Whether we admit it or not, we all want to be liked by others, right? That’s why we take great care to look good and treat people nicely. But sometimes, we unknowingly do things that turn people off.
What exactly are these small habits that make us less likeable?
Today, I’m going to talk about these little things you might be overlooking that are driving people away.
Let’s dive in!
1) Constantly interrupting others
One of the most annoying things in conversations is getting interrupted. Nobody likes to be interrupted, and doing it all the time is a surefire way to annoy people.
I once had a co-worker – let’s call him Charlie – who had this nasty habit. It wasn’t that he was rude or mean-spirited, he just couldn’t seem to help himself.
Every time someone tried to tell a story or make a point, Charlie would jump in with his own thoughts or opinions. He would interrupt mid-sentence, cutting off the speaker and stealing the spotlight.
At first, people didn’t seem to mind too much. They thought maybe he was just enthusiastic or had a lot to say (which was true, he really is an eager-beaver type).
But as time went on, people started getting frustrated, sometimes shutting down altogether. It wasn’t until another co-worker told Charlie, “You know, I love talking to you, but it’s really hard when you keep interrupting me. Can you let me finish what I’m saying first?”
That woke Charlie up, and he began making a conscious effort to listen more and interrupt less. Once he got the hang of it, people started looking at him kindly again, because he really was a nice and likeable guy overall.
2) Talking too much about yourself
Yes, we all have interesting stories to share, but if you dominate the conversation with tales of your own awesomeness, people are going to get bored.
I’ve been stuck one too many times at dinner parties beside people who just love talking about themselves.
Now, as someone who enjoys hearing people’s stories, I do appreciate them. But sometimes, it can become a little too much; it can cross over from interesting to boring.
See, monopolizing a conversation makes people think you’re narcissistic or full of yourself, and that’s a shame if you’re a likeable person.
I’ll tell you what’s going to happen if you don’t ditch this pesky habit – people are going to tune you out.
So, if you’re prone to this habit, take a step back and listen more. Ask questions and show interest in other people. Make them feel like they matter.
That would make you so much more likeable than if you went on and on about yourself and your accomplishments.
3) Being a one-upper
Actually, this is another habit that people who talk too much about themselves are also prone to.
One-uppers are so annoying, period. I have a friend who constantly does this, and it can really wear you out.
Whenever I would share stories about my accomplishments, she would respond with one-upper stories.
For example, when I was so happy about finishing a 10k race, she said, “That’s easy, I’ve finished a half-marathon myself.”
When I got promoted, she’d just gotten a huge raise.
And if I had a headache? Oh, she has an even bigger one! She even has back pain on top of it!
See how it can be frustrating? It really gets in the way of making strong connections.
So if someone tells a story, don’t try to outdo them with a better one. It’s not a competition. Just listen and share in their joy.
4) Not listening
Speaking of listening brings me to this next point. If you’re not actively listening to what others are saying, it shows that you don’t value their opinions or thoughts.
Sure, you might not be interrupting people or talking about yourself too much or one-upping. But if you show you’re not listening, that’s a huge turn-off just the same.
Think about it: if the person you’re talking to does nothing but scroll on his phone or look away, don’t you feel disrespected?
As a person with a knack for reading body language, I can tell you this – we know when you’re not listening. Even if you nod your head or say the occasional “uh-huh,” you’re not fooling us.
So put your phone away and engage. Believe me, people are going to like you more when they see you’re invested in getting to know them!
5) Not respecting personal space
But don’t go overboard and be overly engaging. Yes, there’s such a thing.
Everyone has their own comfort zone, and if you invade it without permission, you’re going to come across as pushy, even if you’re really just being friendly.
What are some ways that you can look like you don’t respect personal space?
- Standing too close
- Touching without permission
Being friendly or outgoing includes giving people the space and respect they deserve. If you want to be likeable, you’ll need to make them feel comfortable around you.
6) Being negative all the time
Here’s another habit that’s sure to drive people away – being a Negative Nellie.
I get it – sometimes, life can be so disappointing that you need to vent. And that’s okay once in a while.
But if you’re always complaining, people will start to avoid you.
Look, energy is contagious. That negative vibe coming from you? It’s just draining.
Venting might give you relief from negative emotions, but take a moment and think about how it’s affecting other people. Chances are, you’re making them feel tense and uncomfortable.
7) Being flaky
If you’re always canceling plans or showing up late, people will start to think you’re unreliable.
I’ve been guilty of this myself. As an introvert, I had this annoying habit of making commitments and then ditching them because “I wasn’t in the mood.”
To make the long story short, my friends started complaining about it. And when I still didn’t change my ways, they eventually stopped inviting me to events.
That was a hard lesson for me. I had to find a balance between having time alone and following through on my commitments.
I’m now back in my friends’ good graces, but I had to earn their trust back.
So believe me when I say, flakiness makes people like and trust you less.
8) Not taking responsibility for your actions
This is another lesson I learned from that story I shared with you above. Before I could fix my relationship with my friends, I had to own up to my mistakes.
You see, not taking responsibility for your actions is just a big turn-off.
No one wants to be around a person who constantly blames others or makes excuses for their mistakes. No one wants to be with someone who never apologizes.
Does that sound like you?
Well, before you make people downright pissed off with you, take a good look at how you handle your mistakes.
I know saying sorry can be the hardest thing to do, but trust me, it will only make your relationships stronger.
9) Being judgmental
Let me tell you, being judgmental can really put a damper on friendships.
When we judge others, we’re essentially saying this: “I’m better than you/you’re not good enough.”
Obviously, this kind of attitude can be incredibly hurtful and offensive to others, and can quickly erode trust and respect in a friendship.
My favorite people are the ones I can completely open up to without fear of being judged. When I talk to them, I feel like I’m in a safe space.
So, aim to be that person for other people. Nobody likes to be judged, so try to be open-minded and empathetic.
10) Not showing gratitude
You would think that saying “thank you” is a no-brainer. But you know what? I’ve encountered so many people who don’t know how to say it!
Now, I’m not saying they’re ungrateful or ill-mannered. Oftentimes, I just chalk it down to forgetfulness or lack of awareness.
But whatever the reason, the point is, it sends the message that they’re not grateful. And, of course, when it comes to relationships, perception matters. People will respond to what they see, not to what’s really deep inside you.
That’s why it’s important to be mindful. When someone does a nice thing for you, don’t forget to show your appreciation. You’ll make them feel special, and they will like you more, that’s for sure!
And there you have it – ten small habits that could be making you less likeable. The good news is that these are all things you can change with a little effort.
Being likeable boils down to this – you make people feel comfortable, welcome, and respected. We naturally gravitate to the ones who make us feel like this.
So, work on being a better listener, respect personal space, stay positive, and always, always show gratitude. Trust me, you’ll be surprised at how much more likeable you become!
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.