People who are deeply unhappy in life often show these 9 subtle signs

So, we’ve all had our ups and downs, right? Life’s a bit of a rollercoaster sometimes. But have you ever wondered if those down days are more than just a bad mood?

It’s not always easy to spot, but sometimes people around us, or even we ourselves, might be dealing with some serious unhappiness under the surface.

And it’s not about the big, obvious signs. Nope, it’s the little things that give it away.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at 9 subtle signs that someone might be really unhappy in life.

Let’s get started. 

1. The Smile Doesn’t Reach Their Eyes

Ever heard the phrase, ‘smiling with your eyes’? There’s a lot of truth to it.

When someone’s genuinely happy, their whole face lights up, especially their eyes.

But when someone’s deeply unhappy, their smile often doesn’t match up. It’s like they’re putting on a mask, trying to show the world they’re fine.

If you look closely, their eyes might tell a different story. They might lack that spark or warmth that usually comes with a real, hearty smile.

It’s subtle, but it’s there – a smile that’s just going through the motions.

When you’re chatting with a friend or a colleague, take a moment to notice their smile. It might just be a small sign they’re dealing with more than they’re letting on.

2. They’re the ‘Cancel Last Minute’ Friend

Okay, so we all have those days when we just can’t make it to plans we’ve made. But have you noticed a friend who’s always bailing out at the last minute?

I’ve had a friend like this. Every time we planned something, there’d be a last-minute text, “Hey, sorry, can’t make it today.”

At first, I thought they were just flaky. But then I realized, this could be a sign they’re struggling with deeper unhappiness.

They might say yes initially because they don’t want to let anyone down or they hope they’ll feel up for it.

But when the time comes, they just can’t muster the energy or mood to go through with it. It’s not about being unreliable; it’s about something going on beneath the surface that’s holding them back.

3. Their World Has Shrunk

There was a time when I noticed my world getting smaller. And that’s a sign of deep unhappiness I’ve seen in others too. It’s when someone starts to withdraw from the things they used to love.

Maybe they were once the life of the party, always up for an adventure, or passionate about their hobbies.

But now? It’s like their world has narrowed down to just getting through each day.

They lose interest in their hobbies, stop making plans, and their social circle seems to just evaporate.

It’s not just about being introverted or enjoying some alone time; it’s a loss of interest in life itself.

It’s a tough thing to witness, especially in someone you care about. It’s raw, it’s real, and it’s a glaring sign that they’re grappling with something much deeper.

4. They’re Always ‘Fine’

When someone is deeply unhappy, they might not show it in the ways you’d expect.

Instead of looking sad or down, they often wear a mask of being ‘just fine.’ It’s like they’ve got this automatic response locked and loaded: “I’m fine.” But it’s not just a casual ‘fine.’ It’s a shield, a way to deflect any deeper inquiry into how they’re really feeling.

We expect unhappy people to show it openly, to wear their heart on their sleeve. But in reality, many people hide their struggles behind a facade of normalcy.

They keep up appearances, pretending everything is okay, even when they’re falling apart inside.

It’s a coping mechanism, a way to avoid burdening others or facing their own feelings head-on.

5. Their Sense of Humor Has Changed

I remember a friend who always had the best jokes. No matter the situation, they could make anyone laugh.

But then, I noticed a shift. Their humor started to take a darker turn, almost bitter.

This can be a subtle yet telling sign of deep unhappiness. When someone is going through a rough patch, their humor might change.

It could become more cynical, sarcastic, or even non-existent. It’s like they’re using humor as a mask, but the mask doesn’t quite fit anymore.

Instead of light-hearted jokes, there’s an edge to their laughter, a hint of something more going on beneath the surface.

It’s not always obvious, and sometimes we just pass it off as them having a ‘different’ sense of humor.

But if you know them well, you’ll feel that change, and it’s a sign worth paying attention to.

6. They’ve Lost Interest in Self-Care

Have you ever noticed someone who used to take pride in their appearance suddenly stop caring as much?

It might be small changes at first – maybe they’re not dressing as sharply as they used to, or their grooming habits have slipped a bit.

It’s not about vanity or trying to impress others; it’s more about how they view themselves.

When someone is deeply unhappy, self-care often takes a back seat. It’s like they lose the motivation to put effort into how they present themselves to the world.

This isn’t just about having a bad hair day or wearing comfy clothes on a lazy Sunday.

It’s a gradual shift where they seem to lose that spark or desire to look and feel their best. It’s a subtle sign, but it speaks volumes about what might be going on inside.

7. Their Sleep Patterns Are All Over the Place

Here’s a hard truth: when someone’s deeply unhappy, their relationship with sleep often tells a story.

I’ve seen it in people close to me. They either sleep all the time, trying to escape their reality, or they’re up at all hours, haunted by their thoughts.

It’s not just the occasional restless night or a lazy weekend morning. It’s a consistent pattern of either too much or too little sleep.

This sign is especially raw because it’s so deeply personal. You don’t see it in public; it’s what happens behind closed doors.

It’s about those long, lonely nights or days spent in bed, not because they’re resting, but because they don’t have the energy or will to face the world.

It’s a silent struggle, a nightly battle that often goes unseen and unheard.

8. They’re Withdrawn in Social Settings

Have you ever been at a gathering and noticed someone who’s physically there but seems miles away mentally? That’s our eighth sign.

When someone is deeply unhappy, they might still show up to social events, but they’re not really ‘there.’

They might be quiet, disengaged, or seem lost in their own thoughts. It’s not just shyness or being introverted; it’s a noticeable shift from how they used to interact.

They might avoid conversations, or when they do speak, their responses are brief and lack enthusiasm.

This withdrawal isn’t always obvious, especially in larger groups where their silence can go unnoticed.

But it’s a significant indicator that they’re struggling internally, even in the midst of others.

9. They’re No Longer Excited About the Future

This one hits a bit close to home. I recall a time when a close friend, who was always full of plans and dreams for the future, suddenly stopped talking about what’s next.

It’s a poignant sign of deep unhappiness when someone loses their sense of hope or excitement for the future.

They might stop making plans, no longer set goals, or seem indifferent about upcoming events.

It’s not just a phase of being unsure; it’s a profound shift from their usual forward-looking self.

This lack of enthusiasm for the future can be subtle, often masked by phrases like “I’m just living in the moment.” 

But what it really signals is a loss of that spark, that drive that propels us forward. It’s a quiet yet significant sign that they might be struggling with deeper issues.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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