Why Does It Always Seem People Don’t Like Me?

By Jon Jaehnig

Updated June 08, 2020

Reviewer Christy B.

We all get the feeling that some people don't like us. But, do you ever get the feeling that nobody likes you? You're probably wrong about that but it doesn't mean that the feeling isn't worth addressing. It could be that there are some things that you should work on in your social life, but it also might mean that the way that you perceive the world is a little off.

I Hate Feeling This Way - Why Don't People Like Me?
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Some people say that the need to be liked means that you are shallow. However, humans are social creatures and we need to feel that we are supported and appreciated by those around us. Not everyone is going to like you, and every mature and functioning person should be okay with that. However, the feeling that no one likes you can be depressing and scary. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to address it.

You May Need to Work on Your Social Skills

Developing good social skills is essential to building good relationships. Finding - and keeping - friends does take effort. Think about people that are around you most often, familiarity can often lead to close friendships. Don't count on working together or going to the same school to be the whole friendship. Find common interests; find someone that has similar beliefs and attitudes. Be aware that you don't have to agree with everything someone says - that doesn't make you more attractive as a friend or partner.

You can also build your conversation skills by asking and responding to questions with a little more detail than what was said. Make small conversations. This has value in developing rapport and making others comfortable. The most effective way to have the best reciprocal interaction is not to interrupt when someone is talking. Learn things to talk about with others by reading others and by finding common interests. You can also read books or watch videos on communication to increase your skills and confidence in interacting with other people.

You May Need to Diversify Your Social Skills

You may have read the above section and thought: "But I'm very polite and a fair conversationalist and people still don't seem to like me." You may be right. However, social skills aren't a one-size-fits-all skill. What might constitute good manners in one setting may seem out of place in another, kind of like how you don't wear tuxedos to sports events. If you find that you don't fit in in certain venues, consider asking yourself whether your manners or bearing match those of the people around you.

You Don't See People As Individuals

The above two sections are both situations in which some people in certain settings may not like you. However, everyone not liking you might just be in your head.


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One potential reason for thinking that nobody likes you is overgeneralization. Generalization is witnessing something a limited number of times and assuming that it is often the case. It's an important skill for learning faster and helping us to avoid dangerous situations. For example, if you had sushi once and then got sick, you might generalize that sushi makes you sick and avoid it. This prevents you from making the same mistakes repeatedly and it prevents your brain from needing to approach every sushi-related experience as though it is a new experience.

Overgeneralization is witnessing something a limited number of times and assuming that it is always the case. So, imagine eating sushi, getting sick, and assuming that the next time that you eat you will get sick again. This would obviously be unhelpful and very probably inaccurate.

Something similar can happen with people. If you know that one person doesn't like you, you may overgeneralize and assume that no one likes you, even though that's very probably not true. This could happen to anyone in extreme circumstances, like after a break-up. However, as mentioned above, some people have a stronger need to feel liked. These people may be quicker to overgeneralize, even if the person that doesn't like them is a more distant acquaintance or even a stranger.

The best way to counter this information is by trying to fight the urge to use overarching terms such as "awful," "massive," and "every." Instead, use quantifiable terms to truly examine the evidence. Use words that are more open such as "may," or "sometimes." These words allow you to consider possibilities that may be partially true without assuming all-or-nothing relationships.

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Be mindful of absolute prophecies, such as "no one will ever like me" they may become self-fulfilling. The Idea of the Self-fulfilling Prophecy" is the idea that if you believe something strongly enough, it will become true, not because the belief is true but because your actions on it change your actions and attitude. If you believe that no one likes you, you may stop spending time with people, or start pretending to be someone you're not - both of which can drive away people who never actually disliked you.

The Need to Be Liked

We've already mentioned a couple of times so far that humans are social creatures with a need to feel liked. However, some of us feel that need more than others. If you feel the need to be loved by everybody, you may be more sensitive to those people that don't like you. If you think that this might be the case for you, the best thing to do is spend more time focusing on what you're up to and not worrying so much about what everyone else is thinking about you. After all, it's fairly probable that they don't think about you as much as you think that they do. And that's okay.

I Hate Feeling This Way - Why Don't People Like Me?
We Can Help. Click Here To Connect With A Licensed Counselor Online.

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You Dislike Yourself

Finally, you may dislike yourself. Do you remember how we talked about generalization as a sort of shortcut that your brain takes because it's easier and faster than constantly dealing with new and complex information? A similar method is called "projection."

"Projection" is when you feel a certain way and assume that other people around you feel that way too. It gives you a ballpark estimate of what someone else might be experiencing without needing to dive too deeply into their actual perception of what's going on. However, it's not usually accurate and, once again, your brain can take it too far to the point that it stops being a handy shortcut and starts being a dead-end road.

