6 subtle signs people find you difficult to connect with, according to psychology

If there’s one desire that’s shared among all humans, it’s got to be our need to belong.

Be it a group of friends, a nationality, or a work team, we all want to be part of something bigger; something that makes us feel like one small cog in a big machine that serves a purpose.

But some people are better at fitting in than others.

What about you? Do you think that people generally find you difficult to connect with?

These are the 6 subtle signs to tick off your list.

1) Your conversations with other people seem surface-level

I’m of the controversial opinion that small talk doesn’t have to boring, dull, or wasteful.

In fact, it is often through small talk that we strike up a conversation with another person and open the door to a deeper, more meaningful connection.

But not always can you walk through that door and not always do you want to.

And you know what?

That’s okay.

Not everyone’s going to be on the same wavelength as you. Not everyone’s going to make you feel comfortable enough to get vulnerable or to have a great time.

It’s alright to be picky when it comes to the people we open up to. It’s alright to take your time.

However, there comes a point when you should get to know the person you’re interested in, be it on a friendship or romantic level.

As research psychologist Dave Smallen Ph.D. says, “Being vulnerable—or openly sharing deeply personal thoughts, feelings, or experiences—can be a powerful way to connect with others.”

If all your conversations with other people never seem to go deeper – if they only ever graze the surface of who you are – it may be a sign you’re not exactly easy to connect with.

But if there’s one thing I want you to know, it’s that this isn’t necessarily your fault. It doesn’t mean something’s wrong with you.

It just means you may need to look a bit harder to find your crowd. But those people are out there. After all, there are billions of us in the world. The odds are in your favor.

2) Their nonverbal communication signals disconnection and withdrawal

Did you know that our bodies often speak for us even though we don’t realize it?

From the gestures we make to our facial expressions and the pace with which we move, we are all in a constant process of communication.

And if you pay careful attention, you may be able to get a glimpse of what other people are secretly saying – without ever voicing it out loud.

Here are a few signs of disconnected or defensive body language:

  • The person’s feet or body are turned away from you
  • Their arms or legs are crossed
  • They avoid eye contact
  • They don’t nod along to what you’re saying and generally seem distracted
  • They are fidgeting and seem eager to exit the conversation

If you notice these nonverbal cues, it may signal that the person you’re talking to isn’t interested in building a deeper connection.

3) You have a lot of acquaintances but few to no close friends

According to Psychology Today, “Strong friendships are a critical aspect of most people’s emotional well-being. Research indicates that close friendships are associated with greater happiness, self-esteem, and sense of purpose. These bonds are even associated with physical outcomes, such as lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.”

As you can see, close friendships are extremely valuable. 

Unfortunately, some people don’t get to have them – they may find it too difficult to connect with others on such a fundamental level, they could have lost the few friendships they once had, or they might feel uncomfortable letting people in.

Whatever it is, they tend to have a lot of acquaintances but very few friends they can rely on in times of need.

Again, remember this doesn’t mean you’re too “weird” to have friends. It just means you may often find yourself in the company of people who aren’t on the same wavelength.

So, if this sounds like you, consider stepping out of your comfort zone and trying out new social circles.

4) You’re often the odd one out

Ever feel like you’re the fifth wheel?

Like everyone else comes in a pair or a trio, and in the meanwhile, you’re just… there?

You’re not alone. Growing up, I was in that exact same position. No matter what I did or how hard I tried to connect with others, it just wasn’t working.

Until I branched out, explored new circles, and finally found myself surrounded by people who understood my authentic self – and loved me for it.

Sometimes, you’re not difficult to connect with. You’re just forcing a connection with the wrong person.

5) You gravitate toward niche interests or hobby groups

I’m sorry to break it to you, but if you’re into geology or whatever niche subject comes to mind, it may be slightly harder for you to make friends.


Because your pool of like-minded people becomes much smaller.

Of course, it is hardly a requirement to have a friend who’s obsessed with the same hobbies you are – after all, there are many different fronts on which you can bond, rocks and stones be damned – but our interests often tell a story of who we are deeper down.

For example, I’m a writer who loves to read fantasy books. This means I’m very creative and emotional and love to talk to people who are imaginative and adventurous.

Therefore, I may have a more difficult time connecting with an IT worker than with a library assistant.

See what I mean?

But worry not  – there are friends for everyone out there, no matter where your interests lie. My advice is to always stay true to yourself, and if it takes some work to find friends who understand you, so be it.

The result will be so very worth it.

Psychologist Gail Gross Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., agrees: “By being yourself and respecting yourself, you will find others like you. Nothing is worse in friendship or relationship than feeling your friend is so high-maintenance that you can never be your essential self or meet your needs, that you are not liked or valued for how you are but for how you perform.”

6) Your sense of humor is very specific

Humor is integral to forming meaningful connections with others.

As per Psychology Today, “From its most lighthearted forms to its more absurd ones, humor can play an instrumental role in forming social bonds, releasing tension, or attracting a mate.”

What’s more, “Humor can make stressful situations better. In addition to the positive feelings that joking and laughing stirs, some have proposed increased feelings of social support and an improved ability to rethink distressing situations as potential reasons for a stress-buffering effect.”

If you can laugh with someone, it’s fun times all around.

But this isn’t always easy.

Sometimes, we stumble upon people whose sense of humor is so at odds with ours that our conversations become awkward and strained.

Sometimes, our jokes are a hit or miss, and if we miss, we’re at risk of ridicule.

And sometimes, your humor can be so very specific that you simply won’t get along with most people because they won’t understand where you’re coming from.

As with every point above, it’s important that you don’t let this get to you. Yes, some jokes are socially inappropriate and would be better left unsaid, especially if they are hurtful rather than funny.

In general, though, your humor is a core part of you.

If you forsake it just to fit in, you’ll feel like you’re putting on a performance, which will discredit the value of your friendships because they won’t be based on authenticity.

And if you can’t be yourself around your friend…

Does that relationship serve you? Does it make you a better person? Does it satisfy you on a fundamental level?

Just some food for thought.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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