You have trouble maintaining friendships, and you can’t help but wonder what’s pushing people away from you.
Perhaps you shouldn’t look at what you’re doing consciously, but at the little things you do without thought.
Here in this article, I will give you 10 subconscious behaviors that might be pushing people away.
Just a note: Please don’t hate yourself for having these behaviors. They’re from your subconscious and are therefore hard to recognize and control without the help of a therapist.
1) Running off assumptions
Assumptions make an ass out of you and me, or so goes the saying. Not that everyone actually lives by it, though not for a lack of trying.
Whether we like it or not, assumptions both big and small are part of our daily lives.
When we go out to our favorite restaurants to eat, we do so assuming that they’d be open. When we call our friends in the evening, we’re assuming that they’re free.
If you make a mountain out of a molehill all the time, it can be exhausting—not just for you, but the people around you.
And catastrophizing can make one stressed, rude, and impulsive.
People would rather that you loosen up a bit. Catastrophizing is often just as stressful for them as it is for you, and they’d rather keep their distance if you keep on doing it.
It’s not as easy as that, however. This is a habit that’s deeply embedded in the subconscious, and you might not even realize you’re doing it half the time.
3) Feeling unwanted
When your partner goes on a trip all by themselves, or when your friends hang out without you, you feel restless and left out.
You love your friends, but somehow there’s this fear that they don’t love you back. No matter how many times they might reassure you that they do, that fear still lingers.
So you cling tight to those around you. You try to always be around them and ask to always be included in their lives.
The cruel irony is that wanting to always be around people will make them resent you. Your friends might like you, but they still want to be able to do what they want without feeling like they MUST include you or else…
4) Being too sympathetic
Sympathy can often feel condescending and fake, and having too much of it can make people feel uncomfortable around you.
People don’t really need someone looking at them and saying “I feel bad for you, my sympathies.”
People need someone who would sit down with them, listen to what they have to say, and try to understand.
That is why it would help for you to train yourself to be a bit less sympathetic and a lot more EMPATHETIC instead.
5) Dumping your burdens
Once venting and dumping have become something you do without even bothering about it—when it’s become a subconscious impulse—it’s hard to stop.
You won’t even realize you’re doing it then, and even if you are, you might not always catch yourself doing it.
We all want our friends to be happy, and part of what it means to be a good friend is to be there for them when they need company.
But that doesn’t mean your friends are going to enjoy it if you keep dumping your burdens on them all the time. They’re your friends, not your emotional sponge.
6) Being too competitive
If your friend manages to earn themselves a promotion, you can’t help but feel like you’ve fallen behind and want to work harder to catch up.
And if your partner buys you a gift, you feel compelled to give them an even better, flashier gift to match.
We can hardly be blamed for being a little competitive here and there. We’re often taught to compare ourselves with others, and that if we are not “good enough” we will not amount to anything.
But at the same time, people don’t exactly like being around competitive people. It’s too straining and tense.
If you always feel like you must measure up to the people around you, you’ll only end up driving them away.
7) Being too positive
It might seem surprising that being way too positive can drive people away. And yet it does—while people do like positivity in general, there comes a point when it becomes toxic.
If you ever felt the need to lighten up the room regardless of the occasion, and especially when your attempts only earn you silence… you might be forcing positivity where it’s not welcome.
It’s often better to offer a hug or sit in silence when a friend is sad or the mood is sour. Nobody wants people cracking jokes after hearing that someone died, after all.
8) Being quick to write things off
It’s not uncommon, especially if you’ve been burnt by plenty of bad experiences before, to be quick to say “no” or “that’s impossible.”
And if things have been bad for you long enough, it’s easy for you to always unconsciously assume that the glass is half empty.
But people don’t like naysayers and negative Nancies, less so if they or their ideas are simply dismissed without any clear explanations why they deserve to be dismissed.
9) Wanting the spotlight
It’s easy enough to agree that nobody likes hanging around people who always manage to make everything about them.
What’s hard is realizing that you’re actually being that person in the heat of the moment.
That’s why it’s a good idea to take the moment to process your thoughts and emotions.
If you feel a need to be heard— to always interject in conversation instead of just listening along—or to change the subject when people are talking about something you don’t relate to, then you might be trying to hog the spotlight.
This need for control stems from anxiety and the innate need to help.
We might not always mean harm when we do it, but sometimes we can’t help but correct people and get a little bossy. We hover, nitpick, ask 1000 questions—we just find it hard to let go and trust.
While that’s noble, what isn’t nice is when we do it often and with every single thing that they do.
Whatever the case may be, you won’t be too liked if you treat your friends like they’re kids who don’t know how to tie their shoelaces.
At first glance, the things I’ve listed in this article might not seem especially hidden. In fact, you might even think that some of them are things people do consciously.
But the secret with subconscious behaviors is that they’re instilled deep into our minds and normalized by a lifetime of exposure.
So in the end, what happens is that the people doing these things are often unaware of what they’re doing, or they might be aware but fail to spot them as they happen.
That is to say, unlearning and removing these subconscious behaviors isn’t going to be easy, and even the simplest of them may take years to unlearn.
If this is you, do make small steps daily to reprogram your way of thinking. And if someone you know commits these behaviors, be a little kinder. They may not be deliberately doing it to push you away.