8 small things you’re doing that make people dislike you, according to psychology

As human beings, we all strive for acceptance, love, and positive interactions.

However, sometimes, our own habits and behaviors can unknowingly push others away.

These behaviors may seem insignificant to us, but they can be quite off-putting to those around us. Often, these are small things we’re doing that make people dislike us, without us even realizing it.

Psychology gives us a unique insight into these patterns of behavior and why they might be causing friction in our relationships.

In this article, I’ll discuss these subtle habits and actions that could be costing you friendships and creating a negative impression on others.

As you read, remember that the goal is not to devolve into harsh self-judgment but to understand and take steps towards positive change for better relationships.

1) You’re being a Negative Nancy

Being a constant source of negativity is one habit that could be making people dislike you.

People generally gravitate towards positivity and optimism. If you’re always the one bringing down the mood or reminding everyone of the worst possible outcomes, it can be draining for others and may cause them to avoid interacting with you.

Negativity can take many forms, and it’s not always as clear as being a consistent complainer. It can be subtle, such as always focusing on the worst-case scenarios, being skeptical about everything, or only highlighting the flaws in any given situation.

Negativity can also make you appear as if you’re always trying to bring others down to your level of unhappiness, which is not a trait people typically appreciate.

While it’s okay to express your worries and concerns, if your conversations are consistently filled with negativity, it may be time to reassess and work on adopting a more balanced outlook.

2) You don’t listen

Another seemingly small habit that can cause people to dislike you is a lack of active listening.

We all like to be heard and to feel that our words and feelings are valued. This is where active listening comes into play. It’s not just hearing the words someone is saying, but truly understanding and engaging with them.

If you’re always ready to jump in with your own story or advice, or constantly check your phone during conversations, you’re signaling to the other person that you’re not really interested in what they have to say. This can lead to feelings of frustration, insignificance, and eventually distaste.

So next time you engage in a conversation, try to really listen—show interest, ask follow-up questions, and give responses that show you’ve understood. You’ll be surprised at how much this small change can improve your relationships.

3) You apologize too much

It might seem like a polite and considerate thing to do, but saying “sorry” too often can actually be off-putting.

When you apologize for every little thing, even those that are not your fault or out of your control, you can come off as insecure or lacking confidence. This constant need for reassurance can be exhausting for others to handle.

Furthermore, over-apologizing can diminish the impact of your real apologies. When you say sorry all the time, it loses its meaning, making your genuine apologies seem less sincere.

Instead, aim for expressing gratitude where you might usually apologize.

For instance, instead of saying “sorry, I’m late,” try “thanks for waiting for me.” This not only refrains from undermining your self-confidence but also expresses respect and appreciation for the other person’s time.

4) You don’t keep your promises

Let’s be brutally honest here. If you’re someone who consistently breaks promises, whether they are big or small, people are going to dislike you.

Promises are a form of trust. When you say you’re going to do something and then don’t follow through, it not only disappoints the people around you but also chips away at their trust in you. It sends a clear message that your words can’t be relied on.

And no, it doesn’t matter if it’s just a small thing like bringing back a book you borrowed or showing up on time for a casual meet-up. When you make a habit of not keeping your word, even for small things, people start to question your reliability in bigger matters.

It’s simple. If you want to be liked and trusted by others, follow through on your promises. If, for some reason, you can’t, be upfront about it.

It’s better to be honest than to break someone’s trust.

5) You always judge others

People who lack empathy often use these phrases in a conversation 8 small things you're doing that make people dislike you, according to psychology

We all have our opinions and views, and that’s perfectly okay. But constantly judging others for their actions, choices, or lifestyle can make you a less likable person.

When you judge, you create a barrier between yourself and others. It’s as if you’re saying “I’m better than you” or “I know better than you”. This can make people feel unaccepted and uncomfortable around you.

Because, let’s face it, no one is perfect. We all make mistakes and we’re all learning. Being more accepting and less judgmental not only makes you more likable but also helps you grow as a person.

After all, kindness and empathy are traits that are universally appreciated.

6) You overshare

We’ve all been there. You’re having a conversation with someone, and suddenly they start sharing intimate or embarrassing details about their life that you’re not quite comfortable hearing.

It’s awkward, right?

Oversharing can be a major turn-off for people. While it’s important to open up and be genuine in your interactions, there’s a fine line between being honest and giving too much information.

When you overshare, especially in situations or relationships where it’s not appropriate, you may make others feel uncomfortable or burdened. It can also come off as self-centered, as if the conversation revolves around you and your experiences.

7) You’re forgetful

Now, we’ve all had our moments of forgetfulness—where did I put my keys? What was I supposed to buy from the store?

But there’s a certain type of forgetfulness that can rub people the wrong way, and that’s forgetting about them.

Forgetting someone’s name repeatedly, especially after they’ve corrected you a few times, can be quite off-putting. It sends a message that you don’t value them enough to remember their name.

And it’s not just about names. Forgetting important details about someone, like their birthday or something they told you in confidence, can also make them feel unimportant and overlooked.

But don’t worry, we’re not doomed to be forgetful forever! Simple techniques like repeating someone’s name when you meet them or writing down important dates can help improve your memory.

8) You lack empathy

If there’s one thing you should take away from this article, let it be this: lack of empathy is a surefire way to make people dislike you.

When you lack empathy, your interactions can come across as cold and indifferent. You may seem uninterested in others’ feelings or experiences, which can make people feel unheard and unimportant.

Remember, everyone wants to feel seen, heard, and understood. So, try to practice empathy in your interactions. Show genuine interest in their thoughts and feelings. Validate their experiences and emotions.

A little bit of empathy can go a long way in improving your relationships and making you a more likable person. After all, at the end of the day, we’re all human beings craving connection and understanding.

Final thoughts

We’ve covered a lot of ground here, highlighting some of the small things you might be doing that could potentially make people dislike you.

But remember, this article is not to point fingers or make you feel bad about yourself. Instead, it’s here to help you develop self-awareness and growth by understanding how your actions and behaviors can impact others and how you can work towards becoming a better version of yourself.

The key takeaway here is that making small changes in our behavior can significantly enhance our relationships and interactions with others.

So, take a moment to reflect on these points. Consider if any of these behaviors ring true for you, and if they do, think about how you can work on changing them.

Picture of Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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