Disliking yourself, or something about yourself can be harmful and misleading in ways other than projection. A phenomenon similar to projection but not so severe is simple self-consciousness or sensitivity. This is when there is something that you don't like about yourself and you assume that it bothers everyone else too - even though they might not notice it or it might not bother them. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, if we spend so much time and energy worrying about our imperfections, it's only going to make them more noticeable.

What You Can Do

If you think that one or more of the last four sections in this article describes what you're going through, there are a couple of things that you can do to change the way that you see the world and your relationship with it.

One fairly basic place to start is with practicing mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a thought exercise in which you try to clear your mind to notice the thoughts that interrupt your practice. This gradually trains you to be more in tune with your thoughts and emotions so that you can deal with them in healthy and productive ways instead of letting them spiral out of control like they can in the cases of overgeneralization and projection.

If you feel like some of your problems are a combination of fooling yourself and actually not being liked, you may want to take a slightly more active approach, like journaling. In journaling, you write about events in your life and how they make you feel. This gives you an opportunity to consciously reflect on different situations in your life and your responses to them. Another benefit is that sometimes things that seem very real to us in our minds can seem silly when we see them written out or hear them out loud. Finally, unlike meditation, journaling provides a written record that you can look back on and that you can use to plan ahead for how to work through future events.

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A final method is balancing your thoughts. It's sort of like a combination of the mental exercise of mindfulness and the analytical prompt of journaling. Balancing your thoughts involves taking a thought that worries or alarms you and giving it a deeper look. It's about not just accepting these thoughts and feelings, but instead asking oneself whether they are realistic. When balancing your thoughts, it's good to write out a list that expresses the evidence for and against negative thinking patterns. Take time to acknowledge the important themes in the evidence for your negative thoughts. It is equally valuable, to sum up the learning points in the evidence against such thoughts.

Finding Help

Sometimes, the methods above for addressing your concerns may not be enough or may not make you feel better. Some people need a little help in dealing with their fears and concerns. One option for finding help is through online therapy. In online therapy, like that offered through BetterHelp, you meet with a licensed counselor or therapist over your internet connection. You may schedule voice or video calls, or even just chat with them, like texting a friend. This method is easier and more affordable than in-person therapy or counseling. Below you can read some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people who have been helped with similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"Lee Blouin is there for me and I truly feel confident with his ability to help me understand my concerns. He has already given me helpful advice and ways to practice coping with the issues in my life. I believe that Lee really listens and has a desire to help. I find it very helpful every time we converse about anything that I am struggling with and I look forward to continuing working with him."

"Charles is an awesome counselor. He makes the hard topics easy to talk about and helps me understand why I feel the way that I do... In the midst of a storm it's very helpful to have the guidance of someone who has a clear unobstructed view of what's going on so I can make the best choices for myself. Charles guidance makes it possible for me to begin doing this...I'm tremendously grateful for his help."

Moving Forward

When you feel like no one likes you, the important thing is to leave people opportunities to like you. It's a problem that you can't solve by isolating yourself. No matter what you're experiencing, with the right tools, you can find fulfilling relationships. Take the first step today.

FAQs

What do I do when people don't like me?

If someone doesn’t like you, it can be difficult for you to adopt a “Who cares what people think?” attitude. You don’t want to give people who don’t like you the satisfaction of being offended by it, but it’s difficult. Here are some steps to help with that.

  • It’s okay to feel pain when someone doesn’t like you, but you also need to realize that not everyone is going to like you. Sometimes, it’s not your fault; you just rub people the wrong of a way for no good reason. You can’t be friends with everyone.
  • It’s important to be critical of your flaws. Even though some people have no good reason to like you, others may have a reason. However, few people will tell you the reasons, so you need to take a critical look at yourself. What are some reoccurring reasons why you may feel like people don’t like you? Is there any way you can change it? In a case like this, you may want to seek a therapist, as not everyone is good at a deep, personal evaluation of themselves.
  • Find people who do genuinely like you and want to spend time with you. These people tend to make an effort to hang with you, give you advice and criticism because it helps build you up, and they give off positive energy. Don’t spend time with people who give you negative energy.

 

How can you tell when someone doesn't like you?

