10 subtle behaviors that reveal someone is secretly unhappy

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When someone is secretly unhappy with their life, they might try to hide it from everyone they know.

Which is very, very sad. But it’s just what some people do.

However, certain things will give them away. People only display certain behaviors when they’re feeling down and unhappy with their life.

So if you catch any of these 10 in someone you know, watch out!

They might be secretly unhappy in life, and it might be time to check in with them that little bit more…

Up first:

1) They make self-deprecating comments

If someone is unhappy with their life, they’re almost certainly unhappy with themselves, too.  

They’ll have negative thoughts spinning around their head all the time. It might be bad thoughts about their appearance, intelligence, or even how lovable they are.

And these thoughts won’t always stay inside their heads. They’ll come out as self-deprecating comments.

Like saying, “My face is so hideous, I should come with a warning label: may cause blindness!”.

They won’t make these comments in a down, depressing way though. They’ll most likely say them with a huge laugh and a smile on their face.

Why? Well, it leads us nicely to how…

2) They always seem happy and upbeat

Some unhappy people hide their sadness by putting on a fake smile all the time. So much so that you’ve never seen them express any emotion other than happiness!

Sure, some people are just happy and love to enjoy life. But even these people feel down or stressed sometimes!

I don’t know about you, but I also get a gut feeling when someone is being fake nice rather than genuinely happy.

If someone you know only ever has one setting, no matter what, alarm bells should be ringing. If you have a feeling their smiles aren’t genuine, too, they should be ringing even louder!

They might be secretly unhappy with life, and they’re just trying desperately to hide it with their fake smiles.

3) They don’t make jokes

On the flip side of things, an unhappy person might not bother faking happiness to please anyone else. They might show it quite clearly for everyone to see.

Genuinely happy people have a more positive outlook on life. So it makes sense that they’re able to look on the bright side of things and laugh when things go wrong.

But when someone can’t do this and they never crack a single joke, they might be secretly unhappy with their life.

Instead of turning bad situations on their head or making a lighthearted joke about them, they might say, “It’s just typical for these things to happen to me” – or something else negative.

4) They don’t eat well

Do they make jokes about how they only ate crackers for dinner? Or that they’ve only skipped breakfast every morning since they turned 20?

Or do they proudly state that they devoured their entire refrigerator in one night? Or that they ate the entire bag of chips (plus three more) for dessert?

If so, take it as a warning sign.

Some people lose their appetite when they’re sad. Others struggle to stop eating when they’re in the midst of a depressive episode.

Either way, people who struggle to eat or have trouble eating well might be secretly unhappy with their lives.

And the only sign might be the fact that their eating habits are less than healthy!

5) They sleep in late all the time

I’m all up for a lie-in sometimes. I love sleeping in, especially after a busy week or a late night!

But this is only a healthy habit when you do it occasionally. When you do it all the time (like every single day), something is up – for sure.

I don’t know about you, but for me, getting out of bed is the hardest thing to do if I’m feeling low or unmotivated!

So if someone tells you they don’t ever get up early, they might be unhappier with life than they’ve been letting on…

6) They’re always tired

Similar to the above point, secretly unhappy people are usually pretty tired.

They might not look tired, but you’ll probably catch them yawning all the time. They might even say constantly how tired they are.

When I’ve had a lot going on in life (and felt a bit sad), my sleep was always the first thing to go. And during the work/school day or when out with friends, I’d always be yawning!

If I didn’t make myself “look good”, I’d also be told quite frequently how tired I looked.

Experts say that excessive sleepiness is a common sign of depression. Plus, when you’re depressed, you experience fragmented sleep, which increases fatigue during the day.

So if someone you know is always, always tired, they might not be sleeping well. And it might be because they’re sadder than they admit.

7) They text you constantly

You might not think it, but another subtle sign that someone is secretly unhappy is if they text you all the time.

They’re always messaging in the group chat to make plans or checking in with you about how you are.

Don’t get me wrong, they might just be a social person who cares about your friendship. But in my experience, I’ve found that they could also be secretly unhappy.

When various friends have been through breakups or family dramas, they’re always more active on their phones. They text way more than normal and are quick to answer the phone if you call.

Usually, they get like this because they’re lonely, bored with life, or just downright unhappy with things.

So if your friend is constantly on your case, maybe cut them a little slack…

8) They hardly return your texts at all

On the flip side, some people won’t always be so active on their phones when they’re feeling low. Instead, they are the complete opposite!

If you text them, they might hardly reply. Or they won’t reply for days, maybe even weeks, later.

Sometimes people are just busy and that’s why they take some time to respond (guilty!).

But sometimes, it’s a sign that they’re secretly unhappy with their life – and they’re struggling to even pick up their phone and message a friend.

9) They’re a little rude to others

Another subtle sign that someone is secretly unhappy is if they’re ruder than they should be to people around them.

My friend got like this once. When she was really depressed, she’d snap at the waiters, cashiers, and even her own friends.

She wasn’t doing it because she was a nasty person. It stemmed from how unhappy she felt with herself, so her anger was almost uncontrollable.

Some people get this way when they’re unhappy. And if you don’t know them that well, you might just think they’re a little rude.

If you do know them well, you might think they’ve changed as a person. But they might actually just be going through a rough phase…

10) They catastrophize daily life

The final sign that someone might be secretly unhappy is if they catastrophize everything in their life.

This one is kind of hard to spot. But once you notice it, you’ll notice it all the time!

Catastrophizing happens when someone thinks something bad is going to happen when they do a certain thing. Usually, it applies to the most normal things about their day-to-day life.

For example, if they get in a car, they think it’s going to crash. If they order a coffee at Starbucks, they think they’re going to be laughed at by the barista. If they go to a bar, they think they’re going to slip on the floor and break their arm.

When someone is unhappier than normal, they’ll worry about things like this a whole lot more. Nothing in their lives will feel safe or enjoyable anymore – and they’ll think the worst is going to happen after anything they do!

Final thoughts

Of course, the best way to learn whether someone is secretly unhappy with their life is to ask them. The problem is that they might not tell you the truth!

So the next best thing to do is to keep a close eye on their behaviors.

If you spot many of these in your friend, parent, coworker, or partner, they might be struggling more than they let on.

And a kind word from you or a little extra understanding could be just what they need from you today! Or a point in the direction for where they can get some further help…

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Amy Reed

Amy Reed is a content writer from London working with international brands. As an empath, she loves sharing her life insights to help others. When she’s not writing, she enjoys a simple life of reading, gardening, and making a fuss over her two cats.

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