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15 surprising reasons you don’t like people (and what to do about it)

Ever since you’re a kid, you kinda hate humanity as a whole and you simply find it hard to like certain people.

Now that you’re older, well…you still feel the same way but you want to work it out because you realize just how much harm it’s been doing to your social life!

In this article I will tell you 15 possible reasons why you don’t like people, and what you can do about it.

1) You expect too much out of people

A very likely reason why you don’t like people might be that you might be setting your expectations a bit too high. And when your expectations are a bit too high, it’s inevitable that you will find yourself disappointed. Repeatedly.

Now, that’s not to say that it’s a bad thing to have standards.

For example, if you’re a manager at a multimillion-dollar company, you would want to hold your subordinates to a high standard if you want to succeed. But there’s a time and place for perfection.

What to do:

  • Ease up! If you find yourself grumbling because you saw someone mess up, ask yourself whether it’s really that big of a deal.
  • Try to put yourself in others’ shoes. After all, nobody is perfect—not even you!
  • Try to be kind even if you’re right.

2) You think people are shallow

Even if you don’t expect perfection from others, you might still find yourself thinking that everyone else is just way too shallow.

You might think of yourself as someone who puts no value whatsoever in material belongings, and find it pointless or even disgusting when other people try to compare their outfits or show off their brand new sports cars.

Most people, of course, are materialistic. Most people are sometimes shallow…yep, even you.

It’s perfectly fine for your sensibilities and priorities to be different from everyone else’s.

But should you really hold people in contempt because you think they’re living their lives wrong?

After all, if it makes them happy why should you think any less of them for it?

What to do:

  • Keep in mind that you’re not a better person for judging those who you think are “shallow.” In fact, being judgmental makes you a shallow person as well.
  • Try to understand people and why they like what it is they like before you judge them. Avoid going off assumptions and preconceived notions.

3) You think other people are dumb

You’d be on Twitter… happily browsing your feed when you find yourself smacked in the face by a hot take so braindead you want to pull all your hair. You can’t believe such a human exists!

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Or you might be talking to an old buddy of yours from high school, and all of a sudden they tell you “The Earth is flat and I can prove it.”

You find yourself in disbelief that this guy even graduated from high school.

The sad thing is that with how interconnected things have become thanks to the internet, it has become easier and easier for people to show the world just how few brain cells they have working in their noggin.

You might even get into arguments with these people and die inside as they dig their heels, prove their unwillingness to listen or see reason, and double down.

What to do:

  • As difficult as it may be at first, try to not react right away. Try not to be too judgmental. Understand that there are simple people who are not capable of thinking the way you do. Maybe they didn’t have the privilege of good education like you had.
  • Instead of avoiding them, do the world a favor and try to influence them instead. It’s challenging but if everyone tries to engage with “dumb” people in a healthy way, things would be so much better.
  • Of course, acknowledge that you’re not the smartest person, either. A little humility will do your social life good.

4) You take social media at face value

Whether it’s people being way too dramatic, petty, or plastic as all hell, being on social media certainly has a way of exposing you to people who even the most patient among us would find annoying.

You have probably spent enough time online that when you can’t help but judge these people on sight.

Why do they have to post their heavily filtered photos 10 times a day?!

Why do they have to be too political every damn time?!

I hear ya.

It’s hard to fault you for growing cold and uncaring. It just comes with the territory of getting exposed to these sorts of people. They might have even been a serious thorn on your side for a while too!

And that’s a bad thing.

No matter how annoying someone might be on the internet, it’s very important that we remind ourselves that there’s a person on the other side of the screen and that we all bear our own burdens.

That girl who keeps on posting pretty pics on Instagram as if she’s living the perfect life? Maybe her life is in shambles, and playing pretend on Instagram might be her only way to cope with reality.

