorizing others with hot takes on how they should live.

When you express judgmental opinions, you make others feel attacked. Unsolicited advice isn’t the same as constructive feedback.

Here are a few indicators you should scale back your judgy remarks:

  • You appraise people without taking the time to understand their perspective
  • You have rigid opinions about how people should behave
  • You categorize people into stereotypes based on superficial characteristics (how they dress, their race, their financial status, and so on)
  • Your favorite pastime activity is gossip
  • You compare others to a particular standard (or to yourself)
  • You frequently point out others’ flaws or shortcomings

No one wants to spend time with people who make them feel bad about themselves.

Don’t be one of those people.

2) You lash out when irritated

We’ve all been there.

You had a terrible day. Your car broke down on your way to work. An annoying colleague blamed you for one of their mistakes. The store was out of your favorite sandwich brand, so you had a sad salad devoid of taste.

By the time you reach the bar to meet friends, you feel like you’re about to explode.

Then, a friend gets on your last nerve. Instead of responding with compassion, you react with aggression or anger, causing a very avoidable fight.

Sounds familiar?

While occasionally losing your temper is forgivable, doing it regularly will strain your relationships with others.

If you struggle to keep your emotions in check, seek the help of a therapist or counselor who can provide guidance and strategies for anger management.

There might be underlying issues that trigger your irritation.

A professional can help you uncover them.

3) You complain about everything

Acting like a victim is a surefire way to alienate your loved ones.

A few years ago, I had this friend who was, without exaggeration, probably the whiniest person in the world.

Everything went wrong for him, the universe was against him, any minor inconvenience was cause for a lengthy “woe is me” complaining sesh.

I like to fancy myself a patient person, but after a while, even I got tired of dealing with his negative outlook on life.

No one’s life is perfect. When you constantly complain about everything from the economy to the fact that the latest Marvel blockbuster sucked, you drain everyone around.

Moreover, your friends grow tired of your neediness.

They will be less likely to run to your side and provide support when something actually bad happens.

4) You are the embodiment of toxic positivity

At the opposite end of the spectrum, insisting that others only see the good in things can be equally exhausting.

Suggesting that people maintain a positive attitude, avoid negative emotions, and focus solely on the bright side negates their experiences and downplays their suffering.

Healthy emotional well-being involves acknowledging and processing all emotions. 

You can’t be a well-rounded person if you ignore the bad bits.

In fact, embracing toxic positivity may indicate that you’re suppressing bad experiences or feelings yourself.

You might want to look into that.

5) You are inauthentic

If you’re used to putting on a façade, there’s a chance you have a difficult personality that some people find exhausting.

Humans long for authenticity. We want to connect with individuals who aren’t afraid to be vulnerable and true to themselves.

When you come across as fake, you put others off. Trust me, they notice:

  • Your convictions vary based on the social setting
  • You suppress your true emotions, acting like you’re fine when you’re not (see number 4)
  • You pretend to agree with others even when you hold different beliefs
  • You rely heavily on external validation 
  • You avoid opening up about your fears or insecurities

I would rather interact with someone who disagrees with me than with someone who is agreeable but talks smack behind my back.

How about you?

6) You hold grudges

People who hold grudges tend to repeatedly bring up past grievances, even when they’re unrelated to what’s going on in the present.

Needless to say, this is upsetting for others, making them feel like they have to walk on eggshells around you.

Instead of addressing issues directly, grudge-holders resort to passive-aggressive behavior or avoid communication altogether, leaving problems unresolved.

This attitude erodes trust and damages relationships.

Moreover, by holding grudges, you hold on to negative feelings, which can fester to the point where they taint every interaction you have.

No one says you should forgive and forget, especially when someone hurts you deeply.

However, learning how to let go of things now and then is healthier.

Otherwise, your anxiety skyrocket, and your entourage will shrink.

Soon, you’ll have no one to hold grudges about anymore.

7) You’re a bad listener

Being a bad listener is draining for those around you.

People like to feel heard, and they take it personally if you don’t pay attention to whatever they’re saying.

You fidget. Zone out during conversations. Ignore the speaker in favor of your phone.

These subtle cues aren’t just rude; they’re signs you’re not particularly interested in interacting with the other person, making them feel ignored.

Do it enough times, and I can almost guarantee that said person will begin to slowly but steadily distance themselves from you.

Instead, give people you chat with your undivided attention.

Make eye contact. Leave your phone in your pocket or bag. Nod frequently and ask pertinent questions.

You can forge genuine connections if you’re unwilling to lend people an understanding ear.

8) You brag

I’m a big fan of acknowledging your achievements.

I struggle with self-esteem, and I find that celebrating little successes helps build confidence.

If I write an article I’m proud of, score a lucrative gig, or manage to fold a fitted sheet on the first try, my friends will learn all about it.

That said, I don’t go around bragging about every little thing, especially around strangers or casual acquaintances. 

People who do are exhausting to be around.

Bragging makes you appear arrogant and lacking in humility, traits that people aren’t fond of.

It can also make others harbor resentment toward you or feel unimportant, especially if you always overshadow them.

Learn to celebrate your successes in a way that doesn’t come across as self-absorbed and without diminishing the accomplishments of others.

It’s not as difficult as it sounds.

9) You’re self-serving 

People who keep score at all times are a pain.

Whenever I help someone out, I do it because I can be of assistance, not because I expect them to do someone for me in return.

I grew up to consider this practice the norm, but I’ve met people in adulthood who disagree.

Whenever they do you a favor, they consider you in their debt.

Not only that, but they will come to collect sooner rather than later.

Does that describe you?

Then you might have a difficult personality that some people find exhausting.

Your relationships become transactional, and this conditional giving makes others feel obligated rather than grateful.

You *can* do a good deed without expecting anything in return.

The sooner you understand that, the better.

10) You always need to get your way

Every relationship is built on a sense of give-and-take.

When someone consistently refuses to compromise, it suggests they’re not willing to meet you halfway.

If that someone is you, you create a power imbalance that makes the relationship one-sided, turning people off.

It’s important to consider others’ needs and preferences.

Otherwise, they won’t feel treated with respect, which leads to frustration and may cause them to distance themselves from you.

Or, they’ll hang out with you out of obligation rather than enjoyment.

Does that sound like a pleasant way to spend your time?

Final thoughts

We all have moments where we let our worst instincts take over.

But if you’re guilty of some or all of the behaviors above, it’s more than a phase.

A difficult personality is often a result of insecurity, in which case a bit of self-compassion can go a long way.

In addition, make it a habit to reflect on your behavior, practice empathy, and listen to others more than you talk.

It won’t be long until your relationships will start to benefit.

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