“I’m not sure if people like me. I get really worried and self-conscious that I’m doing something wrong. How can you tell if a friend doesn’t like you?”
It’s not always obvious when you’re getting along with someone. You might question if your friendships or relationships are genuine. This guide will show you how to tell if people don’t like you.
If someone comes off like they don’t like you, it’s not necessarily about you. For example, they might be shy and feel too self-conscious to express liking. Some might have a personality where they just don’t show much appreciation to others. Others have poor social skills. Sometimes, people are busy, stressed, or have something on their minds.
At other times, low self-esteem or social anxiety can make us feel like people don’t like us even when they do.
Compare how they act toward you with how they act toward others. Only assume that someone might not like you if you repeatedly see that they treat you differently.
Understanding body language can help you understand if people enjoy being around you. If you find it hard to pick up on nonverbal cues, see our guide on the best body language books.
Let’s get into some universal tips to consider.
In genuine relationships, people feel content and relaxed around one another. But if someone doesn’t like you, they might respond with forced smiles during your interactions.
Here are a few ways you can tell if a smile is fake:
- The eyes are still open: people naturally squint their eyes when smiling. If their eyes aren’t squinting or crinkling, it’s a subtle sign they’re forcing their expression.
- You can see their bottom teeth: this usually happens when someone tries to fake a big smile, like when saying “cheese” and posing for a photo.
Do they keep looking down or away from you whenever you talk? If so, it could be a sign that they don’t want to listen to you, or they don’t want to be around you anymore.
It might also be a sign that you’re staring at people too intensely, and it’s making them feel uncomfortable. After all, nobody wants to feel like someone is watching their every move.
If you need to improve this skill, see our guide on eye contact.
Too much eye contact can also be a sign that someone doesn’t like you. Most people understand that a lack of eye contact could be considered rude.
At times, people may overcompensate by staring too much. This habit is unconscious, and it’s usually driven by guilt. The other person might feel ashamed that they don’t like your company. They also probably don’t want you to know how they truly feel.
The next time you’re unsure whether someone is interested in you, glance at their feet. Feet show the direction where someone wants to go. If they’re interested in you, they will point their feet towards you. If not, they’ll be pointing away- usually towards the exit or towards someone else.
Someone pointing their feet away from you doesn’t automatically mean that they don’t like you, but it’s a good signal that they’d like to leave.
In satisfying relationships, both people want to engage and interact with one another. But if someone doesn’t like you (and they don’t want to avoid you outright), they’ll take shortcuts whenever possible.
That means they’ll respond to your questions with a single “yes” or “no” or “okay.” Over text, they might react with generic emojis like a thumbs-up.
Of course, one-word answers don’t always mean someone doesn’t like you. For example, the other person might struggle with social anxiety. Or, you might not know how to ask thoughtful questions. Check out our guide for more on keeping the conversation going.
If someone keeps checking the time or glancing at their phone, it could be a sign that they’re bored or antsy and wanting to leave.
Some people can be more self-absorbed than others. But when someone is interested in you, they generally ask questions about you and your life. For example, if you ask them about their job, they’ll also ask what you do for a living.
If someone doesn’t like you, they may hog your attention by talking about themselves. They may “use you” to just vent about their day.
It’s painful to think about your own friends not liking you. Sometimes, people will be direct and honest if they have a problem. Other times, they’ll be more discreet. Consider these questions when reflecting on your friendships.
This is usually the most obvious sign that a friend doesn’t want to spend time with you. If someone doesn’t like your company, they will naturally make less of an effort to stay in touch. Instead, you’ll often find yourself calling or texting or making plans first.
Read more in our article on one-sided friendships.
At any given moment, people are balancing everything from work obligations to raising children to running errands to spending time with their partners. As we get older, friendships may fall to the wayside.
But if a friend always makes excuses as to why they can’t spend time together, this could be a serious sign. It’s even more of a red flag if you know they’re hanging out with other friends. If that’s the case, it likely means they have prioritized those relationships over yours.
Consistent flakiness could mean poor time management, but it can also mean that your friend doesn’t really value your relationship. Flakiness usually comes from the fear of missing out (fomo). Your friend may have initially made plans with you, but something “better” came up, and they decided to pursue that opportunity instead.
It’s frustrating when a friend talks over you incessantly. But it may be more than just a naive mistake. If a friend interrupts you every time you speak, it could mean your friend rarely listens to you. When you talk, instead of paying attention to you, they’re thinking about themselves.
Keep in mind this doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like you. Constant interrupting could also mean they are anxious or just generally a bad listener. But if you’ve noticed that they don’t do it when other people talk, it might be more personal.
This one applies if you observe them being affectionate with other friends. If they greet other people with a hug, but recoil when you approach them, it’s usually a sign they don’t want to be so close to you.
It’s normal to be sarcastic or make jokes with people from time to time. But if the jokes are over-the-top, it could indicate that someone doesn’t like you. Instead of saying it directly, they’re using cruel humor to put you down.
A good friend will apologize if you tell them that their joke hurt your feelings. Someone who doesn’t like you will often react with a defensive line like, it was just a joke! Don’t be so sensitive! This statement implies they don’t really care about your feelings or needs.
