11 subtle signs you’re not as likeable as you think

How likeable are you?

I’d like to think I’m a great guy who’s generally well liked!

But if I’m being honest, that’s not always the case…

In fact, I have a number of attributes that I’ve become more self-aware about in the past few years that are frustrating for other people close to me to deal with!

I’ve put together a list of some of the top signs you’re not as likeable as you think…

1) You’re a know-it-all

The “know-it-all” is disliked for a reason. 

They can be really exasperating! 

How do I know?

Because I’ve done my fair share of playing this role, especially in more insecure younger years when I wanted to show the breadth of my knowledge. 

Knowing a lot is great, but interrupting to quip in with corrections and factoids all the time tends to rub people the wrong way. 

They find it pretentious and it’s also usually obvious when added factoids don’t actually advance the conversation but are more about proving your smarts.

This relates to the next point…

2) You brag and boast 

There are many ways to brag and boast, including humble bragging

I know that I’ve done it, and many people I know have done it, too. 

We’re all prone to moments of insecurity or lapses in judgment when we seek to emphasize our worth to others. 

“I know this famous guy…”

“I was too busy to answer your messages, I’ve been helping on this big volunteer project…”

Sometimes we boast a bit without even really realizing we’re doing it or without even meaning to. 

But even when you don’t mean it that way, it can come across as boasting to others, which is why it’s best to hold back on talking about accomplishments and what you’ve done when possible.

3) You hold grudges

Holding grudges is something I’ve also done my fair share of. 

When you feel you’ve been treated unfairly or gotten the short end of the stick, it’s hard not to feel a desire for payback. 

In my honest opinion, sometimes a bit of payback is a good thing.

But when you expend emotional energy on grudges and actively make them a priority it makes it hard for others to be around you. 

Holding a grudge can make us give off really toxic energy even when we don’t realize we are.

4) You dismiss the problems of others

When you have a lot on your plate, it’s hard to pay attention to others. 

I know I’ve been guilty of this a lot and it’s made me less likeable:

An inability or unwillingness to really empathize with the problems of others. 

Even when friends or family open up to me, I’ve often had a hard time really listening to what they’re saying or the pain they’re expressing because I’m so focused on my own struggles. 

On a related note…

5) You downplay the needs of others 

Our own needs have to be taken care of before we can really focus on those of others.

At the same time, as we become more mature and capable it’s possible to juggle our own needs and also pay attention to those of other people. 

When you don’t show up for others or really care about what they need, you may get the reputation for being selfish

This is unfortunate, because it can feel very unfair to be labeled this way, but when you find the needs of others hard to pay attention to it’s a label that often gets attached to you.

6) You’re overly critical 

There’s a lot out there to criticize, and some criticisms are very much valid. 

But if you’re prone to voicing a lot of your criticisms it can really annoy people. 

The fact is:

  • If you’re being overly critical or unfairly critical then people will tend to see you as mean-spirited;
  • If your criticism is valid it may hurt those it’s directed towards or bring down the mood if it’s about something around you. 

For example if you’re at a pub and the music isn’t that good and you point it out, that can bring down the mood and make you a downer. 

Everybody knows the music isn’t amazing, but by pointing it out you’re highlighting something that makes those around you see you as a bit of a downer.

7) You’re prone to gossip 

Gossip can be hard to resist, especially when it’s juicy. 

If you find that you sometimes spread rumors, this can lead to a lot of unintended consequences. 

Another aspect of this is that eventually the rumors and gossip mill tends to circle back around to you. 

This leads to all sorts of bitterness and unintended drama.

8) You jump to conclusions 

Jumping to conclusions can save time. 

The issue is that in the long run it ends up wasting time and leading to all sorts of miscommunication. 

That’s because usually it’s necessary to hear somebody out or get all the facts of something before really having the data necessary to reach a conclusion. 

Whether it be current events in the news or something a friend is telling us, far too many of us jump to a conclusion or try to summarize what’s being said without really hearing it out in full. 

This ties into the next issue…

9) You have trouble listening

Listening takes energy and in many cases more energy than talking. 

It can take practice to hone the ability to actively listen and hear what somebody is saying as well as the unexpressed needs and ideas behind what they’re saying.

If you find that it’s hard for you to listen, it’s something you can consciously practice and work on.

10) You make big demands on others

Generally speaking, people are always going to gravitate towards somebody who has something to offer, rather than somebody who wants something. 

This is a law of nature and holds true in almost all cases. 

If you’re a fairly needy person who makes big demands it can lead to others finding you less likeable. 

This is often unfair, let’s face it. 

For example if you have needs that aren’t even your choice like needing insulin or having difficulty walking it’s not your fault!

However, in such cases it’s not your need itself that makes you likeable or not but rather how you express it.

11) You’re manipulative 

I’d hate to think of myself as manipulative, and I’m sure you’re the same. 

But I will admit that I’ve certainly engaged in manipulative behavior at times in the past. 

This can be something as simple as playing the victim to get what you want, or trying to make someone feel guilty to get them back for annoying you. 

Most of us have done small things like this from time to time, but it’s best to become aware of and do as little as possible in order to not become a manipulative person and veer into narcissism!

A note on being likeable

I don’t believe that being likeable should be a primary goal in life. 

This is too dependent on outer validation and shifting opinions and emotions. 

Additionally, none of us are completely likeable or unlikeable, so this is really all on a sliding scale. 

If you read the above and find that you’re more on the unlikeable side it’s definitely worth considering:

But it also does depend on who you’re unlikeable to and why. 

If you’re unlikeable to bullies and aggressive imbeciles, then it’s not such a bad thing!

At the same time, becoming a generally more affable person who is secure in themselves is almost always a good idea! 

It allows you to focus your energy and attention on other endeavors which are more meaningful and fulfilling. 

Instead of clashing or falling out of favor with those around you, you can prioritize what you want to accomplish and find more willing partners to work together with to pursue your dreams. 

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