Have you ever wondered why some people don’t seem to like you? Maybe you’ve tried everything to be likable, but for some reason, people just don’t seem to respond well to you.
You might find yourself asking, “why don’t people like me?” Don’t worry; you’re not alone — this is a problem many people face. But why does it happen? And what can you do about it?
According to experts, here are the reasons why people may not like you and how to deal with it:
Licensed Clinical Social Worker | Psychotherapist
You have many unspoken expectations of others
At times I hear statements from others not being like, and if I dig deeper into the question, I learn that the speaker has many unspoken expectations of others:
- They expect others to read their mind.
- Be perfectly attuned to their non-verbal or passive-aggressive communication.
- Have an agenda that lines up with the speaker’s desires.
You may need to question what you are expecting of others and why — if your answer is because they should know or I would do it for them, you need to dig deeper.
Have you expressed your needs clearly? Do you go out of your way with the hopes of influencing another’s behavior?
People do not respond well when they feel they are being manipulated. If you need something beyond the norm because those needs were not met in childhood, your last relationship, etc., think carefully about those requests.
Nobody can pay the tab for someone that came before them, and it is unfair to expect them to.
You can secure a therapist to explore the unmet childhood needs and patterns you bring to your relationship.
You hold onto relationships that don’t work
Sometimes we hold onto relationships that simply don’t work in the hopes that the other or the relationship will change.
If your needs are not being met, you have two choices:
- Accept the other does not meet the need and find someone else for that need.
- Leave the relationship.
We can cling to relationships with folks that do not appreciate us because the feeling of being unappreciated is familiar.
You do something that you know is upsetting others
There are some people that enjoy agitating or upsetting others and then blame their isolation on others. I often hear statements like “I speak the truth, and they get hurt” or “Nobody will tell me what to do.”
Both statements can be acceptable at times, but they can also be used as a get-out-free card from considering others’ feelings or your impact on others.
One can put down others to express dominance or superiority; if that is your style, you are bound to be isolated. Nobody wants to be a prop for another’s fragile self-esteem.
Certified Life Coach | Mindfulness & Meditation Instructor | Certified Wellness Program Manager, My Internal Weather
How to improve your relationship with other people
Flip the question and ask whether you like yourself
Do you like you?
Yes, this is a scary question to pose to yourself. If you’re constantly worried about displeasing people or that others don’t like you, you may inherently be seeking their approval, also known as people-pleasing.
When we try to please others and want them to like us, we are usually seeking their approval because we don’t like ourselves.
People-pleasing is not a form of love; it is fear masquerading as being overly nice so that others will give us the approval and love we are not giving ourselves.
If you’re willing to look in the mirror and audit what you think about yourself, you have taken a huge step toward improving your own self-esteem. Over time, as you like yourself better, you won’t be counting on others.
Get specific on the stories you’re telling yourself
What stories are you telling yourself about your likability or unlikability?
Improving your own view of yourself starts with getting specific about what you want to like better about yourself:
1. Identify the thought about unlikability. Example: I don’t like myself because I don’t like my weight.
2. Identify how the thought is affecting your behavior. Example: Because I don’t like my weight, I avoid eating out with people and decline invitations to go for lunch with my coworkers. They don’t seem to like me.
What stories do you tell yourself about the people who don’t like you?
They’re probably the same or similar stories you tell yourself about yourself. Allow these questions to deepen your insights into how you can be kinder to yourself and adjust your answers to reflect what needs to improve.
Example: My coworkers don’t seem to like me. I don’t go to lunch with them because I feel self-conscious about my weight. They might think I don’t like them because I always decline their invitations.
Take action to change the story
Referring back to your list, identify an esteem-able action you can take towards mending your relationship with the part of you you dislike.
Example: I will begin saying one kind thing to myself about my body every day and healing my relationship with my body.
Follow through on your esteem-mable action
Tiny steps and actions add up to big changes, but we have to be consistent about them.
Example: Next time they invite me to lunch, I will say, “yes!” Or, I will invite one of them to lunch or for coffee!
By identifying the stories and taking action to change how we view ourselves, we immediately change the thoughts we’re projecting onto others.
We can heal our relationships with ourselves, thereby improving our relationships with others. Talk about a win-win!
Your behavior is sabotaging your leadership influence
We all have blind spots and opportunities to improve our leadership and gain respect. If you sense your team doesn’t like you, start by talking with each member of the team one-on-one.
