Why Do People Ignore Me? (9 Potential Reasons According to Experts)

Are you in a situation where you find yourself asking, “why do people ignore me?

We asked experts to explore the possible reasons.

Catherine “Katie” Ness, MA, LCPC

Catherine Ness

Psychotherapist | Owner & Clinical Director, Affective Counseling

Internalized thought patterns can be the reason why people ignore you

Feeling like you are being ignored can lead to an internalized belief that you are less valuable than others or that you have some social deficit that makes you invisible. This experience can lead to feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, frustration and low self-esteem.

It is these types of internalized thought patterns (low self-esteem, self-doubt) that can be the reason why people ignore you.

When in a group situation (professional, social, academic), there are no specific rules about everyone getting equal speaking time. Individuals who are natural extroverts tend to monopolize these types of conversations because they are energized by being in a social situation.

Being younger (but not too young) having a smaller stature and being female can also negatively influence how much attention you get.

To regain people’s attention, you need to present yourself as confident as if you are an expert on whatever you are saying (even if you are not).

To do this, you need to be aware of:

  • your audience
  • your verbal tone
  • your body language

Make sure you are making eye-contact with at least one person in the group (it’s helpful if this is the person who seems confident within the group).

Don’t stand outside of the group and try to talk into the group. Make sure you are physically part of the group. Start on topic with whatever the group is already talking about and once you have their attention you can subtly change the topic if needed. Knowing your audience means that you are aware of the topic that will hold other’s interests.

Related: Why is Self Esteem Important?

Janice Holly Booth

Janice Holly

CEO & Founder, Teambuilding K.I.T.

When you can’t manage your own behavior people will eventually ignore you

Why do people ignore you? That’s a great question. The answer obviously has a lot to do with the particulars of the situation, but there is one thing I’ve noticed in three decades of managing people.

When you can’t manage your own behavior – i.e., know what behavior is right for the situation – over time people will tune you out.

I’ve broken it down into four distinct behavioral types:

The Warrior

Aggressive, assertive, get things done, doesn’t waste time chit-chatting, interrupts, wants to be right all the time.

The Visionary

Full of great ideas hate the execution and details of bringing an idea to life. Can be flighty and easily distracted. Wants you to pay attention to them.

The Mentor

Friendly, outgoing, talkative, have a hard time wrapping up conversations (or meetings), doesn’t usually take a strong position on matters.

The Thinker

Deliberate, studious, quiet, reserved. Thinkers like to have a lot of information/data before making a decision or rendering an opinion.

All four types have great attributes, but when they fail to adjust their behavior to match the situation, people around them can get weary.

For example, Warriors can be seen as bullying or coming on too strong all the time. Visionaries can be seen as too scattered to trust. Mentors are often thought of as non-essential in a situation where something has to be done now, and people mistakenly judge the Thinkers as unwilling to contribute ideas when in fact, Thinkers are churning everything around in their heads. Hence, they are ignored.

The key here is for people to understand that it’s important to adjust their style to respond appropriately to the situation.

Thinkers have to learn to speak up. Mentors have to learn to take a hard line sometimes. Warriors need to be willing to wait their turn. And Visionaries need to tether themselves to earth now and then.

This fluidity is especially important at work, where you’ll never advance if you’re being ignored. It also helps in private life, too, if you feel like no-one’s “hearing” you.

Bottom line is that if you feel you’re being ignored, it’s probably because others don’t see the value you bring. The good news is you can change that! It takes some reflection and introspection, and maybe even some coaching, but it’s entirely within your power to go from being ignored to being noticed.

Alexa Pena, LCSW

Alexa Pena

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

You are not asking for what you need and those needs are not being met

We can feel ignored or minimized when we don’t feel our needs are being met in the way we want.

Check in with yourself: Have you expressed what you want? Or are you expecting others to just know what you want or need?

Being assertive can be scary or feel like you’re being mean or aggressive, but the alternative is not asking for what you need and those needs not being met. This is usually when people feel ignored or unseen.

What comes up for you when you have to advocate for yourself? Do you feel you have the right to ask for what you need?

Negative self-talk can often be a barrier to taking that step in asking for what we need clearly, concisely, and assertively.

Nashima Harvey, Ed.M.


Founder, THE LITTLE GREEN HOUSE Educational Services, LLC and Girls of Decision Youth Empowerment | Author | Presenter | Life Coach

As an educator for almost 20 years, I have worked with all kinds of people, from students as young as 3 years old to students 80 years young. So I am in a unique position to watch the dynamics of how people relate to one another.

