You’re highly unlikely to get along perfectly with every person you meet. It’s part of why strong, genuine social connections can be so fulfilling and satisfying, because they don’t take root with everyone you encounter. However, sometimes the dynamic between two people who don’t get along isn’t politely neutral. In some cases, a relationship between individuals who simply don’t mesh well can be characterized by dislike or even hatred.
When someone hates you, the reasons can vary widely, from an old friendship that was broken up by a disagreement or a misunderstanding to opposing values or even prejudice. Regardless of the reason, being hated can hurt. Below, we’ll explore some of the potential effects of feeling hated by someone, along with actions you can take to try and resolve the situation.
The Potential Effects Of Being Hated
Our drive to feel accepted by our peers is an evolutionary mechanism. In the early days of humankind, social acceptance correlated with the safety available in community, since individuals were generally not able to survive on their own. Even today, research suggests a correlation between strong social support and better mental and physical health. This evolutionary history is likely at least part of why it can be so painful to be rejected or even hated by someone now.
Feeling hated by someone can also be taxing if it’s a person we have to deal with regularly, like a neighbor or coworker. Trying to navigate your daily life while you face negativity or even hostility from someone can make everything more difficult.
What To Do About Someone Who Hates You
It’s important to remember that improving the situation isn’t always possible. Often times, a person’s sense of hatred for someone else stems from their own problems, not yours, like negative feelings and internal struggles, or from snap judgments that they don’t care to rectify. Other times, if people hate you improving the situation isn’t worth the effort, such as if you rarely encounter the person in your daily life, or if it would be emotionally unsafe to engage with them about the issue. However, if you have to regularly interact with someone who seems to hate you, you might be able to implement some of the strategies below to at least defuse the hostility between you and move your relationship in a positive direction. Remember that it’s generally advisable to avoid engaging with this person at all if it seems unsafe for you to do so.
Find Out The Cause Of Their Feelings
If it’s safe for you to do so, you might approach the situation by directly, politely asking the person why they have a problem with you. Perhaps there was a past incident that you’d forgotten about but that continues to bother them. Or, it could be that they misunderstood something you said or did, or that they made incorrect assumptions about who you are or what you stand for. If the other person seems open to a calm, civil discussion, the two of you may be able to iron out the issue by apologizing for any past hurts, clarifying any disconnections, and agreeing to disagree where necessary. Even if they’re not receptive, you can feel confident that you did what you could to try and resolve the problem.
Examine Your Own Behavior
As mentioned earlier, there are many different reasons that one person might dislike another. In many cases, it has more to do with the individual holding the hateful feelings than the one who is the target of them. That said, it could also be that the other party has some grounds to dislike you. If you truly don’t know why they might feel this way, it could be worth taking a step back and examining your own behavior as objectively as possible.
If they’re part of your social circle, do you make them feel excluded and ignore or interrupt them when they speak? If you work with them, are you adding tasks to their plate or taking credit for projects they’ve done? If they’re your neighbor, are you frequently being disruptive at late hours? Sometimes, things that deeply bother one person might go unnoticed by another, so thinking critically about your interactions with the individual who seems to hate you can inspire you to make some reasonable shifts that may make them feel more heard, comfortable, or respected.
If you’re unable to figure out or resolve the issue this person has with you, it’s usually in your best interest to simply avert additional conflict with them going forward. If you can avoid interacting with them at all, it may be best for everyone. If you have to interact with this individual, keeping things as calm and civil as possible could be the most beneficial course of action.
Some people who feel hatred toward others might try to pick fights with them. If you experience this, you might try and focus on deescalation through empathy, patience, and rationality. If you encounter them in a place of school or work and they deliberately try to provoke you, you may be able to report them to a manager or administrator.
Shift Your Focus
Fixating on why someone may not like you can be unproductive at best and mentally harmful at worst. If there’s nothing you can do about the situation , you might benefit from simply shifting your focus in a more positive direction. As one study on the topic suggests, prioritizing positivity can predict “a host of well-being outcomes”, so you may find yourself feeling better and enjoying life more if you can accentuate the positives in your life instead of this negative. Putting your mental energy toward people and activities you love instead of worrying about one person who doesn’t like you may be a more effective and beneficial approach for your life.