In Courageous Cultures, I share a story of a well-intentioned manager who was coming across as a bully. Thankfully, one of his team members had the guts to confront him. What he did next made all the difference.
He asked others about their perceptions, and as it turned out, his reputation was consistent. He learned to change his tone of voice, ask more questions, and enter the room more gently.
Those slight modifications to his behavior, coupled with the fact that he was asking for feedback with a real intent to listen, made all the difference. He gained the respect of his team.
Our leadership development programs often encourage managers to complete a Do It Yourself 360 (Listening Tour) to gather this feedback. Identify one or two areas where you really want feedback, go out and ask people a few questions, and summarize the themes.
Managers tell us that this simple process is a great way to get candid feedback to improve their leadership. It also reinforces that they are open to change, so it lays the groundwork for psychological safety and helps them gain respect. They are easier to approach the next time.
They underestimate the value you bring
There was one time in my career when I was absolutely certain that my team didn’t like me. I had been promoted to lead a 2200-person retail sales team at Verizon. The problem was I had zero sales experience.
Thirteen out of fourteen of my direct reports were men. And fourteen out of fourteen had been in retail sales for their entire careers.
The Associate Director of Operations on the team, “Greg” was an absolute rock star and was the obvious successor for that role. No one on the team could believe that this “HR chick” had been “given” this job. “It was probably a diversity move.”
But here’s the long story short. I showed up in the stores on Sundays (and other times, no one wanted to be at work) and rolled up my sleeves to really get to know the team and their approach.
I asked lots of questions and listened. And then, I showed up with the confidence to establish a strong vision and leverage the skills that had helped me earn that role — rallying a large team to execute a turnaround plan on their most important priorities.
The team won the President’s Award for customer growth that year. One crucial way to gain the respect of your team is to help them win.
You’re holding them accountable for the very first time
Of course, it can be quite a shocker to an underperforming team when a new manager comes in and holds them accountable for the very first time.
Check your style if you sense that your team doesn’t like you because you’ve raised the bar or are holding them accountable to meet expectations. Make sure you’re focused on both results and relationships as you’re giving performance feedback and then stay the course.
It might be rocky for a minute, but most people want to work on a winning team. You might lose a few slackers who will continue to think you’re a jerk, but you will build respect with the rest of your team, not to mention get the results you need.
Leadership is not about being liked. But respect matters if you want to have influence and impact. It starts with understanding where the breakdown is happening and then building a deliberate plan to gain their respect.
You want others to think you are fabulous
When I was a teenager, I wondered why people weren’t responding to me as effusively as I thought was warranted. Why didn’t everyone think I was fabulous?
Looking for solutions, I read the book “How To Win Friends And Influence People“ by Dale Carnegie, and what I learned was life-changing.
Listen to people’s stories
Dale counseled that the easiest way to get people to like you was to be interested in them:
- Ask questions
- Listen to people’s stories
- Pay attention
- Show others you notice and remember what they’ve shared
As I’ve grown older, I still see the truth in this though authentic and lasting relationships require equal levels of caring and sharing.
Thankfully I’m naturally interested in getting to know people deeply. We all want to be seen and heard and ultimately loved.
Start showing others how much you value them
So if you aren’t feeling liked by others, perhaps you should worry less about how appreciated you are and start showing others how much you value them. I guarantee this switch of focus will reap the rewards.
Senior Editor, Tandem
President Lincoln once said, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
The same holds true for people liking you. Some people will like you, and some people will not. But if you feel like many people don’t like you, it might be time for some introspection.
Though different people won’t like others for various reasons, there are some commonalities about why some people might not like you.
You talk too much or too little
Whether you are constantly talking the ears off of other people or you aren’t engaged enough in conversations, the amount of talking you do can impact how others feel about you.
Do you contribute to the conversations? Do you ever let others get a word in edgewise?
You only talk about yourself
If when you are talking, you are only talking about yourself, this can easily rub people the wrong way. You might not even realize you are doing it.
Someone might be telling a story that reminds you of something similar that happened to you, and you interject. But making it about you instead of focusing on the original storyteller can be frustrating.
You talk, but you don’t listen
Some people like to hear the sound of their own voice. They talk and talk and talk, but it makes people wonder if they ever listen. If you are one of these people, that could be why you find others don’t seem to like you.