What to do:

  • Remind yourself that no matter how much people share on social media, there’s so much more going on in real life that’s left unsaid. Every single person you meet online is still a real, breathing person.
  • Be kind! If you have nothing nice to say, then shut your mouth. Don’t get into arguments for the sake of it.
  • Hide, unfollow, or deactivate if you find yourself getting more and more annoyed with people.

5) You’re irritable

It’s easy to get on your nerves.

It could be small remarks that people make, or the way they conduct themselves. You might hate it when people act too familiar, are too noisy for their own good, or say off-color jokes.

In short, you find it hard to tolerate things that you find annoying or unacceptable.

And of course, the universe seems to just love throwing the most annoying, insufferable people at you. You might even be tempted to say that you’re being dipped in a sea of people you are straight up allergic to.

It’s not hard to see why being irritable can make it hard for you to relate with others. You might get ticked off and write people off before they could even express themselves properly, or before you get to know them in full.

What to do:

  • Figure out why you get irritated so easily. It can often be deeper than just “I don’t like this thing people say and do.” It can also be deceptively simple.
  • Acknowledge that you’re easily irritable, and stop and think when you are. Think about how it affects other people, and your relationships with others and think about whether it’s worth it or not.
  • Get some alone time. Sometimes all we need to become less irritable is to have some time alone to recharge.
  • Exercise, get good sleep, think of 100 happy thoughts before lunchtime. In other words, take care of yourself.

6) You hate small talk and gossip

People in general just love to gossip about random things. Like the manicure, they had the last or the juicy, scandalous affair that their neighbor had gotten themselves into.

And it makes you sick.

Or, at the very least, it makes you roll your eyes. You might try to do your best to listen, but in the end, you just zone out and think about more interesting things while their chatter dissolves into white noise.

You think it’s a waste of time at best, and a disgusting display of why these people can’t be trusted at worst. It’s even worse when you catch them bitching about a friend of yours.

Why can’t they just talk about more useful things, like the obnoxious cost of higher education or the ongoing job crisis? Why can’t they be more understanding of others, or at least go talk to people face to face instead of talking behind their back?

What to do:

  • If you can’t trust gossips, then simply don’t trust them. But do try to be civil nonetheless. They might not be worth your trust, but they’re not worth basing your perspective on people on.
  • What is ‘small talk’ to you might be very relevant to others. Likewise, topics that you think are important might be boring as hell to others and so far beyond their reach that they don’t have anything to say about it at all. Conversations are a game of give and take.
  • It would be a good idea to try to learn how to become a better conversationalist, if only to teach yourself how to handle small talk better.

7) You might be secretly introverted

Now, let me get this straight.

Not all introverts dislike other people, and being an introvert doesn’t mean you’re asocial—or even anti-social.

However, introverts have, as a rule of thumb, very little energy for social interactions. They need to disengage and find time for themselves every so often because it exhausts them to have to talk to people.

And the world is mostly extroverted. As an introvert, you might find yourself forced to talk to people when you don’t want to. And if you don’t know that you’re introverted, you might be confused why you just can’t straight up stand people sometimes and assume that the reason for that is that you resent people. That might not necessarily be the case.

What to do:

  • Try to take some tests to figure out if you’re introverted or not. Don’t be afraid—being an introvert is not necessarily a bad thing!
  • Take breaks every now and then. You might only be slightly introverted, or not at all, but we all need a little alone time to unwind. Go garden or treat yourself to a solo movie night.

8) You’re going through some tough times

Maybe you just broke up with your SO, or maybe you just got fired, or maybe there’s no reason but you’re just feeling uninspired…like your life has no direction.

You’re going through some tough times and you find it hard to like anything—least of all other people!

It might sting especially bad if you see people being way too cheerful. It’s almost insulting!

How can they be so bubbly and full of energy when things are so bad for you?

What to do:

  • Try to be kind to yourself. Whatever you’re going through is temporary, and things will eventually begin looking up again.
  • It might be tempting to detach yourself from people—and some alone time will help—but there are things we just can’t deal with alone. Try to reach out to friends and family and lean on them for support.

