16 Signs Someone Doesn’t Want to Be Your Friend

Here are the signs that someone does not want to be your friend, according to psychologists, life coaches, relationship experts, and more.

Lee Keyes, Ph.D.

Lee Keyes

Licensed Psychologist and Consultant, Keyes and Polychronis Consulting, LLC

1. They have no respect for your boundaries

Healthy people are able to establish and maintain boundaries, or limits for their own and other’s conduct. A healthy person who wants to be a friend is not threatened or repulsed by this process. They will accommodate reasonable boundaries and also present or respond with their own.

This is the “give and take” that we’ve all heard so much about.

Alternatively, someone may ignore, recoil, go silent, distance themselves, object to, or refuse to accommodate these needs. That person is likely not interested in true friendship and, further, may not be capable of it.

Narcissists and psychopaths, for example, fall into this latter group; it is not possible for them to gratify, or make room for, others.

Related: Narcissist Versus Sociopath Versus Psychopath: What’s the Difference?

Similarly, healthy people are able to articulate, verbally and in behavior or decision-making, a reasonable and an active pursuit of that which makes them happy. This is done calmly but directly and firmly. When done well, it is not at all rude or impolite, as many people have wrongly been taught.

Those who are not willing or capable of being a good friend will have issues with this, just as described above. Reactions to healthy boundaries and assertiveness may be signs of trust or warning signs for future conflict.

Everyone has bad days or makes mistakes, so give everyone two strikes before moving on (barring any particularly egregious behavior). But if you have communicated your preferences and the person still rejects or refuses to respond, take steps to disinvest and move on to other relationships.

Your time represents an important boundary; not everyone can claim absolute access to it. So don’t waste time debating over boundaries you have the complete authority to establish.

Related: 20+ Signs Your Friend Doesn’t Respect You

Linda Mueller

Linda Mueller

Certified Life Coach | Founder, The Expat Partner Coach, LLC

2. If it’s not mutual, it’s not friendship

By definition, a friendship requires a bond based on mutual (platonic) affection. If you have some amount of affection for someone, you show this by treating them well and it is fair to expect similar treatment in return. Both of you should be putting time and effort into building and maintaining the relationship even if the effort is not equal.

Here are some signs that your relationship is not mutual and the other person probably doesn’t really want to be your friend:

3. They only reach out when they want or need something

The person is always busy when you reach out first. Perhaps you start to notice that he or she only includes you in outings when they need a ride. Maybe they only invite you to visit when they need you to help with a project there.

4. They show a lack of genuine interest

When you are together, your friend pays more attention to their phone than to you. He or she doesn’t show interest when you speak and doesn’t ask you about your life.

5. You stop hearing from the person altogether

Does your friend not respond to texts and calls or take an abnormally long time to do so? If so, the person probably doesn’t want to be your friend.

The friend always says she’s too busy to go out with you, but then you hear from someone else or see on social media that they were out at the same time with other people.

If this sort of thing happens on occasion, it’s probably just a misstep. If the behavior becomes consistent or you sense it’s intentional, you will have to decide if you want to address it with the friend.

Perhaps there is something going on in his or her life that is causing the behavior or perhaps there’s a misunderstanding that needs to be cleared up. If not, you will have to decide if you want to set boundaries around the relationship or to step away from it to protect yourself.

A one-sided relationship can be draining and can also damage your self-esteem. Why would you want to be friends with someone who doesn’t want to be friends with you?

It may hurt initially, but you will be better off in the long run if you surround yourself with people who reciprocate your friendship.

Stephania Cruz

Stephania Cruz

Relationship Expert, Dating Pilot

It is never pleasant to find out that someone doesn’t want to be your friend, especially if you have put the effort in trying to form a friendship. However, the sooner that you become aware the better, as your efforts no longer have to go into a friendship that is not meant to be.

Some of the signs that indicate a person is not interested in forming a friendship are:

6. They exclude you from activities or events they put together

This is even more apparent when the two of you share mutual friends that were invited and you didn’t receive an invitation.

7. They keep their conversations brief anytime you try to exchange conversations

They do not want to get to know you nor do they care for you to get to know them, and will pass on the opportunities to do so.

8. They try to dodge you every time they see you

If the two of you cross paths in public, they will try their best to be brief in any conversation being exchanged and make an excuse to leave.

9. They don’t accept your invitations nor do they care to reschedule

10. They do not respond to your contact attempts

If you call them, they do not answer their phone. If you text them, they do not reply to your messages. If they do reply it is a very brief response and they do not want to carry on the conversation.

They don’t contact you in any way. You typically do the calling, texting, etc.

Phoenix Knor’malle

Phoenix Knor'malle

Psychic Advisor, Mystic Sense

There are many signs to watch for when it comes to any relationship. Sometimes things degrade slowly and subtly, while other times the signs are more obvious. It might be tempting to ‘turn a blind eye’ towards the red flags, but this is not advisable.

11. They are trying to ghost you

Friendship is a two-way street, so if you feel like you are putting in more than your share of effort to make a connection, you might not actually have a true friend.

Friends are naturally inquisitive and want to know what you’re up to. They often ask questions about your life, initiate conversations, and occasionally want to spend time together.