You are a narcissist
From being controlling to acting superior to others to not communicating, many traits indicate that someone is a narcissist.
Related: How to Know if You’re a Narcissist
Many people feel uncomfortable around this type of personality. Even though a narcissist might think, “it’s them, not me,” it’s not surprising that people wouldn’t like someone like this.
You never take the blame
Maybe you ran into someone while walking or forgot to pick up the birthday cake you promised to get.
In fact, you have excuses for everything. “I wouldn’t have walked into him if he was looking,” or “No one reminded me to get the cake, so it’s not my fault.”
Never taking the blame can be offensive to some.
You are frequently late
People do not like to be left waiting. Even if there isn’t something time-sensitive about to happen, their time is valuable. When someone is frequently late, it could make others feel like that person doesn’t care about their needs or their feelings.
You don’t have an open mind
When you get thoughts in your head and refuse to listen to others’ opinions that might sway you to think differently, this could be considered closed-minded.
No one needs to agree with everyone all of the time, but it’s nice to be able to see multiple angles of the same situation.
Related: How to Be Open Minded
Open your mind and try to see in yourself what others see in you
Maybe it’s time to open your mind and try to see in yourself what others see in you. If you talk too much or too little, try to change this.
Make sure when you do talk that you aren’t only talking about yourself, and when it’s no longer your turn to speak, make sure you listen.
Being considerate of other people’s time and feelings can go a long way toward being liked. With a bit of work, you just might become more likable.
Real Estate Professional | Investment Advisor | CEO, Cash For Houses
Your presence is a threat to their ego
When people show strong dislike towards you, it is most likely because of two things — they envy what you have, which they don’t, and your presence is a threat to their ego.
They are generally jealous of you and try to bring you down by all means because you are above them.
In many cases, this feeling of jealousy doesn’t arise from anywhere. Often, it comes from past experiences.
Related: How to Deal With Jealous People
These people who claim to dislike you associate you with someone they know in the past — probably have been scammed, mistreated, or maltreated by them on multiple occasions, and they tend to transfer the hate to you.
This gross generalization and perception translate to trust issues — they will find it difficult to see you in a good light or trust you to be better.
How to deal with people that don’t like you
Life would be so much easier if we all could avoid people we don’t like, right? Well! Life isn’t designed that way; as they say, life happens.
You might have to work with your enemy on a project or mix them in a professional setting. Worst of all, you might have that family member that never had any atom of respect for you get invited to dinner by your wife or even parents.
People have ways of dealing with problematic individuals. You could apply any of the methods below in your dealings as well.
Calm your nerves and let them go
Yes — you might be uncomfortable staying in the same room with the person that hates you, but letting your emotions all out will leave you in regrets.
Take a deep breath, calm your mind, and focus on the reason for the event rather than the person.
Assertively express your feelings
Instead of reacting whenever you find yourself in the same atmosphere with your hater, try explaining to them in a non-confrontational manner what you feel about their attitudes towards you.
You can be specific here. Wait to hear their response and then determine what you should do next.
Be polite and respectful
Civility is important. Even when your hater is in the same room, extend common courtesy to them. Small gestures can cool the tensions between you two.
Learn to sidestep when discussing specific hot topics
Learn to sidestep when discussing specific hot topics, especially if your frenemy gets involved. Pick your battles and avoid entering into confrontations.
Stay composed and conceal your hand
This isn’t always easy, especially when dealing with someone that gets on your nerves. Try to stay composed and conceal your hand. If possible, distance yourself from such persons.
Chief Operating Officer, Best Personality Tests
There could be several reasons people may not like you, and it is hard to pinpoint the exact cause without knowing more about your situation.
However, there are certain personality traits that can make people dislike you, even if they don’t know you very well.
You’re always negative or complaining
For example, if you come across as arrogant or self-centered, people may not be drawn to you. Additionally, if you’re always negative or complaining, others may find you unpleasant to be around.
Related: 45+ Signs of a Negative Person
They may not be in a good mood when meeting you
There are, of course, many other reasons why people may not take to you. For example, they may not be in a good mood when meeting you. Or, they may have had a bad experience with someone similar to you in some way.
Additionally, some people are just naturally introverted and prefer not to socialize much.
If you’re concerned that people don’t seem to like you, there are some things you can do to try and improve the situation.
See if there’s anything you can change about yourself
First, take a look at your own behavior and see if there’s anything you can change about yourself that might make you more likable.
