Have you ever felt like someone in your life was slipping away, bit by bit?
That’s what happened to me, way back when. The first clue came during our group hangouts.
I noticed I was often the last to know about shared plans, and our get-togethers started to feel more like unpleasant obligations than effortless fun, as it had been on previous occasions.
Slowly, the signs became clearer: awkward smiles, delayed replies, and a feeling of being on the very fringe of their inner circle. There was an undeniable distance between us—I could feel it.
It was like I was ever so slowly being phased out. And believe me, it wasn’t easy to take.
But on the bright side, this awakening spared me from a friendship that was actually falling apart.
Since then, I’ve been able to widen my friendship pool and welcome in people who aren’t afraid to address underlying tension and show up for me.
If you’re feeling how I felt in those days, you might like to read on. I’ve gathered some of the signs I noticed when my friend was distancing themselves from me, starting with not addressing me directly.
1) They won’t address you directly in a social setting
If someone tends to avoid talking to you directly, it’s time to take a closer look at where you might stand with them.
Maybe you’re in the middle of a conversation over a fun sushi dinner with friends, and the banter (and sake) is flowing.
But soon enough, you clock onto a small but noticeable pattern: there’s one particular person who won’t talk to you, but still, they will talk to everyone else. Ouch!
Sadly, there are these people who master the skill of not acknowledging your existence. And trust me, it can damn well hurt.
This indirect communication might be their passive-aggressive tool of choice. Instead of confronting their issues with you head-on, they prefer leaving you hanging and wondering.
The way people engage with you, or don’t, can say a whole lot about the way they feel about you.
2) Their facial expressions are a dead giveaway
Let’s talk body talk. If you’re not too certain about how a person feels about you, take a closer look at their body language.
The way our face and body automatically reacts to social cues can be a dead giveaway to how we really feel on the inside.
A fascinating study which explored the emotion that can be inferred from human facial movements found that dislike can be expressed through “brows furrowed, eyes wide, lips tightened.”
These little looks are what are commonly referred to as micro-expressions, which offer a sneak peek into emotions we might not even be consciously aware of. Blink and you might just miss them.
Micro-expressions show the real difference between a sincere, joy-filled grin and one that’s just a facade.
It’s the subconscious stuff that showcases the emotional nuances that lie beneath a person’s exterior.
3) They never seem to have time for you, or be available to hang out
Have you ever felt like making plans with someone is as difficult as finding that one missing sock in your apartment?
You reach out, call, and text, but it’s kind of as if they are MIA, never to return.
It hurts even more when you see that on their social media, they’re out and about enjoying life. Or worse, another friend of yours informs you of their plans with them.
So, what’s up with that?
Well, they might be subtly telling you one thing and one thing only, “You’re not all that high on my list of priorities.”
Of course, we’re all kind of busy these days. Think about it… striking the fine, almost-mythical balance of work, family, and catching up on fitness is no small feat nowadays.
But when someone consistently shows that they are not willing to carve out even an hour for you in their hectic schedule, it’s time to get real and face facts.
4) They undermine your ideas, efforts, and opinions
When you express a thought of yours, whether in a professional or personal setting, and you’re faced with a dismissive eye-roll and a condescending, off-hand remark—there’s a good chance you’re up against a person who isn’t all that keen on you.
This subtle undermining is a huge indicator that someone might not be your biggest fan.
Gradually, this kind of treatment can break down your confidence and create an atmosphere of mistrust. This is something I unfortunately know personally.
If a person wholeheartedly supports you, they should celebrate your ideas, acknowledge your hard work, and engage in open, respectful discussions about your opinions.
5) They don’t receive your jokes very well
I love those situations where you feel like you’re funny without even trying. You’re able to chuck out well-timed one liners and articulate jokes—and everybody is loving them.
Well, everybody except for that one person.
As you’re cracking most people up, there’s that one individual who is staring back at you with a blank expression.
Maybe they even give you a frosty reply, like: “Yeah, cool.”
When this happens, you might need to look a little deeper.
Are they simply not vibing with your cheese puns or dad jokes? Or are they harboring a little bit of resentment towards you?
When the time and setting is right, you might want to strike up a conversation with them.
6) They give limited responses to your questions
Let’s be real: communication is the very thing that binds us all together. Whether it is a lifelong friendship, a professional partnership, or something entirely different.
If there’s someone who recurrently feeds you back short, uninspired replies, they’re not super invested in your lines of communication, are they now?
Of course, it never feels great when someone shuts down the dialogue with terse responses. Nope.
If you’re being met with consistently limited responses, it might just be a subtle red flag that the person you’re talking to might not be your number one fan, or even your number ten fan.
7) They avoid physical contact, like hugs or handshakes
There’s nothing more awkward than someone dodging your handshake hello or hug goodbye.
Plus it’s even more cringe when it happens in front of others who see it happening. Yikes.
This kind of maneuver might actually be a sign that someone isn’t all that fond of you.
It’s important to assess whether they’re just not the touchy-feely type or maybe have personal space boundaries—which is totally fair enough, we all have our boundaries in place.
But if you notice a sudden switch in them, and they go from warm and fuzzy to cold and distant, it might be time to chat to them privately and ask what’s up.
To sum things up, you should be able to decode whether someone is a fan of your company, or not.
It can be as subtle as their furrowed brow or them not laughing at your jokes, and range to them avoiding you like a debt collector or even avoiding giving you a hug when you see they’ve embraced everyone else at the party.
Remember, you shouldn’t always take it personally—after all, we never know what is fully going on behind closed doors in someone else’s life.
If you notice any of these signs, take a moment to reflect, and consider whether the friendship is worth approaching them in a non-confrontational, empathetic manner.