What’s worse than a difficult person?
We all have those people in our lives that we would rather not deal with.
As Adrian Rogers said, “some people brighten up a room just by leaving it.”
But not every difficult person realizes just how difficult they are, or just how glad the people around them are to see them go away.
And it’s possible that you might be one of those people without even knowing it.
If you want to avoid being the kind of person people will cross the street to avoid, it’s important to know the warning signs.
Here are some sure signs you’re becoming the kind of person others would rather avoid.
1) You complain a lot
Despite our best efforts, the world remains imperfect. And no matter how good a life you may be living, there’s always something to complain about.
Your job. Your local sports team. Even the weather will do if you’re looking for something to be down about.
It’s okay to complain now and then, especially if you really have had a raw deal.
But no one likes a person who is constantly complaining.
Psychologist Elliott D Cohen points out that being around a complainer can make you feel trapped. The constant negativity of a person who is always complaining can make other people feel like there is no room for their own thoughts and emotions.
Plus, it’s hard to stay positive when somebody in your life is constantly reminding you of everything that’s wrong with the world.
If you find people coming to expect complaints from you, it’s a warning sign that you may be becoming difficult to be around.
2) You are a perfectionist
Perfectionism is a common personality trait. But if not managed, it can make you difficult to be around.
The thing is, we live in an imperfect world. And if you expect things to be perfect in any walk of life, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment.
Perfectionists are very difficult people because they are unwilling to compromise or accept anything other than exactly what they want.
Whether it’s in the workplace, the family, or in a romantic relationship, demanding perfection of other people is almost guaranteed to make them feel inadequate and as though they can’t possibly please you.
3) You feel like a victim
Do you consider yourself an unlucky person? Does it feel like bad things keep happening to you?
The thing is, everybody feels like that. But when you think about it logically for a second, you’ll realize it can’t possibly be true.
I’m not trying to say that you deserve everything bad that happens to you, or that you don’t have the right to sometimes feel unjustly treated by other people or by the world.
On the other hand, I am saying that to constantly portray yourself as a victim makes you very difficult to be around.
You see, a victim never sees themselves as the problem. They are forever blaming other people for everything that is wrong in their life.
If you never accept responsibility for anything that happens to you, you make it very difficult for other people to respect you.
4) You keep losing friends
Like everything else, friendships have a limited lifespan. Sometimes we move away, sometimes we have a falling out, and sometimes, formerly close relationships simply drift away over time.
That happens to all of us.
But if you are regularly losing friends, it might be time to ask yourself why.
Therapist Nicole Arzt identifies some personality traits that can make it difficult for people to keep long-term friendships:
- You talk about yourself too much
- You have a negative attitude
- You are jealous
- You gossip behind people’s backs
These are just some of the reasons why people might avoid spending time with you.
If you find yourself constantly having to make friends because your old ones keep drifting away, it may be for a number of reasons. But all of them indicate that you are becoming a difficult person to be around.
5) You get angry easily
No one likes to be around someone who flies off the handle all the time.
We all have strong feelings about some things, and sharing those strong feelings is part of what friendship is about.
On the other hand, getting angry all the time can make you exhausting to be around.
- a triggering event
- the personal qualities of the person who gets angry
- the individual’s appraisal of the event
To put it simply, nothing makes you angry. You make yourself angry in response to external events.
It’s your reaction that’s the problem, not the traffic or the boss or the idiotic comment online.
And while getting angry is a normal part of human life, constantly being angry is not.
Being around angry people is stressful for others, and so it may make them avoid you.
6) You don’t compromise
No one is saying you should be a doormat. But human relationships are built on compromise. And if you aren’t ever willing to compromise, people will notice and will not want to be around you.
To be clear, you should never compromise on your values and your principles.
But do you really need to get into a fight over what restaurant to go to?
When you refuse to meet other people in the middle, they often start to think it’s because you don’t respect them.
And constantly putting your needs ahead of those of others is a guaranteed way to make yourself difficult to be around.
7) You argue a lot
Some people just love to argue.
And while friendly debate can be fun between friends, there’s a difference between voicing an opinion and respectfully disagreeing, and arguing.
Also, if you feel like you need to always be right, you’re making it very hard for other people to be around you.
Therapist Karyl McBride points out that the need to always be right is often a sign of inner fragility. Getting caught up in your own opinions and refusing to listen to anybody else is often a sign of deep insecurity.
It’s also a very unlikable trait to have.
8) You get left out
Do you often find yourself getting left out of social occasions? Do the people around you often hang out without you?
If you are off the guest list for work functions, family events, or gatherings with friends, ask yourself why that might be. Because maybe it’s not that your friends, family, or colleagues are bad people.
Maybe it’s a sign that you’re difficult to be around.
9) You seek attention
Few things are more exhausting than someone who is constantly seeking attention.
- Do you always like to be the center of every conversation?
- Do you tend to try and top a story someone has told with a more outrageous one of your own?
- Do you talk more than anybody else in the group?
- Do you brag about your achievements?
These are all signs of someone who needs to be at the center of attention.
Unfortunately, these people are very draining to be around.
10) You are judgmental
Making snap judgments about other people is not a positive trait.
And if that’s something you do, people will soon notice.
Even if you aren’t judgmental about those around you, they will notice when you’re being judgmental about other people. And they will know that if you’re so quick to judge others, you are probably judging them behind their backs, too.
Whether that’s true or not, it makes people not want to be around you.
11) You hold grudges
Even in the most harmonious human relationship, sooner or later, somebody’s going to mess up.
But how you handle it when someone wrongs you is a major indicator of your character.
Do you forgive people readily? Or do you hold grudges?
To be clear, you don’t have to forgive people who have done serious wrong to you. But even then, dwelling on it can make you tough to be around.
That’s even more true of minor offenses.
If you haven’t forgiven someone for snubbing you at a party three years ago or are still mad about not being chosen for a project at work after eight months, you’re probably a difficult person to be around.
Don’t be difficult
There’s nothing wrong with being yourself – unless you are a difficult person to be around.
That doesn’t mean you need to change everything about yourself to fit in with any particular group. But it does mean that you should be aware of your own behaviors to see where you make things harder on other people.
Because ultimately, being difficult can only hurt your relationships, and in the long run, it will hurt you more than anyone else.