For example, if you’re constantly putting yourself first, try to focus on others more. Or, if you’re quick to anger, try to work on your patience.
See if there’s anything you could improve about how you interact
Second, see if there’s anything about how you interact with others that could be improved. For example, are you making enough eye contact? Are you coming across as interested in what the other person has to say?
Don’t take it personally
Finally, don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t seem to like you. Remember that not everyone will connect with you, and that’s okay. There are plenty of other people out there who will appreciate your company.
Focus on being the best version of yourself
It’s important to remember that not everyone will like you, and that’s okay. Just focus on being the best version of yourself, learn self-improvement and be self-aware to make the best out of every situation.
Founder, Parental Queries
You are self-centered
Maybe you come across as being too arrogant or self-centered. This is a big turn-off for many people, and trying to be more humble is essential.
No one wants to be around someone who is always talking about themselves and their achievements. It makes others feel like they are not good enough and that you think you are better than them.
If you want people to like you, it’s important to focus on making them feel good about themselves, not making yourself look good.
You are judgmental
Another reason why people might not like you is if you are too judgmental. If you are always putting others down or criticizing them, then it’s no wonder that they don’t want to be around you.
Nobody likes to be around someone who is constantly negative, making them feel bad about themselves. Instead, try to focus on the positive aspects of people and appreciate their differences.
You are a gossip
Gossiping is another big turn-off for many people. If you are always talking about other people behind their backs, it shows that you cannot be trusted.
People will avoid you because they don’t want to be the subject of your following conversation. Gossiping also makes you look petty and childish, so it’s best to avoid it altogether.
You are always negative
Finally, if you are constantly negative, then it’s no wonder that people don’t like you. Nobody wants to be around someone who is constantly complaining and seeing the glass half empty. Instead, try to focus on the positive things in life and be more optimistic.
You have poor hygiene
Poor hygiene is the number one thing that drives people away from you. They also believe that it is not always your fault. You may have been brought up by poor parents who never taught you the importance of personal hygiene.
However, there is still hope for you. You can always improve your hygiene.
Use a lot of mouthwash
One way to get started is by using a lot of mouthwash. Mouthwash is the best way to get rid of bad breath. It is recommended that you use mouthwash for about a minute each time. Your breath will be fresh, and your teeth will look whiter.
Use deodorant every day
Another way to improve your hygiene is to use deodorant every day. Most people are smelly because of their sweat. Deodorant will help you get rid of that smell. To be a person others like, keep your hygiene in check.
People generally don’t like to be around someone who is continuously hypercritical about others’ behavior, appearance, and choice of words.
If you are over-critical of everything and everyone, then it’s not very unexpected that nobody will like you. It’s a good idea to let go of the stress and accept people for who they are.
You might feel good about yourself, but others will never like you if you keep feeling negative about their actions.
You always blame others for your problems
It will be hard to win friends and influence people if you always blame others for your problems and never take responsibility for your mistakes and misdeeds.
Remember that you don’t have to be perfect regarding likability.
It’s just that when you make mistakes, you should take responsibility for them and then try to do something to fix the problem. Your behavior towards others will be a reflection of the way you want to be treated.
Real Estate Agent | COO, FHA Lend LLC
You tend to speak too much
- People may dislike you and try to avoid you if you tend to speak too much.
- Don’t assume you’re better than others because you’re superior to them; that kind of thinking will only get you into trouble.
- Trying to shift responsibility away from oneself and onto someone else often ends up coming back to bite the one doing it.
- Being nice and getting along with colleagues may make for a more pleasant work experience, even though not everyone will always like you.
What can be done?
Gain popularity through the practice of social skills
A solid foundation of social skills is necessary for success in any social setting. It takes work to meet new people and maintain old ones as friends.
Related: Why are Social Skills Important?
Consider the individuals who are consistently in your daily life; it is common for such acquaintances to become close friends. Don’t assume that your shared experiences at work or school will be the only basis of your friendship.
Look for a shared worldview and connect with someone who shares it. Realize that it doesn’t make you more likable as a friend or partner if you agree with everything someone says.
Expand your social circle
You may be reading this and thinking, “But I’m really courteous and a decent companion, yet people still don’t seem to like me.” It’s possible you’re correct.
However, there is no universal formula for developing good social skills. Just as you don’t wear tuxedos to sporting events, the standards of etiquette that apply in one situation may appear inappropriate in another.
