Are you asking yourself, “why don’t people like me?”
Without a friend to trust or someone to call upon during tough times, life can be even more difficult than it already is.
Everyone needs someone they can turn to in life, whether that’s our family or a friend.
While we don’t get to choose our families, we can certainly choose our friends.
You may find yourself without either, and now you’re wondering:
How I can turn things around so that people will like me again?
If you’ve crossed a line and have been put out of a family or have been double-crossed by friends, it might feel impossible to get back into someone’s good graces, but all is not lost.
You need to take responsibility for your actions and change the way you operate. Other people aren’t going to change.
You need to change the way you are around them in order to see different results.
Friendship can be a fickle thing, but it’s also something that needs a bit of artistry to master.
Here are 24 reasons you might be turning people off, and how you can change your behavior for the better.
1. You never stop talking
Having the ability to hold a conversation is definitely better than not knowing how to talk at all, but too many people confuse “having a conversation” with “talking”.
Communicating with the people around us means giving them the chance and space to respond, and allowing them the opportunity to share their own thoughts and ideas when they desire.
There’s no quicker way to turn someone off than by talking on and on and on and on.
You’re assuming that they care about every aspect of your life, or that they’re even interested in the first place.
When you force someone to listen to you endlessly, there’s no doubt that all they’ll be thinking of is how to get away ASAP.
How to change for the better: Care about what other people have to say.
The reason why you don’t give them the chance to talk is that you don’t really walk into conversations with the mindset that they might add value to you.
Recognize the unknown insights that might be existing in their head, which you’ll never get a chance to hear if you never let them talk.
By simply caring about their thoughts, you naturally stop and listen whenever they want to speak.
It definitely takes practice, but here are some tips to become a better listener:
– Put yourself in the shoes of the speaker. Think about what they’re saying from their perspective.
– Avoid making assumptions or judgments.
– Pay attention to their feelings as they’re talking.
– Talk to them back in their own words (empathetic reflection).
– Look into their eyes as they’re speaking.
– Acknowledge that you’re listening by nodding or saying “uh-huh” or “yep”.
– If possible, summarize their comments if given a chance so you can better understand.
– Focus on fully taking in the message that someone is trying to get across.
Recommended reading: How to talk to people: 7 must-read tips for poor communicators
2. You bully people without realizing
No one likes to be bullied, but no one ever thinks of themselves as a bully.
Maybe you grew up around a “rougher” crowd than the one you’re around now, or maybe your sensibilities just aren’t the same as the people around you.
So the way you act “normally” around others might actually be too rough and forward for those around you, so they end up feeling bullied and even abused.
Your first reaction might be, “that’s their problem, not mine.”
While that’s totally in your freedom to feel that way, it also means that you don’t care enough about your possible friendship with them to change the abrasive way you act.
How to change for the better: Listen to what people say.
If you feel like you’ve hurt or disappointed someone, truly hear them out instead of thinking that they’re being too sensitive or fragile.
You’ll never realize that you’re actually a bully if you never stop to consider that you might be unfairly treating the people around you.
Robin Dreeke, author the book, It’s Not All About “Me”: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone, says that “ego suspension” is a key to building rapport with others:
“Ego suspension is putting your own needs, wants and opinions aside. Consciously ignore your desire to be correct and to correct someone else. It’s not allowing yourself to get emotionally hijacked by a situation where you might not agree with someone’s thoughts, opinions or actions.”
Recommended reading: “Why do I push people away?” 19 reasons (and how to stop)
3. You’re always complaining
If you just drag others down with you when you have a pity party nobody is going to want to be your friend.
In a piece for Psychology Today, psychologist Guy Winch said, “The constant negativity issuing forth from chronic complainers presents a huge challenge for those around them. And nothing makes chronic complainers happier than being more miserable than their friends.”
The bottom line is that nobody likes bad vibes.
In this age of positivity and self-care, so many of us now prioritize protecting our energy, because the moment you start to go slide down, it can be so easy to fall into a spiral.
And one of the worst things to expose your energy to is the bad vibes of someone who can’t stop complaining about everything.