The people who seemed to be ignored the most are those who are usually the ones who are not loud

From my experience with watching people interact with one another on a daily basis, the people who seemed to be ignored the most are those who are usually the ones who are not loud or are just trying to exist without drawing any extra attention to themselves by going above or beyond what they are supposed to do. These people tend to be overlooked by their peers and by people in positions of authority.

Sadly, they are usually the people we label as people who do what they are supposed to do and follow the crowd. Oddly in this day and time, doing what is expected or following a traditional routine usually garners very little attention because you can predict the outcome.

As an educator, I often have to make a conscious effort to honor and highlight these students because they can often be ignored or overlooked by people in position and therefore the focus and attention goes toward the people who are making themselves known or stand out.

Thomas R. Harris

Thomas R. Harris

Author | Owner, The Exceptional Skills

It’s the way you talk

When you talk, if you speak in a monotone voice, speak too softly, or slur your words a lot, others may ignore you. If your body language lacks confidence and you always stare at your feet, they may ignore you.

Body language is important. Face the person and look at them when talking with them. Make sure you vary your voice when you speak and speak loud enough where they can hear you.

If you struggle with the way you speak or with confidence, getting help or joining a public speaking class could help.

You don’t take the time to listen to others

If you don’t take time to listen to others, they aren’t going to listen to you. If you constantly interrupt others and try to hog the conversation, people will stop wanting to talk to you.

Instead, take the time to listen to others. Ask questions. Dig deeper into their stories. Then, once they feel heard, they will usually be much more willing and wanting to listen to you.

Adina Mahalli, MSW

Adina Mahali

Certified Mental Health Expert | Family Care Professional

A negative person who always has something to complain about

People avoid negativity like the plague. If you’re a negative person who always has something to complain about, it could be the reason why people ignore you. Being around negative people can have an effect on your own well-being which is why it’s important to cut toxic people out of your life.

If you find yourself being ignored, give yourself a quick reality check to make sure you’re not the source of toxicity.

Related: How to Get Rid of Negative Thoughts?

It could be a passive-aggressive way to hurt you

Ignoring somebody is a psychological game that people play to gain power or prove a point. Communication is a fundamental aspect of any relationship and giving someone the ‘silent treatment’ is a way to hurt them.

If you think that you’re being ignored through no fault of your own, it could be somebody’s passive-aggressive way to hurt you.

Michelle Melendez

Michelle Melendez

Fitness Expert | Founder, Women Being Fit

You may not realize it but you are emotionally addicted to the feelings you have every day and those feelings have frequencies that can be felt by others.

This means if every day you feel insecure, not good enough and unlovable, those are feelings are conditioned in the over 70-trillion cells of your body and your body runs your life from them.

When you walk in a room and the frequency of your emotions is “I don’t feel important, or good enough,” the people around you will unconsciously feel that from you and without knowing why won’t want to interact with you. They will be repelled and gravitate to others who have emotional frequencies of “I’m important, loved, and good enough“.

This is why charismatic people get so much attention. It’s not that they are better than you. It’s that their body has emotional frequencies that are at a higher vibration and moving closer to the feeling of love than yours.

Your emotional frequency was created from a younger part of you that went through a challenging time and unconsciously created patterns that you are still living with today.

The first thing to do is give the younger part of you that created these patterns compassion. That younger part of you didn’t know what they were doing. They were only trying to survive the situation and they did so congratulations!

This next part is going to be different and give it a try. Fully embrace the feelings you hold in your body that you don’t like. For example, if you feel insecure, give that feeling full permission to be in your body.

Put your hand on your heart and feel the insecurity. Acknowledge why you are insecure. Let it know you welcome it in your body. That feeling of insecurity is not going anywhere no matter how much you don’t like it. It’s only when you fully embrace it as part of you and let it be okay that it’s there that it starts to change.

When you fully accept the feeling on insecurity there will be an automatic breath that you take that relaxes your body. You will then feel space between your heart and the emotion and BINGO! You have now shifted the emotion and start to explore what your life would be like if you were confident.

Your emotions are not real. You can’t give them to someone. You can’t smell them or taste them or touch them. They are only memorized frequencies in your body.

You are putting out a frequency that you’re not good enough

If people are ignoring you, that tells you that you are putting out a frequency that you’re not good enough. It’s not what people think of you, it’s what you think of yourself because of past experiences. People are only a mirror showing you how you feel about yourself.

Your job is to be more loving toward the person who deserves it most…YOU!

“You more than anyone in the entire Universe deserve your love and affection.” –Buddha

Fully accept your feelings, without making them wrong and start to appreciate and accept who you are in the world. When you do that you’ll start to emanate a new emotional frequency of self-love and people will be able to see you.

You’re on an emotional journey of expansion toward self-love and forgiveness of yourself and others. Appreciate and have compassion for your younger parts. They went through a lot.