9) You can’t stand what you hear on the news

It seems like every other day there’s something on the news that just saps your love for humanity.

It could be your favorite celebrity being outed as an abusive partner, or someone committing mass murder in the name of an ideology, or it could be a bunch of people committing animal abuse and getting away with it.

Hearing such things all day can easily make your heart heavy and make you go “I hate people!”

But it’s not really fair to judge humanity based on what you see on the television, right?

After all, things often end up on television because they’re so noteworthy or shocking. And negativity sells, so news networks often over-represent the bad things going on in the world while failing to cover the more positive things.

Don’t be one of those grumpy old people who just keep complaining about how people suck. Sure you’re free to express your annoyance but if it becomes a habit, it will poison your mind and make you feel like every single person in this world sucks.

What to do:

  • Watch the news less often. While it’s important to be informed, exposing yourself to negativity all the time is not healthy at all.
  • Take the news with a grain of salt. Remind yourself that just because the news is overwhelmingly negative doesn’t mean that the world itself is the same. Negativity sells, as does drama. Positivity does not.
  • Look for the good and overload yourself with it. For every bad news and bad encounter, sandwich it with something good. It can eventually help you like life and people more…or at least not dislike it too much.

10) You’re a cynic

For one reason or another, you just expect the worst out of people.

You might acknowledge that people, in general, aren’t that bad, and some can be actually pretty trustworthy. But you nonetheless think that people aren’t inherently nice or selfless, and that there’s always a catch.

That person who’s being nice to you? Maybe they’re doing that to lower your guard and take advantage of you.

That person who’s complimenting your looks? They just want to get into your bed.

You might feel like your cynicism is deserved because you’ve encountered too many bad people. But unfortunately, cynicism also gets in the way of building friendships.

Nobody likes being around someone who keeps doubting them and refuses to show them any trust.

What to do:

  • Give each person the benefit of the doubt. They deserve it…until they don’t.
  • Express gratitude. Even if you think in the back of your head that people have ulterior motives for being nice, try to offer your sincerest thank you to any gestures of goodwill you are given. You have nothing to lose, and it might just put you in a more positive headspace.
  • Try to present yourself as more positive than you actually are. Eventually, you will actually become more positive. Yep, fake it ‘til you make it.
  • Discuss your issues with someone you trust.

11) You don’t love yourself that much

A very likely—if overlooked—reason behind why you find it hard to like others might be because you simply don’t love yourself. You might balk and go “What, no? I love myself!” but hear me out.

How we feel about the world reflects our feelings deep inside.

You might have very low self-esteem, and because of that it’s easy to feel jealous of others’ successes, or think that they’re ‘showing off’ when they indulge. Or you might hate something that’s part of you, or be in denial over it, and push that self-hate externally.

And this makes it hard to even begin to like people.

And sometimes pushing all that hate externally can make you feel good, which obscures the fact that a lack of self-love lies at the heart of the problem.

This might apply to you, or it might not, and it definitely takes a lot of thinking to figure it all out.

What to do:

  • Whether or not you’re sure that the problem is a lack of self-love, keep an eye out for times when you feel tempted to bring someone else down. Why did you want to tear them down, and what have you to gain?
  • Look out for and celebrate the small victories you make. Then try to do the same to others.

12) You don’t feel like you can be true to yourself around others

You just don’t feel like others understand you, and that if you try to be yourself around people you will be judged and scorned.

So you hide your true self to spare yourself that pain. And sometimes you just can’t help it. You might be a nerd growing up around people who think dissing nerds is the coolest thing ever. Or you might be gay in a society that revels in homophobia.

Having to hide who you are can certainly make you resent people, and it’s totally understandable. Nobody should have to live like that!

