5 Things You Do That Push People Away (Without Realizing It)

Everyone has their own list of things people do that they find unappealing, or consider as “turn-offs”. Whether it’s when people brag about their accomplishments, are heavy gossipers, or openly judge others without second thought, behaviors like these are found intolerable by many. But at the same time, many of us can fall victim to these certain unattractive behaviors (even unknowingly), and as a result, can unintentionally push other people away from us. While you personally might be able to name a lot more off the top of your head, here are 5 things you do that push people away (without realizing it).

1. Not Being True to Your Word

Being true to your words means following through with promises or assurances you’ve made. When we’re able to do so, it demonstrates trustworthiness, responsibility, and accountability.

On the other hand, when we’re unable to stick to our word, we demonstrate the opposite of these traits, which also, in turn, unintentionally push away those affected.

You might personally know how disappointing it can feel when you’re promised something, but then end up never seeing through to it from the other person. Not only can it feel disappointing, but it can also make someone feel led on, left hanging, and can make them lose trust in you. Feeling like this can be hurtful, and it serves more than enough reason for someone to distance themselves.

It’s normal for things to slip our mind at times, especially if we’ve got a lot on our plate to begin with. What’s not normal or acceptable, through, is leaving people hanging when we’re unable to fulfill a promise we’ve made them.

If you find it hard to remember to carry out pinky-promises or deals you’ve made, an easy fix is to write them down like any other task. Whether you choose to keep a post-it note reminder by your desk, or set a reminder in your phone, there are many ways to help keep things from slipping our mind for good.

Or, if down the line, you remember a long-overdue promise you made and didn’t fulfill, the best you can do is hold yourself accountable by sincerely apologizing, and not only find ways to make it up to the person, but also making sure you don’t let the past repeat itself.

2. Being Rude

As humans, sometimes, we let rude comments slip, and accidentally do mean things in the heat of the moment; however, whether intentional or not, rude behavior is something that can push other people away from you, as it doesn’t go unnoticed or overlooked.

Putting distance between yourself and other people doesn’t always just result from being directly rude to them. Behavior like being rude to waiters/waitresses, coworkers, and strangers also demonstrates disrespectfulness all the same, but is observed by others as well. To them, it can be seen as a reflection of your character, and can suggest that you lack concern for other people’s feelings. Being rude can also paint you as someone who thinks they’re superior, which definitely isn’t something found praiseworthy, nor the kind of person people typically want to associate with.

While being rude doesn’t go overlooked, neither does kindness, and a simple fix to avoid being rude is to practice kindness often. You can even start off small, like complimenting someone’s outfit, praising people when they do a good job, and generally practicing the golden rule: treating people the way you’d want to be treated. You can also try thinking before you speak and act, and specifically about what effect your words and actions could have on others. Being nice goes a long way, and since you never know what someone else is going through, it’s important to strive to be as kind and respectful as possible.

3. Complaining Often

Situations like not doing so well on a test you studied hard for, or dealing with a boss that woke up on the wrong side of bed can be annoying to say the least. Times like these can fuel us with the need to complain about our misfortune, as a way of emotional release or relief. Complaining is normal and something we’ve all done, but it becomes a problem that can affect your relationships when it’s excessive. Whether we’re ranting to a significant other, or coworker during a lunch break, while still heated or upset, you may not notice the effects your negativity is starting to have on them. Being around a “Debbie Downer”, or someone who’s negative and pessimistic, can feel draining, and even annoying, especially if it isn’t their first time complaining about a bad turn of events.

Everyone feels inclined to complain on different levels, since it can actually be a habit you’ve grown used to, whether due to depression, or growing up around parents/guardians who complained a lot. Someone’s tendency to complain can also just be a reflection of a negative outlook on life. If you want to put an end to your cycle of negativity, you can try practicing gratitude for not only big or obvious things, but for small things we often take for granted, like food, shelter, and even waking up to another day. Practicing gratitude is something that’s proven to have numerous life benefits, including optimism, a higher self-esteem, and more. A more positive mindset also helps us to easily brush off small, annoying incidents, and not only helps put an end to our days of negativity, but also turns us into a better, more likeable person to be around.