Respect Their Boundaries
If someone has shown or expressed that they don’t enjoy being around you and aren’t open to discussing or resolving the issue, it’s usually best to respect their boundaries. If they don’t want to spend time with you, you could avoid making plans with them or signing up to work on projects with them, for example. Even if you disagree with them, complying with someone’s reasonable boundaries can be a sign of basic respect.
How Therapy Can Help
As covered above, suspecting or knowing that someone actively hates you can affect your mental health. If you’re looking for support in processing and coping with these feelings, meeting with a therapist could be beneficial. They can provide you with a safe space to express your emotions, understand your own feelings, and control any symptoms of anxiety or rumination you may be experiencing as a result of this situation. They can also teach you strategies for improving your self-esteem, along with skills for interpersonal communication and conflict resolution. In other words, they can act as trusted support for those who find themselves in difficult social situations.
Not everyone has the opportunity to connect with a qualified therapist who can meet their needs nearby. In cases like these, online therapy can represent a valuable alternative. With an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can get matched with one of tens of thousands of licensed therapists. You can then connect with your therapist via phone, video call, and/or in-app messaging from the comfort of home, without the hassle or time cost of commuting to and from a physical office. Research suggests that online therapy can offer similar benefits to in-person therapy in many cases, so it may be worth exploring if you’re interested in this format. See below for client reviews of BetterHelp counselors.
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"Sharon Valentino has helped me through so much! Since we started working together, just a few months ago, I already feel like I have more power and control over my life. I have let go of some very painful things, I have moved away from abusive relationships and really gaining skills and tools I need to keep myself safe and happy. She has taught me that I have the power to control my thoughts, my anxiety, and most of all my company. I really like how direct she is, it helps me get grounded and connect to myself. I can't wait to see where I am after working with her a year!!!"
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do Successful People Deal With Someone Hating Them?
Many successful people are aware that not everyone is going to like them, and they usually understand that hatred often says more about the person holding those feelings than the person receiving them. That being said, another common quality of many successful people is self-awareness and the ability to take constructive criticism. If there’s any useful feedback to be had from the people who dislike them, they’re likely to consider it seriously.
What Are Some Of The Ways Successful People Deal With People Hating Them?
Some potentially effective approaches could include facing the situation directly and calmly, but not forcing a resolution if there is resistance. Successful people might also aim to act with patience and empathy and to make room for open, honest, constructive communication.
How Do You Live With Someone Who Hates You?
Perhaps some rules or boundaries can be put in place to preserve the peace, or maybe an apology needs to be made for a past conflict. If this doesn’t work, it may be worth reconsidering your living situation if possible.
If you’re experiencing abuse of any kind from someone you live with or anyone in your life, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for immediate support, advice, and assistance.
How Do You Deal With Someone Who Doesn't Like You At Work?
Working with someone you don’t get along with can be difficult, because you usually don’t have control over how much you have to see or interact with them. You can try approaching them calmly and directly to ask what the problem is and inquire as to whether there’s anything you can do to resolve it. If not, you might choose to agree to disagree with them and make a pact to remain as civil as possible.
What Does Hatred Do To A Person?
Hatred may be associated with rumination, stress, and anxiety, which may all be linked to negative physical and mental health outcomes.
What Causes Extreme Hatred?
Extreme hatred is often caused by internal feelings of insecurity, feelings of inadequacy, a fear of abandonment, or by other deep hurt and pain from the past.
How Do You Deal With Toxic Friends?
Toxic friendships may be characterized by manipulation, put-downs, guilt, negativity, deceit, or other harmful interactions. If you’re experiencing a friendship like this, talking to your friend about how their actions are making you feel is usually a recommended first step. If they show no signs of changing their behavior, the best course of action to take next is usually to create distance and limit contact by setting and enforcing safe boundaries for yourself.
Why Do I Attract Toxic Friends?
Codependency and low self-esteem are two of the most common reasons for continually seeming to attract toxic friends. To clarify, though, people do not necessarily “attract” toxic individuals, but instead may frequently settle for unhealthy relationships.
Is It OK To Distance Yourself From Family?
Painful though it may be, there are instances in which taking some distance from family may be necessary. Speaking with your family members about conflict or harmful behaviors they’re exhibiting can be a first step, and setting healthy boundaries for yourself can be a second. If these methods are unsuccessful over time, if your mental health is being negatively affected, and/or if you feel unsafe, it might be time to distance yourself from them.
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