“Why Don’t People Like Me?” Ask These 5 Questions Instead

wondering “why don’t people like me?”

Why Don’t People Like Me

All of us want to feel loved and accepted by others. Nothing hurts like feeling that other people do not like you. It is hard not to judge our self-worth by what others think of us. Yet, being popular does not make you a good person, nor does being unpopular make you a bad one. Still, if you are wondering “Why don’t people like me?” it is a good sign that there is something wrong. To determine what is wrong, ask yourself these five questions instead.

1: Why do I think that people don’t like me?

Just because you think that people don’t like you, that does not make it true. You could be feeling this out of your own insecurities. Who are these people who you think don’t like you?

There are a lot of people in the world. It is highly unlikely that there is not anyone who likes you. How about your mother? Your family? Your close friends?

There is not one person who is liked by everyone. Think about it. Do you like everyone that you have to interact with? It is a good bet that you like some people and don’t like others. Who you like and don’t like says more about you than anyone else.

Also, your own belief that people don’t like you may be the very thing pushing them away. You may be consciously or unconsciously sending signals to other people that you do not want them around. This can turn your belief into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Try to step outside your emotions and insecurities and really examine why you feel like people don’t like you…whoever these “people” may be. Does it feel like people avoid you? Are there some people who are mean to you? Has anyone told you outright that they do not like you?

When you think through that, it may turn out that you are liked by the people who you want and need to like you. Even if this is not true, having specific facts at hand will help you troubleshoot what may be going on…and what, if anything, you want to do about it.

2: Am I a fish out of water?

People naturally gravitate to other people who are like them and keep their distance from those that are different. This tendency can lead to nasty and harmful behavior such as discrimination and even persecution of those that are different. Yet, it is far more common for people to just quietly choose to spend time with those that they can relate to.

There is a great deal of diversity in the world, and there are many differences in people that do not show on the surface. It is easy to tell if you are a different race than those around you, but it could be that you have different interests than others. It could be that your natural personality does not fit in well with the culture you were born into.

In the past, we were often stuck with the people we were surrounded by. You would have to either find a way to fit in with those around you or just accept your place as an outsider. While there are some places in which this is still the case, the internet has opened the doors for people to find others that are like them, no matter how eccentric they happen to be.

If this is the case, you may want to take the time to find where you belong. Finding people who understand you and like you for who you are can be very healing. This will also give you confidence, which will make it easier for you to handle being with people who are not like you and will make you more likable overall.

3: Am I challenging prejudices or preconceptions?

Related to the question of whether you are a fish out of water is the question of whether you are challenging the prejudices and preconceptions of others. Everyone has prejudices of some kind or another. People like their world to be predictable, and part of the way that they do that is to make quick assessments of others based on an easily identifiable trait.

Obvious prejudices are those based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. Others are based on body size, disability, or physical beauty or lack thereof. Usually, we think of these prejudices and preconceptions generating negative beliefs about others, but they can also generate positive or neutral ones.

Some people enjoy having their prejudices and preconceptions challenged. Most, however, do not. If by your very nature you are challenging people’s prejudices and preconceptions, they may not like you.

For example, many have a belief that men are supposed to be strong and unemotional, especially if you are straight. You may be sensitive and express your emotions easily. This may make people dislike you because you are challenging their assumptions and expectations.

If this is what is going on, you have choices in how you want to handle this. It may be that you decide to accept the situation as it is. You are who you are. Not everyone is going to like you. The reality is that this is true for everyone.

Some people will like you just as you are. You might not be super popular, and you might not have a lot of friends. The friends that you do have will be good and true.

You might also decide to keep quiet about some things about you, particularly to those you don’t know very well. This may help you get along better with some people. On the other hand, you probably will not get very close to anyone you are hiding things from.

4: Do I have a bad habit that I am not aware of?

You cannot know what you look like without looking into a mirror. Similarly, we cannot know what we look like to other people from the outside unless they tell us. If it feels like people do not like you, perhaps you have a bad habit that you are not aware of.

Maybe you talk too much or too loudly. Perhaps you interrupt people regularly. It could be that you have a cold and hard demeanor that pushes people away. You might have bad manners. All of these things can make it hard for people to enjoy being around you.

So, how will you know if there is a bad habit you are not aware of? If you are lucky, someone will tell you or has already told you. It can be hard to hear things that are negative about ourselves, so you might have dismissed what you were told. Perhaps you got defensive and drove those who told you away.

If one person, or even two or three people, have told you something, it may or may not be accurate. Yet, if you have been told something by many people, particularly in different contexts, it may very well be something that you need to work on.

It is possible that no one has told you. In this case, it might be good to seek out feedback from someone you can trust. Perhaps you could ask a good friend. You might also try a parent, a trusted relative, or even a counselor or therapist.

Do not ask until you are ready to hear what they might tell you. It is not easy telling a person things that they do not want to hear, and they will probably be feeling nervous being so honest with you. No one is perfect and everyone has faults. Whether it feels like it or not, they are doing you a favor by telling you their honest perceptions.

Once you know about your bad habits, you can now start to take action to change them. First start by noticing them, without getting too down on yourself for them. It takes time to change. Go easy on yourself…one step at a time.

5: Am I focusing too much on myself?

We are social creatures, and everyone wants to be liked by others. Yet, the truth of the matter is that most of the time, others are not focused on you…they are focused on themselves. Spending excessive time worrying about what others think of you can border on egotism and self-centeredness.

This in and of itself can turn people off to you. There is nothing that makes a person more unlikeable than going around trying to be liked.

Instead, see if you can turn your focus towards others and the common good. Is there something that you can do to be of service to people? Can you find something else to occupy your thoughts and your time other than worrying about whether people like you? Can you take some time to think about the needs and concerns of others?

People tend to like others who care about them and who have interesting things to say. This cannot be faked. Most people instinctively know when someone is genuinely concerned about them or just putting on a show.

You might find that when you stop worrying about whether people like you, more and more people start to enjoy your company.