Real friends will respect your morals and values. If a friend keeps pressuring you into doing something, it could mean a few things:
- They feel guilty about the behavior and want you to participate to justify their actions.
- They want to sabotage your success.
- They don’t want to participate in the behavior alone.
- They think they know what’s best for you.
If you think about it, any of those reasons could imply that your friend might not really like you. If they did, they’d respect your boundary if you already told them no.
If a friend avoids you except when you’re with others, their behavior might feel confusing. However, this is usually isn’t a good sign. It could mean they don’t want to hurt your feelings by excluding you.
These friends will often put on a fake show to avoid confrontation. In front of other people, they will act like everything is fine. But they won’t engage in conversation with you privately.
It’s also a red flag if people only talk to you privately. These secret interactions might mean they are embarrassed or ashamed to be around you. If they ignore you around others, they probably don’t want other people to know you are friends.
Usually, this behavior means your friend does care about your feelings. However, it also indicates they realize other people don’t like you.
Ghosting is deliberate. It happens when someone no longer wants to keep communicating, but they don’t want to tell you the reason why. Unfortunately, ghosting has become more and more common.
Here are some telltale signs someone is ghosting you (or about to ghost you):
- They stop contacting you as much.
- When you text, they respond with one-word answers. If they usually use emojis to convey emotion, they may stop altogether.
- They don’t show any interest when you talk about making future plans. Instead, they might respond with a vague, we’ll see, or let me think about it.
- They seem to always be on their phone, but they rarely text or call you.
- They stop responding to all your messages.
You’ll find relevant advice in our guide on what to do if you have no friends.
Getting along with colleagues is undoubtedly important for enjoying and succeeding in your job. Sometimes, it can be challenging to tell if people like you at work. Here are some clues.
Have you ever walked into a meeting or the break room and felt the energy shifted? The room fell quiet, people looked down at their feet or exchanged glances at one another, and things felt awkward?
If so, it could mean they were just talking about you- or they were talking about something they don’t want to share with you.
With time, even while remaining professional, most coworkers tend to relax around one another. They might complain about work or make jokes or try to get to know you on a personal level.
But if someone doesn’t like you, they may react by acting extremely polite. Usually, this response comes from a place of guilt or fear. They don’t want you to know their true feelings, and they believe overcompensating with politeness may squash any doubt you have.
Depending on the workplace, it’s normal for some level of competition to exist among coworkers. After all, everyone wants to succeed, and you’re usually stacked against each other for the same promotions.
But if everything seems like a contest, tournament, or bet with someone, pay attention. This pattern could be a sign that they value outperforming you over actually having a real relationship.
Gossip is relatively common, and coworkers often bond with others by gossipping about workplace drama. however, there’s a classic saying that, someone who gossips to you will also gossip about you.
In general, it’s a good idea to avoid gossiping at all while at work. People twist words, and you never know what could get back to someone else. If you’re complicit in gossiping, it can also get you in trouble with your boss or HR.
If a coworker doesn’t like you, they may boss you around or demean you. Their behavior sends the strong message that you are inferior to them. They may give you orders or push extra work onto you.
They might also scrutinize your mistakes and run to your boss to try to get you into trouble. Any of these signs strongly indicate that they probably don’t respect you.
It’s normal to disagree in some work environments. In fact, different perspectives can be useful- these variances can help strengthen the workplace and improve problem-solving skills.
But if a coworker always turns down your suggestions, they might not like you. This also applies if they laugh or make mean comments like, why would you even suggest that?
A toxic coworker may subtly or directly lead you into quitting your job with comments like:
- You deserve so much better than this place!
- Wow, you’ve been working here for a really long time. When are you planning on leaving?
- You would be great working for ____!
Of course, some well-meaning coworkers might also encourage you to quit your job. The difference is that these people will usually do so after you’ve shared an exciting opportunity with them. Toxic coworkers will make these kinds of statements randomly.
Romantic partners often give some or all of the mentioned red flags when they don’t like you. Here are a few more signs to consider.
When someone feels excited about your long-term potential, they want to introduce you to their loved ones. If they don’t start bringing you around family or friends by the one-year mark, it could mean they don’t see you two having a future.
If your partner is serious about you, they will prioritize spending time with you first. That doesn’t mean they don’t spend time with their friends. However, they should want to spend most of their free time with you.
Every relationship is unique when it comes to sex and intimacy. It’s normal to have some fluctuations, especially during stressful times. But if things have changed abruptly and they act defensive if you try to talk about it, it could mean they’re losing interest or withdrawing from you.
At the same time, it can also be a concern if someone only wants to hook up with you. Relationships are so much more than sex. Ideally, you two should also be connecting through conversation, going on dates, spending time with loved ones, and even just lounging together.
When someone is serious about a relationship, they talk about things like money, moving in together, marriage, having children, etc. Even if you’ve only been together for a few months, it’s normal to talk about future plans like vacations.
If your partner seemingly freaks out whenever you bring these topics up, it could be a red flag that they don’t intend to commit to you.
If your partner constantly puts you down, it’s a sign they don’t really care about you. In healthy relationships, both partners respect one another. Both partners also know that mistakes are normal, and that it doesn’t mean the other person is bad, stupid, or otherwise unlovable.
For more on healthy relationships, we recommend this extensive guide by Love Is Respect.