Maybe you complain about how hot it is, or how the food isn’t that great, or how the trip is boring, or that you can’t believe what people did to you, or how everyone seems to be out to get you.
Whether your complaints are about trivial issues or serious issues, the fact is, you’re always complaining.
Bad vibes are bad vibes in whatever form they may be, and people just don’t want to deal with someone who is nothing but a giant wellspring of bad vibes.
How to change for the better: Stop complaining! See the good in things in life, and understand the importance of prioritizing your energy and radiating positive energy to everyone around you.
There’s a time and a place to complain and argue, and there’s a time and place to just take a deep breath and appreciate what you have instead of complaining about what you don’t have.
Everyone gets to have down days, but if you constantly live in the mud, people will stop coming to pull you out.
Get over it and get back to living a life of possibility. Complaining doesn’t get you friends.
In no time at all, people will actively orbit around you rather than avoid you.
4. You have horrible hygiene
While it may seem like a superficial issue, it’s probably just as important (if not more so) than the other issues on this list.
Ask yourself: would you want to be around someone who smells or just looks dirty or unkempt all the time?
Not only would it affect your ability to enjoy your time with that person, but it would also feel embarrassing just to be around someone who takes so little care of themselves.
How to change for the better: Wash yourself. Buy new clothes, or at least wash the clothes you already have.
Use personal hygiene products like soap, shampoo, deodorant, and don’t leave the house again without cleaning yourself.
The truth is that it’s just time to grow up.
As an adult, you should have the conscious care for your own appearance and smell, and you should know that the way you present yourself to the outside world is a reflection of who you are.
Even if you have the best personality, no one wants to be around a person who stinks, especially when they have to sit next to you for extended periods of time.
5. You talk behind people’s backs
Gossip is a great way to get “in” with people because everyone loves to huddle in for the latest drama and secrets.
As kids in school, we quickly learn that gossip is one of the easiest ways to get the attention of everyone around us, and we associate that behavior with positive feelings.
We end up believing that sharing gossip — regardless of the consequences others may face — is key towards developing relationships with others.
But eventually people grow up, and they start to realize just how toxic it is to spread gossip to be the center of attention.
While you might get their friendship in the short-term, no one will really want to commit to you because they’ll know you’ll just use them and their own secrets to keep climbing the social ladder.
How to change for the better: Go cold turkey on the gossip. You might have already developed a reputation as being a gossip in your social circles, so people will need to see that you’ve changed for good.
That doesn’t just mean never participating in gossip again, but also actively working against any gossip you might come across.
Care about the consequences of what people might feel, and people will start to see you in a new light.
Recommended reading: “Am I toxic?” clear signs you’re toxic to others around you
6. You don’t care about anyone else’s time
Our time is important to all of us. We all have 24 hours, and the way we spend that time is something we all care about.
That’s why there’s nothing more aggravating than when someone wastes your time without a second thought.
So think of all the times you arranged to meet someone at a certain time but you ended up coming late.
Not only did you make them wait, but maybe you didn’t even sincerely apologize for the delay; maybe all you gave them was a quick “sorry” and you moved on.
Time is a huge sign of respect — and equally, disrespect.
How to change for the better: Be on time. Start to worry about other people’s time being wasted.
Apologize when you end up making people wait, and try to be better the next time you meet up with them.
Even just five or ten minutes can feel annoying and disrespectful to people, because that’s five or ten minutes of them doing nothing except waiting for you.
7. You don’t know how to forgive people
It’s possible that you’re a great friend in almost every way that matters except one: you hold onto grudges, prioritizing conflicts over relationships.
If you want to get your friends back you are going to have to forgive and forget. Some people can forget, but not everyone can forgive.
It’s an important part of healing and moving on for some people. If you constantly remind people about their mistakes they are not going to be interested in being your friend.
Belittling others by pointing out their mistakes can rub people the wrong way.
People who have dozens of friends didn’t just pick them up overnight; those are relationships they’ve slowly worked on over the years, fixing them when they started to crack and reinforcing them whenever necessary.
But you might’ve thrown your relationships away, one after another.