If you start more than two-thirds of the conversations you have with your friend, this could be a sign that they don’t value the relationship.

Notice how your friend responds to questions you ask them.

  • Are the responses only one or two words?
  • Does your friend give a vague answer, especially to a specific question?

These are all indications that your friend does not want to maintain the friendship.

Ghosting has become commonplace in recent years, leaving many people baffled when their friend simply vanishes into thin air, never to be heard from again. What causes ghosting, and can it be avoided? Heeding the signs above may give you some warning of a severing relationship.

Notice how long it takes your friend to respond to your messages. Do you feel like you’re ‘blowing up their phone’, even if you space out each message by several hours? This is a clear sign that the person is trying to ghost you.

There are many ways in which friendships dissolve and each situation is unique unto itself. While there is no recipe for exactly how or why a friendship might end, these signs can be helpful guideposts that have the potential to avert drama.

Michelle Devani

Michelle Devani

Founder, lovedevani

We can categorize people around us as our friends, colleagues, or acquaintances, and sometimes it is easy to know if someone wants to be part of our circle. While on the other hand, it is somewhat hard to recognize when people don’t want to be our friend.

Related: What’s the Difference Between a Friend and an Acquaintance?

As a relationship expert, let me share with you the signs to watch out for:

12. They are not interested in anything that you say or anything about you

On your first meeting, these are the people who are not interested in anything that you say or anything about you. Sometimes they just smile and nod and in a blink of an eye, it seems that they haven’t seen you at all.

13. They never make an effort to answer back

Sometimes you keep on reaching out to them but they never answered back, or even made an effort to reply to you. Let this be a sign that they don’t want anything to do with you, so better accept the fact and let them go.

And also, these are people who sometimes treat you initially as a friend but when they feel like you aren’t connected they will find a way to stay away from your path.

14. They will cancel their attendance at a group party knowing that you will be there

Some situations like they will cancel their attendance at a group party knowing that you will be there, or as simple as deleting you on Facebook or group chat so they will not hear from you ever again.

Alex Thompson

Alex Thompson

Director, Festoon House

Here are a few signs that will tell you whether you should pursue your friendship with someone or not:

15. They don’t congratulate you on your wins

If your ‘friend’ constantly makes negative remarks about your achievements and accomplishments, they see you as competition. Friends are happy for you and they would say something nice when you’re promoted or finally saved up for your European trip.

On the other hand, people who don’t want to be your friend may shut you down or give a snide comment.

16. They always make negative comments about you in front of others

A person is not your friend if he’s always insulting you or making negative comments about you especially in front of other people. If they say things like “Hey, your breakouts are really popping today.” or “Why on earth are you wearing that?” they’re trying to embarrass you to make themselves feel more superior.

While friends do give honest comments about your appearance and they can be sarcastic sometimes, they should also be able to lift you up and celebrate you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I misinterpret these signs?

Yes, it is possible to misinterpret signs that someone doesn’t want to be your friend. Communication can be complex, and people may behave differently for various reasons, such as stress, personal issues, or cultural differences. To avoid misinterpretations, try to consider the context and seek clarification through open and honest conversations.

What makes someone not want to be my friend?

Personal values and interests: People tend to befriend those who share similar values, interests, and hobbies. If you and the other person have starkly different views or interests, it can make it difficult for a friendship to blossom.

Communication style: Effective communication is key to building strong relationships. It may be off-putting to potential friends if you come across as too aggressive, passive, or uninterested in conversations.

Incompatible personalities: We all have our unique personalities, and sometimes, certain traits can clash with others. For example, an introvert might find it challenging to be friends with someone extremely extroverted and vice versa.

Trustworthiness and reliability: Being dependable and honest are essential qualities in a friend. If you have a history of being untrustworthy or unreliable, others may hesitate to form close friendships with you.

Negative attitude or behavior: People are generally drawn to positivity and kindness. Frequently exhibiting a negative attitude, complaining, or gossiping can make others less inclined to be your friend.

Should I approach someone who I think doesn’t want to be my friend?

If you feel there’s a chance for a genuine connection, it can be worth approaching the person and trying to get to know them better. 

However, it’s important to respect their boundaries and feelings. If they consistently show signs of disinterest or discomfort, it may be best to give them space and focus on building relationships with those who share mutual interests and values.

Is it always my fault if someone doesn’t want to be my friend?

No, it’s not always your fault if someone doesn’t want to be your friend. People have their own preferences, experiences, and emotional states that influence their decisions. 

Not everyone will become your friend, and that’s okay. Focus on building positive relationships with those who genuinely appreciate and value your presence.

Can I do anything to change someone’s mind if they don’t want to be my friend?

While it’s possible to change someone’s mind, it’s not always guaranteed. The best approach is to be genuine, kind, and respectful. Show interest in their life, listen to them, and support them when needed. 

However, it’s crucial to understand that people have the right to choose their friends, and sometimes it’s better to accept their decision and move on.

Can I still be friendly with someone who doesn’t want to be my friend?

Yes! Just because someone doesn’t want a close friendship with you doesn’t mean you can’t maintain a friendly, cordial relationship. Treat them with respect, be polite, and engage in small talk when appropriate. This way, you can maintain a positive atmosphere and potentially open the door for a deeper connection in the future.

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