How To Deal With People Who Hate You

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated September 15, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

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.

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
Stop Letting Others Get The Best Of You

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 socially rejected and actively disliked can also take a toll on the way we feel about ourselves. It can contribute to feelings of low self-esteem and potentially exacerbate symptoms associated with mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.

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.

Avoid Conflict

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.

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
Stop Letting Others Get The Best Of You

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.

Counselor Reviews

"She is simply amazing! In my experience she understands my language and position, and she gives me feedback to expand on that position. I've experienced so much growth with her. My understanding of myself, how I interact with the world around me, and how/who I would like to be moving forward has developed so much with her help. Thank you so much!!!"

"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!!!"


Knowing that someone dislikes or even hates you can be difficult to deal with. If you’re not able to resolve the conflict, shifting your focus, respecting their boundaries, and connecting with a therapist may all be useful.

Learn to strengthen your mental health

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started