4. Being Clingy

Many of us have certain people whose company we absolutely love. But as much as we’d love to grab at every chance to be with them, it’s important to be mindful and respectful of their schedule, and of their other relationships. This means giving them space to breathe, and not pestering them with calls or hangout demands. It also means acknowledging the other people in their life, and that they need time for them as well. That said, unless someone chooses to not spend time with you specifically, it’s not fair to take it personal and feel jealous or possessive when they’re with other people. When there aren’t any limits to how often we reach out to someone, it can feel overwhelming, pressuring, and maybe even annoying, which, unintentionally, can drive them away.

If you find that you struggle with clinginess, instead of always being the one to initiate contact, try giving the other person the chance to reach out first. This way, it allows them to fit time for you in their schedule, and letting them make a first move also shows they want to spend time with you. Also, instead of calling, you can opt to shoot them a text instead, so they can easily answer back A.S.A.P. This eliminates the chances of calling when they’re busy, and having them worry about finding time to call back. When it comes to making time for each other, allowing the other person a chance to call the shots helps ensure effort in the relationship is 50/50, and avoids making an already-busy friend or significant other feel overwhelmed or suffocated.

5. Only Reaching Out When In Need

Asking for help during sticky situations is more than okay, but this becomes a problem when the only time you choose to get in touch with someone is when you need their help. To them, it’s unfair, and can be hurtful and offensive, especially if they consider you someone they care about. Taking advantage of their goodwill makes your relationship feel conditional to them, or only able to exist if they can benefit you in some way, making them feel merely like a resource. With this in mind, only reaching out when in need can hurt and push the people in our lives away, without us realizing.

Being able to turn to someone for support is one of many factors that make up a good relationship. However, we shouldn’t turn to others when in need while also neglecting relationship-duties that keep bonds alive and well, like genuinely checking up on them to see how they’re doing, and setting aside quality time for them.

Since this can be something you might do unintentionally to others, try thinking about if this applies to you. If so, you can work towards being a better family member, significant other, or friend by letting them know you love and cherish them, not only through words, but through actions as well, since they never fail to speak louder than words.


Part of life is all about learning about and improving yourself, so identifying what you might need some work on is important in not only becoming a better friend or significant other, but a better person to all in general. It’s impossible to please every person we meet, but being aware of behaviors that are generally disliked, and how you can avoid doing them can also help you lead a happier, healthier life. Did you find this article helpful? Let us know in the comments below.


Ackerman, Courtney E. “28 Benefits of Gratitude & Most Significant Research Findings.” PositivePsychology.com, PositivePsychology.com, 22 June 2021, positivepsychology.com/benefits-gratitude-research-questions/.

Brennan, Dan. “Signs of Negative Energy.” WebMD, WebMD, 24 Nov. 2020, www.webmd.com/balance/signs-negative-energy.

DiGiulio, Sarah. “Why Rudeness Is so Toxic – and How to Stop It.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 22 May 2018, www.nbcnews.com/better/pop-culture/why-rudeness-so-toxic-how-stop-it-ncna876131.

Murray, Jacinta Mpalyenkana. “The Difference Between True Friendship and Conditional Arrangements.” Tap The Good, 25 Nov. 2018, tapthegood.wordpress.com/2018/11/25/the-difference-between-true-friendship-and-conditional-arrangements/.

Phillips, Amanda. “How to Tell Your Friend They’re Being Clingy (Without Hurting Their Feelings).” One Love, www.joinonelove.org/learn/how-to-tell-your-friend-theyre-being-clingy-without-hurting-their-feelings/.

Taibbi, Robert. “How to Stop Complaining.” Edited by Jessica Schrader, Psychology Today, Psychology Today, 4 Nov. 2018, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fixing-families/201811/how-stop-complaining.

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