Instead of keeping your friends over the years, you ended up cutting those connections every time an argument or fight came along because you prioritized winning the fight instead of saving the relationship.
While there will always be some fights that are impossible to get over, most of the time it’s more about your own inability to forgive than about the importance of the dispute.
How to change for the better: Learn to let go. Stop embracing the feeling of being hurt, of needing to be right, because you end up caring about those issues more than you care about preserving relationships that could last for years if you put in the right work.
Learning to forgive people will keep them around you, long after the feelings of your fight or disagreement fade into irrelevance.
8. You stir up drama
Personal problems are a part of everyone’s existence. Life isn’t always what we want it to be and even the best of us get beaten down every once in a while.
But there’s a fine line between embracing the bad stuff in life and defining your life according to it.
You live like you’re in a movie, or better yet, you exist like you’re in your own reality show.
You blow problems way out of proportion and you create issues out of thin air.
You take things to heart, even when there’s nothing to interpret.
Friends are constantly walking on eggshells around you because they know they’re one word away from something crazy happening.
No one likes being involved in drama.
In a world where there is already so much negativity, no one likes living their day-to-day life surrounded by people who want to make an issue out of every single thing.
How to change for the better: Just relax and find something else to occupy your time. Dramatic people often turn to drama to fill their life with superficial noise.
Learn how to be content in the silence by teaching yourself to love solitude.
Take up a hobby, meditate, or join the gym — maybe some physical activity is what you need to take your mind off your own personal negativity.
Recommended reading: Best meditation techniques: The 18 most effective meditation techniques
9. You’re really bad with money
You’ve spent your life grinding and you feel like you’re entitled to the finer things in life.
When you’re out with friends, you wonder why you’re going to the same shabby restaurant or why they never seem to take you on your invitations to go to Monaco or Paris in favor of a southeast Asia backpacking trip.
To you this is just about spending the money you rightfully earned, but to them it might be something else entirely.
You might be acting like a snob and looking down on their preference when that’s all they can afford.
Without knowing it, you might be making people feel bad for something they have no immediate control over.
The same can be said about being an absolute cheapskate. No one wants to be with someone who’s always looking for the cheapest bargain.
When friends want to shell out a couple of dollars for a better restaurant experience or a better trip, you might be the only person holding everyone back.
How to change for the better: Either be prepared to meet people halfway or just avoid trips altogether.
Instead of being the one bummer that changes everyone’s plans, you can join activities you know you can enjoy, regardless of how you spend your money.
10. No one really knows you
Meeting other people can be nerve-wracking. You’re not always within your comfort zone and you feel compelled to be someone you’re not just to get more people to like you.
More often than not, we succumb to the urge to say the “right” things or act a certain way even if that’s not who we are.
The laughter, the nods, the continued interest is enough validation to keep pretending to be someone you’re not. As assuring as this is, the truth is people often see through these facades.
Think back to the times you talked to someone and saw right through their pretend interest.
Despite saying the right things, you didn’t feel connected to this person at all because you saw right through their pretense.
It doesn’t matter how positive you act. This insincerity can make people cautious about you because they’re unsure of what’s lurking underneath.
How to change for the better: Just be yourself. Speak openly but tactfully and don’t be so keen on pleasing everyone.
The more you try to be a people pleaser, the more you’ll alienate people who actually want to have a conversation going with you.
Be pleasant but be honest. Just be yourself around people.
Recommended reading: How to be yourself: 16 no bullsh*t steps
11. You can’t be counted on
People are drawn to things they can predict — that’s just a natural trajectory of our evolution.
Stable things make us feel safe and secure, while constant guesswork makes us question the sustainability of things. The same applies to friendships and relationships.
If you’re the kind of person who’s happy one minute and completely angry the next, you’re throwing people off by showing them that interacting with you is a slippery slope.
No one wants to guess your feelings all the time; people aren’t mind readers.
If you’re particularly wishy-washy with your words and making promises you can’t keep, people will soon realize that they can’t count on you.
This manifests into every single one of your interactions: can they count on you to show up on time?
Can they count on you to keep your word? Can they count on you to be a good friend?
