12 things you don’t realize you’re doing that make people uncomfortable around you

People will feel uncomfortable when they feel that they are out of their depth. It’s normal to feel a little uncomfortable when you’re trying new things!

However, there are certain things you can do in social situations that make people feel uncomfortable that aren’t as subjective.

Here are 12 of them!

1) Negative self-talk.

If you’re openly self-destructive, it can be uncomfortable for other people to hear – even if they’re close to you.

Most human beings are empathetic and will want to help you! But if you aren’t willing to listen or are chronically negative about yourself, it can make interacting with you difficult.

If you’re constantly hard on yourself, you will challenge the way people connect to their empathy.

Their emotional body will tell them that you need to be approached with care, but they also know that that’s due to your lack of self-accountability.

Which will create an imbalance in the dynamic where the detriments will be felt in the long run.

2) Venting about the same things over and over again.

If your conversations with people are circling the same negative avenues, it can put people on edge.

Especially if you aren’t open to hearing and applying certain advice they may give to you.

For example, if you spend your time complaining about your toxic relationship more than talking about how to leave it.

At a certain point, people may feel uncomfortable validating your self-destructive cycles. And also not feel comfortable saying anything about it.

Which just creates an environment where things seem fine on the surface but there’s so much tension underneath it.

This also makes people feel like their only purpose in the relationship is to be your casual therapist, and make them feel devalued.

3) Being overly defensive.

Being overly defensive means you can’t put your guard down for the greater good. And this one applies specifically to group settings where everyone needs to contribute to the harmony.

Sure, sometimes there are times when a group is collectively heading somewhere that isn’t in alignment with you.

But finding a common ground takes time and patience. If you aren’t able to civilly speak your perspective and listen just as intently, it can make others uncomfortable.

It can also happen in conversations where you deem everything as an attack to you. 

Taking things too personally can result in misunderstandings and unnecessary conflict. It can make the people around you feel wrongly accused and break their trust.

Even if you feel slighted, it’s important to talk about your feelings in a constructive and healthy way. 

4) Being overly needy.

Having needs is normal.

But sometimes, you can express it in a way that puts too much pressure on the other person. Especially if you’ve just met them.

Saying things that allude to how you’d be barren if someone left you is manipulative as well as unrealistic.

Same goes for not respecting people’s need for personal space.

A lot of people can act overly needy for fear of rejection. And also because they want to express how much someone means to them!

phrases to avoid if you want to sound like a strong and confident person 1 12 things you don’t realize you’re doing that make people uncomfortable around you

That’s where prioritizing balance and yourself can help you not engage in these behaviors. You shouldn’t be asking for more energy from others than you can give to yourself.

5) Comparing yourself to others.

Expressing your jealousy to someone in an overt or covert way can seem like you’re flattering them.

But it’s actually not.

People who have a good sense of confidence know that they are capable and don’t need to compare themselves to others.

When you express envy, it ultimately puts people in a weird position. Where they don’t want to be above you, but you put them there.

So are they supposed to put themselves down now?

No one deserves to feel self-conscious for feeling good about themselves. 

Even if you mean well, save that energy and spend it on how you can improve your relationship with yourself.

6) Pointing out people’s physical flaws.

Because perhaps these things aren’t even flaws, but you’re just exposing where you feel insecure about yourself.

Even if it’s done with good intent, avoid making weird comments about people’s weight, haircut or anything that can’t be resolved in 15 seconds.

Constantly making comments about other people’s appearance can also make you seem shallow. And it will make people feel self-conscious around you. 

Even if you haven’t made comments about them specifically.

7) Singling people out.

I’ve seen this happen a lot in work environments and other group settings where there is a hierarchy.

Some people that are in leadership positions tend to power trip and think that evades them from having empathy.

Sometimes, it’s expected of them too!

If you want to talk to someone to help them improve their performance, do it in private.

This also goes for people who use others as an example of what not to do. Which is a complete disregard for that person’s dignity!

Even if it feels like you’re doing something for the greater good, if it leaves someone out in the process, it’s doing more damage than anything.

8) Questioning people’s personal choices or identity.

Sometimes it’s good to be curious, sometimes it’s not.

Even if you’re just trying to understand, some questions are better for Google.

For example, asking about someone’s gender identity or subjects related to their culture.

It can come off a bit insensitive and microaggressive because you can sound like you’re using them as an encyclopedia.

Like you’re putting it all on them to teach you about something… which can feel like a lot on the receiving end.

There are other circumstances like questioning someone’s style or decision to move somewhere.

You can come off like you’re trying to make them doubt themselves. 

Of course, every situation is different. Just remember that people have feelings and you wanting answers shouldn’t overpower that.

9) Not offering options.

This also happens a lot in group environments where there’s certain power dynamics at play.

You can’t make everyone comfortable all the time, but if you’re in a leadership position, it should be a priority.

People who are secretly insecure often use these 12 words or phrases 1 12 things you don’t realize you’re doing that make people uncomfortable around you

And not giving certain options can make people think that you don’t care. Or like they have to hide certain feelings.

For example, if there’s a community event, offer multiple options for good because some people might have dietary restrictions!

The responsibility of making others feel more comfortable should be on the person with the most power. 

So while everyone should speak up for themselves, it’s important to note that it’s not always realistic to think that way.

10) Forced conversations.

I understand that silence can feel a bit uncomfortable sometimes. But it can be more uncomfortable trying to fill it with meaningless small talk.

Especially if one party doesn’t want to engage in it.

If a person appears to be immersed in whatever they’re doing, it’s best to leave them alone unless you need something from them.

Some people are also more reserved than others. And it’s best to not force them to open up, especially if you aren’t that close to them.

For example, don’t distract someone at your workplace just because you have the free time for a chit chat.

11) Leaving things in the dark.

Making strenuous effort to avoid confrontation, being a poor communicator, or hiding things you shouldn’t can all be an example of this.

Avoiding difficult conversations or decisions can make people feel like there isn’t enough effort from your part. 

Or not saying what you need until it’s a Need with a capital N can also affect the trust people have for you negatively.

Similarly, taking too long to respond to someone or not telling someone when you need help might make you appear unreliable.

No one is perfect, but communicating more effectively can help the other person feel less burdened to keep the balance.

No one likes to be constantly reminded, and no one likes doing it either.

12) Not respecting communal spaces.

This is about reading the room.

It’s important to match the energy of a room when you enter it.

Sure, sometimes the party doesn’t start until you walk in! But not everything is a party, unfortunately.

How well you can fit into a group setting can show everyone how you might work with them. It expresses your level of respect for others and the collective peace.

But it’s also about the physical environment! Can you leave a place the same or better than you found it?

If you create a ruckus everywhere you go, it will make people feel like they’ll need to exert more time to clean up after you.

Which they’d like to avoid doing if possible.

A lot of these are rooted in good intentions, or just lack thereof.

But remember: your good intentions should take into consideration everyone else involved. It shouldn’t just be about your own will.

If you want your relationships to last, try taking a step back to see where you can have more balance in the relationship.

It’s all about staying consistent in your efforts.

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

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.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.