Unless someone tells you outright, you can never know for sure. Some people can come across as standoffish or not very nice to you, but they don’t mind you, or they may even like you. The opposite can happen as well. Some people seem as friendly as they can be, but they are talking behind your back. With that said, there are subtle signs that someone may not like you, and these include:

  • Their body language is closed off. They don’t want to express themselves, they don’t look you in the eye, and they don’t apply this evenly across the board. The latter is important, as there are socially awkward people who may have trouble with body language, but they mean well. However, if you see someone be open with their body language towards someone else, but not you, it could be a sign that something is going on.
  • You have to make an effort to speak with them. They never text you first or try to imitate plans. Quite often, the person may cancel the plans with a paper thin excuse. Again, this doesn’t always mean that a person doesn’t like you, but it’s something to look out for.
  • The person is only around you when another friend is. This can be a friend of a friend's situation, where they merely tolerate you instead of like you.
  • Finally, you feel like they don’t. This one can be tricky, as some people, especially those who have anxiety, may think everyone is out to get them, but if you don’t normally feel this way, and combined with the other signs, it may indicate the person doesn’t like you.

In the perfect world, people would say it outright, but we don’t live in this world. Some people may even tolerate you because they’re trying to get something out of you. Selfish people like that have no place in your life.

 

How do you stop caring if people don't like you?

The most important step is to realize that not every person is going to like you. You can be the nicest person in the world and someone will find a reason, or maybe not even a reason at all, to not want to talk to you.

With that said, if it’s still bothering you, perhaps it is an insecurity you have. Figure out your flaws and see why someone may not like you. Then, try to make some self-improvement. Finally, surround yourself with people who do like you. While the people who don’t like you may change their minds, you can’t force it. Instead, spend your energy doing things that make you happy.

What to do if someone doesn't want to talk to you?

If someone doesn’t want to talk to you, it can be upsetting. Perhaps the person used to talk to you, and now is ignoring you. Or maybe you want to be friends with someone, but they don’t seem to open up.

First, you need to realize that it’s okay if people don’t want to talk to you. You can’t force a friendship or relationship with someone who outright ignores you. With that said, making an effort to figure out why it is still a good idea.

Ask the person if you did something wrong, and mention you want to make it right. Should they respond, listen to what they have to say. If they say that they need space, give them space. If they want to talk to you about their issues, they will.

Finally, if they keep ignoring you, there is no reason you should continue this one-sided relationship. Instead, surround yourself with people who do like you and want to make an effort to talk to you.

Is it okay to have no friends?

Some people have no friends, and they may wonder if that’s okay. The answer is yes. While it can be upsetting to not have friends, there are often cases where having no friends can make you stronger.

This especially applies as you get older. It can be harder to make new friends, and your old friends may have moved out. While a good friend can be helpful, so can learning personal accountability and self-sustainment.

Why do people ignore me?

It can be quite frustrating to talk to people, only for them to cut you off or ignore you. On the Internet, you may get ignored through the “message seen” notification, or even worse, the person doesn’t read your message at all. Sometimes, it’s not your fault, and sometimes it is. Here are some potential reasons.

  • Social awkwardness. You don’t talk loud enough, confidently enough, or you may end up inserting yourself in a conversation awkwardly. Many people have social awkwardness, and it is something you have to work on, be it self-help or taking some speaking classes. Sometimes, this social awkwardness can come in saying things at the wrong time, too. For instance, you may have tried to talk to someone when they’re about to go to bed.
  • You’re ignored because of what you’re saying. Sometimes, you may come off as overly negative or critical all the time, or what you’re saying has no contribution to the conversation. In texting, you may be sending people one-word greetings that don’t contribute anything to the conversation.
  • You may be ignored because you always try to make the conversation about you. Sometimes, selfish people don’t realize they’re being like this. Take a look at your words. Do they come across as being a little bit selfish? Is there a way for you to stop being like this?
  • Finally, you may be ignored because the people you surround yourself with don’t care for you. If you’ve done a critical evaluation of yourself and don’t believe it’s your fault, one solution is to find people who do care about you and want to listen to what you have to say.

 

How do you not let people bother you?

It can be hard to stop people from bothering you. Even if you try to avoid it, some people live rent-free in your head. Here are some ways to stop that.

  • First, realize you can’t change other people, only yourself. If someone is doing something that bothers you, learn to let go of what you can’t change.
  • If the reason the person is bothering you is that they are being toxic, perhaps it’s time to cut them off. Either that, or establish some boundaries and keep them as firm as possible.
  • Do not take it personally. When you don’t, people tend to avoid bothering you since it’s no longer making you miserable.
  • Another thing you should do is to look at how other people handle them, if the person is a repeated botherer. When it comes to handling people properly, if you don’t, people will walk all over you. With that said, everyone responds differently, and you need to find the way that works for your situation.

How many people have no friends?

The number may surprise you. One YouGov poll found that one in five millennials say they do not have friends. The number may be many more, especially if people confuse a friend with an acquaintance. You may believe that the younger generations, which were raised on social media and connectivity, would have more friends. However, digital friends may not replace in-person interaction, and having close bonds with people can be more difficult.


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