If the answer is no, you’ll soon find your friends trying to fill their social cup somewhere more predictable and reliable.
How to change for the better: Learn the value of stability. Become a woman/man of your word and don’t leave people hanging.
When you say something, actually do it, instead of making empty promises.
Show people that they can count on you to be there when you need them, and that means controlling your own emotions and not being swayed by the smallest triggers in life.
12. You never take accountability
No one likes being the black sheep of the group.
Rather than face the music, it’s so much easier to set your sights elsewhere and blame other people for not liking you rather than accepting the fact that there are things about you that need changing.
Do you wake up every day with a victim narrative? Do you tell yourself it’s other people’s fault why you act a certain way? Do you chuck every bad choice to past relationships or childhood mishaps?
If so, you’re missing an opportunity to become a better person by always finding a scapegoat.
While it probably feels good and validating for your self-confidence, it’s not helping your relationships with other people.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to take charge of your relationships.
Until you learn how to accept your shortcomings and understand where you go wrong with people, you’ll get stuck in the same loop where you lose friendships and never really understand why that’s happening.
How to change for the better: Accept the fact that you may not be the perfect angel you think you are.
If people around you tend to avoid you, consider the fact that you may be the common factor in all of your failed relationships.
At some point you have to accept the fact that there might be something wrong with you, and that it’s time to finally do something about it.
13. You have an obsession with control
Some people are natural leaders. Others are just naturally bossy. You probably see yourself as the leader of the pack and feel the responsibility to steer everyone in the right direction.
Sure, some of them have called you bossy, but deep down you know you just know you’re doing what’s best for everyone.
You need to quit trying to be the boss of everyone. They are not on this earth to do your bidding.
According to Berit Brogaard D.M.Sci., Ph.D, “control is a big problem in relationships…they don’t respect you and the way you are.”
Your control issues may stem from your own lack of control about your own life.
It’s not easy to admit it, but once you realize that you are your own worst enemy, you’ll start to come around and focus on your own shortcomings instead of pointing out everyone else’s.
The problem with bossy people is that they don’t always see it as a problem. But this obsession to vie for control boils down to insecurity than altruism.
You crave control because you’re afraid of what your friends will do without you.
You want to dictate your relationships because you worry they won’t unfold the way you do without actively influencing them.
So instead of letting things be as they are, you risk suffocating people just to get the results you want for yourself.
How to change for the better: Give people the benefit of the doubt. Instead of trying to take control of the situation, let nature run its course and see how people react on their own.
Learn to trust others.
Dr. Rob Yeung, a performance psychologist and author of How To Stand Out: Proven Tactics for Getting Ahead, says that “one of the reasons humans came to dominate the planet is that we evolved to cooperate with each other, which means being able to trust other people.”
Therefore, habits that “promote aggression, status, or dominance over other people tend to erode trust.”
Try to understand the underlying reason for your insecurity — are you afraid your friends will leave you unless you impose on them?
Have you had bad experiences in the past?
Working on these will eliminate your obsessive impulses altogether.
14. You’re incredibly needy
There’s nothing wrong with being a little emotionally dependent on your friends; we can’t always be expected to be perfect people, and we need reassurance every now and then that other people care for and value us.
But there’s a fine line between needing emotional support and being much needier than anyone can handle.
You need to stop needing everyone to come to your rescue. You’ll need to lay off the constant phone calls and text messages.
If you walk around believing that everyone is going to abandon you, you won’t be surprised when that happens.
Instead, be there for people who need you. Let go of what you think is going to happen and focus on what is happening.
While real friends should have no problem supporting you and your feelings when things get tough, you also can’t expect people to act as your personal emotional sponges, always in need of validation and reassurance.
How to change for the better: Reevaluate the way you see your friends. They’re not simply there to validate and reaffirm you whenever you need it.
No matter how close you may be with them, you need to remember that they’re human as well, and they have their own limits for how much emotional weight they can bear from you.
Overburdening another person with your emotional baggage is the easiest way to exhaust them, especially if it feels like you’re never making any true progress.
15. You’re a show-off
Nobody likes a showoff, and if you are trying to impress people with your money, cars, home, or knowledge, you can stop right now.