When you start loving yourself more not only will you have more friends but you’ll also help give the world what it really needs right now, which is peace.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Tell if Someone Is Really Ignoring Me?

To determine if someone is really ignoring you, there are a few signs to look out for:

• Lack of response: If someone is ignoring you, they likely won’t respond to your messages, calls, or attempts to initiate contact.

• Change in behavior: If someone who used to interact with you frequently suddenly becomes distant and doesn’t respond to your attempts to connect, it could be a sign they are ignoring you.

• Third-party confirmation: If you have mutual friends, you could ask if they’ve noticed any changes in the person’s behavior towards you.

• Direct confrontation: If you’re feeling particularly unsure, the most straightforward approach would be to directly ask the person if they are ignoring you. This could help clear up any misunderstandings or confusion.

It’s important to remember that people may ignore others for various reasons, including personal issues, busy schedules, or simply not having anything to say. Before assuming that someone is ignoring you, try to consider other possible explanations for their behavior.

Why Do I Feel Like No One Listens to Me?

Reasons why you might feel like no one is listening to you:

• Communication Styles: People have different communication styles and preferences, and sometimes these styles might clash. For example, if you are more of a visual communicator, but the person you are speaking with is an auditory communicator, you may feel like they are not listening to you.

• Assertiveness: If you are not assertive enough, others might not take you seriously, and you may feel ignored. To be assertive, it’s paramount to communicate your needs and opinions in a confident and clear manner.

• Insecurity: If you feel insecure about your ideas, opinions, or abilities, you may be less likely to speak up and be heard. This can lead to a feeling of being ignored.

• Expectations: If you have expectations of how people should listen to you, these expectations may not always be met. It’s important to have realistic expectations and to understand that not everyone will listen to you similarly.

What to Do When People Ignore You?

When people ignore you, it can be hurtful and make you feel unvalued. Here are some steps you can take to handle the situation:

• Reflect on the situation: Before reacting, take a moment to reflect on why the people are ignoring you. Is it because of something you did, or is it simply a misunderstanding?

• Communicate: Try to initiate a conversation with the people who are ignoring you. Express how their behavior is making you feel and ask for an explanation. Communication can help resolve misunderstandings and clear up any confusion.

• Be assertive: If you feel you’re being ignored due to someone’s misperception or behavior, be assertive in expressing your needs and boundaries. Let them know that their behavior is unacceptable and that you deserve to be treated with respect.

• Focus on your own worth: Don’t let someone else’s behavior define your worth. Instead, focus on your own strengths, values, and the things that make you unique.

• Surround yourself with positive people: Surrounding yourself with people who support and value you can help boost your self-esteem and make you feel better. Seek positive and supportive relationships and spend time with people who make you feel appreciated and valued.

• Seek professional help: If the situation impacts your mental health, consider seeking professional help. A therapist can provide coping strategies and support as you navigate through this difficult time.

Remember, you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. Don’t let someone else’s behavior control how you feel about yourself. Take care of yourself and focus on building positive and supportive relationships.

How Do I Stop Being Ignored by People?

Here are some steps you can follow to stop being ignored by people:

• Improve Communication Skills:
Make eye contact.
Speak clearly and concisely.
Be an active listener.
Avoid negative body language.
Show genuine interest in others.

• Be Confident:
Stand tall and be assertive.
Speak with conviction.
Avoid negative self-talk.

• Show Empathy:
Put yourself in others’ shoes.
Listen attentively to what they have to say.
Acknowledge their feelings and respond accordingly.

• Network and Build Relationships:
Attend social events and join clubs/teams.
Volunteer and get involved in your community.
Connect with people online and in person.
Be helpful and supportive of others.

• Be Authentic and Unique:
Be yourself, and don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.
Embrace your quirks and passions.
Find your own voice and use it.

Building strong relationships and being heard by others takes time and effort. But with the right approach and mindset, you can work towards being less ignored and more connected with those around you.

Is Ignoring Someone a Form of Bullying?

Ignoring someone can be a form of bullying, depending on the context and the intention behind the behavior. Bullying is a repeated and intentional behavior intended to harm, intimidate, or control another person. 

Ignoring someone can fall into this definition if it is done with the intent to harm, intimidate, or control the individual being ignored. This behavior can be particularly harmful when done by someone who holds power over the person being ignored.

In some cases, ignoring someone can be a way to exclude them from a group or to make them feel unworthy or insignificant. This can profoundly impact the person being ignored and can lead to feelings of sadness, anger, and low self-esteem.

On the other hand, ignoring someone can also be a neutral behavior that is not intended to harm. For example, people may ignore someone because they are busy or preoccupied with other things. In these cases, ignoring someone is not considered bullying.

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