If you want people to like you, stop doing these 10 ‘mean’ things

For starters, you shouldn’t be living your life trying to make people like you.

It never ends well. 

People-pleasing and modifying your personality and interests to try and win the short-term favor of someone generally just leads to you feeling at odds with yourself, and that person suspecting you’re a bit of a fake.

But that’s not to say that we all haven’t at some point craved a little more love, a little more appreciation.

If you consider yourself to possess a few particularly grating characteristics, you might intentionally be trying to change these.

The fact is that you should never change yourself to make someone like you, but you can work on your self-improvement so that you better like yourself.

And with self-love comes the appreciation of others, who appreciate your authenticity and self-assurance.

So where do we start?

1) Stop complaining

Everyone has the right to vent.

Life is hard.

Sometimes it sneaks up on you and beats you around, and having good friends means that you should have reliable shoulders on which you can lean on for support and turn to in times of need.

But if I’m honest, no one enjoys the company of someone who constantly whines and moans about every little detail.

Life can be bad, but it can also be beautiful – constantly being dragged down by complaints serves no one.

2) Stop interrupting 

Say you’re sitting there listening to someone tell a long and elaborate tale about how they got screwed over by their rental company. Or how much they hate Skyler White.

You can barely keep your mouth shut, you’re just bursting with your own opinions and inputs.

But interrupting people mid conversation is such a turn off. 

Honestly – particularly for those who struggle to find the confidence to speak up and voice their opinion, being cut off or interrupted can leave you feeling disrespected by that person.

So think back to preschool. 

You were also probably subjected to the spoon game – where everyone gets a chance to speak as long as they’re holding the mighty spoon.

Listen patiently and wait your turn before jumping in. People will thank you for it.

3) Put an end to gossiping

Telling Jane what John got up to at the party at the weekend might cause you both to squirm and giggle, but it doesn’t lead anywhere positive.

The only outcome is that John eventually finds out that you’ve been spreading tales and Jane knows that you’re not to be trusted.

So quit the gossip and focus on your own life. 

You’ll soon find that people appreciate how much they can trust you and as a result are more inclined to open up to you.

4) Making promises you can’t or won’t keep

“I promise”

How many times have you heard that statement, only for someone to rescind their word at a later date.

More importantly, how many times have you broken your promise?

Of course, there are life-or-death situations wherein promises can be sidelined if someone’s in danger.

But for the most part, please stop making promises you can’t keep or don’t intend to.

It just causes resentment and mistrust, leaving people suspicious of your honesty and intentions.

5) Stop using people for your own benefit

You might not even be conscious you’re doing this, but we’ve all at some point in our lives manoeuvred people or friendships to our benefit.

People aren’t pawns. 

They’re human, just as much as you are. 

They have feelings, and they care.

If a little voice ever pops up in your head informing you of a certain strategy whereby you could say or do something to put someone else in the firing line other than yourself – cull that thought quickly.

Shifting blame to other people or using them to jump ahead in your own game is a selfish way to play.

6) Avoid catastrophizing

Listen up: sh** happens.

Life isn’t perfect.

At points, it really sucks.

But in the same way as constantly complaining won’t win you any favors, making mountains out of molehills won’t either.

Stressing yourself out plus everyone around you about very minor issues will just mean that people start giving you a wide berth.

They have enough stress going on in their own lives – why would they want to be in the presence of someone who does nothing but contribute stress to their lives?

Continue to vent and expand upon your feelings (if possible in therapy), but avoid dramatizing every little issue. 

Especially if you’re just doing it for the attention.

7) Stop preaching things you don’t practice

psychology of procrastination If you want people to like you, stop doing these 10 'mean' things

There’s few things more tiresome than someone who lectures and berates you about how to date, how to live, how to communicate, and then is the absolute worst when it comes to doing all of those things for themselves.

We can all be guilty of assuming the position of some enlightened guru when it comes to dishing out advice.

But beware of tutting and scolding your friends for their actions, only to engage in poor behavior yourself.

Hypocrisy isn’t hot.

8) Let go of grudges

People can and will hurt you.

You’re more than entitled to hold on to feelings of resentment or anger.

However, clutching on to these grudges deep within your hurt will benefit no one.

Forgiveness comes with a huge number of benefits including lowered stress and improved confidence.

And whilst I’m not asking you to embrace whoever hurt you and tell them that they’re forgiven, clinging on to old conflict or disagreements just leaves friendships in tatters and both parties unable to let go.

It’s a hard line to walk as you don’t want to come over as a push over either who yields and submits to any wrongdoing.

But try and find the fine line whereby you’re able to communicate when disagreements occur, resolve them to the best of your ability, and gradually let go of any feelings of resentment.

It’s much easier to be around and to love people who live free from the clutches of past toxic attachments and grudges.

9) Stop focussing on being right

Are you the type who really won’t go down without a fight?

You’re so adamantly convinced about a theory or concept that you will not let anyone else have a word in edgeways.

Forget listening to both sides of the story – you will hound that person until they finally admit defeat and concede.

Victory for you!

Unfortunately, this desperate need to win every argument comes across as rude and tasteless.

That’s not to say that you should let other people win just for the sake of it.

At the end of the day, it’s not even about winning or losing.

Healthy debates require differing viewpoints and the ability to communicate calmly whilst taking into account the other person’s perspective.

So don’t go down fighting if you know you’re in the wrong, even if it means your ego takes a hit.

Being able to stand up and admit when you’re in the wrong is a very admirable trait that will win you far more favor than a blindness to all other perspectives.

10) Don’t comment on people’s appearances

As my mother once told me, compliment people freely.

Just not on things they cannot change.

For example, hair color, clothing, makeup.

All characteristics that a person can alter or choose to modify.

But weight, teeth, acne?

Strong no.

A nice compliment can get you far in terms of showing how you notice changes in those around you, which will mean that others appreciate your keen eye for detail.

But calling out people’s appearances – particularly over traits beyond their control – is purely impolite and unnecessary

In fact, it’s straight up mean.

I’m sure you can think of many other compliments to pay your friends.

“I want everyone to like me!”

Bad news: they won’t.

Owing to our unique nature, we end up grating against people – whether we like it or not.

Some people will adore you

Others, not so much.

You should never enter into friendships or relationships with the intentions of wanting to make people like you.

If you feel like this is something you’re guilty of, consider where this desire comes from.

Basing your own self-worth off external validation, whilst not uncommon, is not a healthy approach to constructing a strong and supple sense of self.

The best thing you can do if you do find yourself requiring outside approval to feel good about yourself is to look inwards.


  • Why do I feel this way?
  • What about myself do I not like?
  • What might I work on to feel more confident and empowered in these areas?

As cliché a mantra as it might sound, change comes from within.

Being mean won’t win you any friends for starters. 

But learning more about yourself, learning to embrace those aspects, and showing up as the most authentic version of you is a great place to start.

Picture of Liv Walde

Liv Walde

London-based writer with big thoughts, big dreams, and a passion for helping others.

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