People, more than ever, just want to feel connected to one another.
When you are throwing all of your achievements at them, they don’t get to know the real you and it just pushes people away.
Plus, it’s pretty annoying to listen to someone talk about themselves and their stuff all the time.
How to change for the better: Just let people get to know the real you and be humble. You’ll be doing yourself a favor.
Research has suggested that humility offers several positive qualities, including being more helpful, according to Wade C. Rowatt, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences:
“The research indicates that humility is a positive quality with potential benefits…While several factors influence whether people will volunteer to help a fellow human in need, it appears that humble people, on average, are more helpful than individuals who are egotistical or conceited.”
People who are enjoyable to be around are humble, not arrogant.
It’s healthy to be confident, but there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. The difference is humility.
16. Stop tearing others down
You need to stop putting other people down. You might not even realize you are doing this, but if you are someone who likes to criticize others or gossip about others, then quit it.
A piece in Bolde by emotional intelligence author Dr. Travis Bradberry noted that gossiping about others is a certain way to make you appear as a negative person.
It also means people won’t trust you with sensitive or personal information. Who wants to be someone like that?
How to change for the better: Don’t assume anything. Don’t think you know better than anyone. Don’t make choices for people.
Give people room and hold space for them while they figure things out and you’ll have more and better friends in the long run.
17. You don’t take responsibility for your actions
If someone doesn’t like you, it’s always their fault. You’re never to blame.
You never take a step back and reflect on your own behavior.
You’re perfect, you’re rational, and you know what’s best.
But what you’re really doing here is avoiding taking responsibility for your own actions.
After all, nothing is your fault, right?
How to change for the better: I know that no one chooses not to be liked. But if people don’t like you, are you going to take responsibility for turning this around?
I think taking responsibility is the most powerful attribute we can possess in life.
Because the reality is that YOU are ultimately responsible for everything that happens in your life, including for your happiness and unhappiness, successes and failures, and for being a likeable person.
I want to briefly share with you how taking responsibility has transformed my own life, including the relationships I have with the people I care about.
Did you know that 6 years ago I was anxious, miserable and working every day in a warehouse?
I was stuck in a hopeless cycle and had no idea how to get out of it.
My solution was to stamp out my victim mentality and take personal responsibility for everything in my life. I wrote about my journey here.
Fast forward to today and my website Hack Spirit is helping millions of people make radical shifts in their own lives. We’ve become one of the world’s biggest websites on mindfulness and practical psychology.
This isn’t about bragging, but to show how powerful taking responsibility can be…
… Because you too can transform your own life by taking complete ownership of it.
To help you do this, I’ve collaborated with my brother Justin Brown to create an online personal responsibility workshop. We give you a unique framework for finding your best self and achieving powerful things.
It’s quickly become Ideapod’s most popular workshop. Check it out here.
If you want to seize control of your life, like I did 6 years ago, then this is the online resource you need.
18. Get down off your soapbox
If you want to get people to like you again, you need to stop preaching.
Know-it-alls suffer from something called “belief superiority” and it’s tough to get along with someone who thinks they’re better than you.
People who look down on other people don’t end up being looked up to. They end up being disliked because people never feel good when they’re in their presence.
How to change for the better: You don’t know everything and everything you do know only applies to your experiences so don’t try to get everyone’s life to fit into your version of it.
Nobody likes a know-it-all. Get off the soapbox.
19. You only talk about yourself
You don’t care about the feelings and opinions of others. Their joys are not important. They are only a reminder of your own (obviously better) achievements.
You only talk about yourself in conversations with others. Around you, people feel alone. You are so “into” yourself that there is no interpersonal connection at all.
How to change for the better: If you are trying to be more palatable to the people around you, make sure you are opening yourself up to them and not making everything about you.
Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy says it’s important to demonstrate warmth first and then competence, especially in business settings.
“From an evolutionary perspective,” Cuddy writes in her book Presence, “it is more crucial to our survival to know whether a person deserves our trust.”
Getting to know other people is an important part of their impressions of you. Properly listening to others helps build rapport and trust.