If you tell yourself things like “no one will ever like me,” you may end up feeling hopeless because your prediction has come true.
A self-fulfilling prophecy is a theory that if you have a strong enough belief in something, it will come true not because the belief is real but because your actions alter your behaviors and attitude.
The Science Wizard, School Science Assemblies
They may feel like they are not as intelligent as you
In niche groups, people are often disliked for doing well. Because others feel like they are not good enough, they develop resentment toward skilled people.
They may feel like they are not as intelligent, focused, or talented as the other person. They forget that talented people were not so talented at some point.
Through hard work, goals are achieved, and an untalented person becomes a master. Being disliked in this way comes from others’ fear of performing the work needed to achieve success.
They are jealous and want what you have
In some cases, people might be jealous of others because they want what they have. Whatever the reason, jealousy is often rooted in feelings of insecurity or inadequacy.
Sometimes it’s easier for people to dislike someone than to work to achieve higher standards.
Investigative Journalist | Author, Tiny Changes Matter
You like to be in control
This is a common thing in a friendship. You have one “leader,” and others just follow blindly. But that can be the first reason why people don’t like you. You always have the best advice and the best idea, and everything about you is perfect. You, you, and you.
The key component when it comes to building relationships is compromise and empathy!
It’s impossible to socialize with you because everything has to be up to you. If you want people to like you, do things for them, not just for yourself!
Related: How to Deal with Controlling People?
You humiliate others
For yourself, you are perfect. You don’t have any flaws, and you don’t want to talk about them. But you enjoy criticizing others, and your hobby is pointing out mistakes that others are making.
Maybe you have only good intentions, but I’m sure nobody likes to be criticized all the time by someone who doesn’t admit their own mistakes and failures.
Don’t try to humiliate others so that you can create an illusion that you are perfect. Respect others, compliment them, and you will be on the right track!
They don’t feel comfortable sharing their opinions with you
First, let me say that it is not just people who don’t like me. I am sure that there are some people who do like me, but they are not willing to show their support publicly.
They are afraid of being judged by others, or maybe they don’t feel comfortable sharing their opinions with others.
They think that what you have done is wrong or inappropriate
Second, the way people react to my actions is also essential. Some people will react negatively because they think that what I have done is wrong or inappropriate.
Others may react negatively because of their own personal problems with me or with my way of life.
It can cause stress and lead to negative outcomes
When you are not liked by everyone around you, it can be challenging to focus on your goals and reach them!
It can cause stress, leading to negative outcomes such as illness and poor physical health, leading to higher medical bills for insurance companies or employers who have to pay more for your healthcare.
Molecular Biotechnology Student | Founder, Fitness Equipped
There could be a myriad of reasons why people do not like someone, but it cannot be easy to ascertain why this is the case.
They disagree with your personality or way of life
In some instances, it could be due to something the person has said or done; alternatively, it could simply be down to the fact that someone disagrees with the individual’s personality or way of life.
Whatever the reason, it can be hurtful when we find out someone doesn’t like us. It can make us feel like something is wrong with us and make us question our self-worth.
This is especially true if we are already struggling with our own confidence. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to remember that not everyone will like you, which is perfectly okay.
Just because someone doesn’t appreciate your humor or thinks you’re as bright as you know you are, does not mean there is anything wrong with you.
It can be tempting to try and change yourself to make other people like you more, but this is not the answer. You should never have to change who you are to please someone else.
Focus on the people who appreciate you and cherish their opinion of you
If someone doesn’t like you for who you are, they are not worth your time and energy.
So next time you find yourself wondering why don’t people like me, just remember that not everyone is going to, and that’s okay. Focus on the people who appreciate you and cherish their opinion of you. These are the people whose approval really matters.
Chief Executive Officer, Palaleather Fashion Company
You’re shy or you’re not their type
There are a lot of reasons why people might not like you. Maybe you’re shy, or perhaps you’re just not their type.
But there are a few things you can do to make yourself more likable:
- Try to be more outgoing. Smile and make eye contact when you talk to people.
- Be interested in what other people have to say. Ask them questions about themselves and listen carefully to the answers.
- Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. People will like you more if they can see the real you.
- Don’t take it personally if not everyone likes you. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s just that some people are harder to please than others. So don’t worry about it too much; just focus on the people who like you.
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