What to do:

  • If you really don’t feel safe being yourself around others, look for a time and place where you can be yourself without others.
  • Don’t beat yourself up for retracting into your shell all the time. Do it if you want to feel safe. It’s not your fault that you just feel like you don’t belong. But also try to be open. Maybe you’ll get to like them one day.

13) You’ve been through enough pain

You have been hurt one time too many and now you’re just DONE!

You might have gotten rejected, dumped, or cheated too many times. Or you might have had people who you trusted and thought were your friends turn on you and kick you out.

And who wouldn’t hate people after going through all that?

It’s never an easy thing to have your trust broken and your heart crushed. And being wary of people—hating them, even—is a completely understandable reaction.

You will need time and space to heal.

But while you should continue to be wary, you should avoid letting your pain make you dislike people as a whole. There are plenty of good people out there, and it wouldn’t do you any favors to push them away or hurt them just to spare yourself the pain.

What to do:

  • Set clear boundaries, and be careful with who you let into your life. Only give your trust to people who have proven themselves worthy of trust, but don’t antagonize people who have yet to earn it.
  • Seek therapy if you can afford it. Pain of such degree that it makes you hate people can be considered a trauma, and is best treated by therapists. If you can spend big bucks on a pair of shoes, surely you can invest in your mental health.

14) You haven’t met the right people

This brings me to my next point. Maybe you just haven’t met the right people!

For whatever reason, you just can’t seem to get along with the people around you. You could be the single vegan in a sea of meat-eaters, or it could be that no matter how hard you try to adjust you just can’t relate to people.

But the fact is that you just aren’t on the same wavelength with the people around you.

So you become lonely and resentful.

How come everyone seems to get along just fine while you’re actively rejected at worst, or overlooked and ignored at best?

It is inevitable, sadly, that some of us will grow up surrounded by people who just don’t get us. But take heart—it’s a big world, and if you keep looking you will eventually find your place in this world.

What to do:

  • Don’t force yourself to get along with people you just can’t jive with. But at the same time, remember to stay civil. Just because you don’t run on the same wavelength doesn’t mean you have to reject them!
  • Go out and look for your tribe. Look for groups of people who share the same advocacies or hobbies as you and reach out. Join any online groups and offline meet-ups you can find.

15) You just think it’s cool

Perhaps the weirdest, yet most overlooked reason why you might dislike people is… you just think it’s cool.

You might not think it is cool right now, but you might have thought it was once, and being that person who likes nobody simply became a habit you haven’t broken out of.

And it’s not as unthinkable as it seems. Media—especially those catering to teens—glorifies people who like being ‘different’ and treat other people in contempt.

They are edgy, the misfits, the smart alecks…they’re made to appeal to our inner rebel. And some of us take these media stereotypes too seriously and imitate them.

As you grow older, you might then realize that being that brooding, edgy, and anti-social person isn’t all that it’s cut out to be and want out. But it’s too hard to break free from the personality that you’re comfortable to wear.

What to do:

  • Remind yourself that being a brooding, edgy person for no reason isn’t at all that cool. Even if you have already realized this, it helps for you to remind yourself of this very often to help yourself break out of the habit.
  • Look for wholesome stories on the internet and in the media. Hearing about all the good things people have done in this world makes it harder for you to hate people as a whole.
  • Look for cool people who actually don’t hate other people too much. Hopefully, you’ll slowly emulate them.

Conclusion

There are many different reasons why you might dislike people but we all know that you can’t live this way forever.

It’s a harmful state of mind and it’s best that you try to find ways to break out of the habit.

You don’t want to be in the same room with The Grinch or Cruella De Vil, so try not to be one. It might seem difficult to be a ray of sunshine if you’ve always felt like you’re a dark cloud but it’s not impossible!

There’s a lot you can do for yourself…small things that cultivate a more generally positive way of thinking.

But before doing any of that, here’s a strong recommendation: start with loving yourself first. Fill your cup with so much love that it will spill on others. This will make the other steps so easy.

Written by 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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