It seems like a backward approach, but if you’d ever walked away from someone feeling like they really listened to you and you really like them, despite not knowing anything about them really, you’ll know what we are talking about.
20. Show others you are reliable.
You don’t stick to your word. When you say you’re going to do something, people don’t believe it.
They’ve become used to not doing what you say you’ll do. You’re flakey and people just don’t see you as trustworthy because you never live up to your word.
How to change for the better: When it comes down to it, people like those they can trust. If you have let the balls drop more than once, it’s going to be difficult to show people that you are serious and can be trusted.
Jeff Haden in INC says it best:
“Being moody, short-tempered or gloomy are the opposite of likable. People who are known for their unpredictable and fluctuating moods aren’t making anyone’s “most lovable” list.”
You need to get up and show people that you mean business. If you say something, mean it. If you say you will do something, do it.
21. You’re overreactive
Nobody likes it when your drama seeps into their lives.
If you want people to like you, check your crazy life at the door when you go to a party or work event.
Sure, everyone has problems, but not everyone has to let them out of the bag like yesterday’s laundry.
This is especially the case if you’re dealing with someone who is overreacting. According to clinical psychologist Dr. Albert J. Bernstein, being overreactive to someone else who is also overreactive can lead to more problems:
“…the basic idea is that in many situations, you’re reacting with instincts programmed into your dinosaur brain, rather than thinking through a situation. If you’re in your dinosaur brain, you’re going to play out a 6 million-year-old program, and nothing good is going to happen. In that case, the dinosaur brain of the other person is going to understand that they are being attacked, and then you’re responding with fighting back or running away, and either one is going to escalate the situation into what I like to call the “Godzilla meets Rodan” effect. There’s a lot of screaming and yelling, and buildings fall down, but not much is accomplished.”
How to change for the better: People like it when you are calm and collected. Don’t be a hot mess. Try not to bring stress into people’s lives.
22. You’re outspoken about sensitive topics
You’re very forthright in your beliefs about politics, religion, and other sensitive topics. You’re not mindful of how it may impact other people.
And furthermore, when you get into a discussion about these topics, you don’t listen.
There is literally no way for you to change your mind or have a productive discussion with someone who disagrees with you.
How to change for the better: Now we’re not saying that you shouldn’t be honest about your views. It’s important to express yourself.
In fact, according to Peter Bregman in Psychology Today:
“Here’s the crazy thing: honesty is much more compelling, powerful, and effective than the alternative. People want the truth. They are willing to accept it far more often than we think. And they respect other people and organizations for speaking it.”
If your truth is about religion or politics, tread with caution. Speak your truth but listen to others. Have an open mind. They’re also a rational being like you, even if you find it hard to believe.
There are ways to be you and be friends with people who have different viewpoints than you do; it’s about respect, allowing space, and hearing others out.
23. You never put your phone done
As mentioned above, listening is important if you want to be liked.
But how can you know if someone likes you if you never look up from your phone to check in on the status of the conversation you are supposed to be having?
Drop the phone and pick up your interest in the person sitting across the table from you.
Nothing on your phone is more important than that person.
How to change for the better: The main issue here might be that you find the people around as boring, and your phone is more interesting.
Clinical psychologist Linda Blair says that “usually the basis of making a friend is a shared experience.”
Therefore, find your people. This is not a new idea, but it is one that is growing with conviction.
If you find that it’s hard for you to make friends or break into circles, it might be because you are hanging out with the wrong crowd.
Find people who are aligned with your thoughts and beliefs and surround yourself with them. It’s easy to like people who are like us.
24. You rarely meet new people
Perhaps you rarely meet new people. So when you do meet new people, you don’t know how to behave. You’re’ either too excited, too needy or too nervous to make an impression.
How to change for the better:
Meet new people! If all else fails and you feel like you are just not living up to your own expectations related to your relationship building, get out and meet some new people.
The more interaction and experience you have talking to others, the better you will be at it.
It’s a practice that can take a lifetime to develop, so don’t get discouraged, and don’t hide at home because you don’t know what might happen.
The only way to be likable is to put yourself out there for more people to like!
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