6 Behaviours That Make People Dislike You

As of recently, people’s mindsets have taken a turn for the good in terms of how open and flexible their perspectives are. Laws allowing same-sex marriage being passed in many countries every day, racism that used to be normal before is now an unacceptable behaviour for most people, and the list goes on and on. This has also reinforced the idea that people should not care about others’ opinions as long as they are happy with themselves. However, most people’s mood and emotions will be affected by what others think. After all, people are social beings and depend heavily on other people. Everyone wants to be liked, and desire approval, appreciation, and acceptance from others (Smith, 2020). With this in mind, in this article I will be addressing 6 behaviours that make people dislike you as well as things you might be able to do to stop these behaviours.

Sharing too many photos on social media

Have you ever been browsing on Instagram and felt annoyed by someone who flooded your feed with photos? Although sharing photos can be helpful in building stronger interpersonal relationships, research has shown that sharing too many photos can have the opposite effect. According to author of a study, David Houghton, your real-life relationships can be damaged because people don’t seem to relate well to you if you constantly post photos of yourself (Lebowitz, 2016). Additionally, friends might not like it if you post too many family photos and vice versa. To avoid damaging your interpersonal relationships, and as mentioned by Ben Marder, who is another author of the study, you should think how the photos you post are perceived by everyone who sees it and be cautious when posting (Lebowitz, 2016).


Have you ever felt like someone suddenly disliked you after you self-criticised? Well, maybe they felt that you were bragging and disguising it as self-criticism. The behaviour of disguising something impressive with self-criticism is known as humblebragging. According to a working paper from Harvard Business School, humblebragging is usually a turn-off for most people (McDowell and Lebowitz, 2015). With a job interview as the study setting, independent research assistants were asked to determine who they would be more likely to hire.

The results showed that three quarters of participants humblebragged, and that independent research assistants were more likely to hire people who were honest and found them much more likeable. So, as a word of advice, always try to be as honest as possible, especially when talking about strengths and weaknesses. Do not try to disguise one of your strengths as a weakness.

Not smiling

Are you someone who does not usually smile or find it hard to keep a smile on social events? This might be a reason people might not approach you readily. A study conducted by the University of Wyoming found that a smile is very influential in how likeable you are, even more than having an open body position (Berman, 2017). The main reason is that when other people see you smile, it makes them feel good, naturally attracting them towards yourself (Desmarais, 2020). After all, who does not want to approach someone who makes others feel good? So, try to smile whenever you can and whenever you feel like. Of course, do not force when you don’t feel like smiling because your smile will be perceived as fake and have the opposite effect.

Constantly criticising people’s ethical choices

Do you hate when people question your decisions just because you did not do it their way? A study published by the Journal of Consumer Psychology confirmed that you will not like it when someone criticises your own ethical decisions, making you more prone to disliking them (Berman, 2017). You will naturally compare yourself with others and decide to build relationships based on the similarities and differences.

This is magnified when comparing ethics and morals since these are an essential part of your identity. Therefore, if you constantly criticise people’s ethical decisions, chances are that they will not like you simply because of the disagreement that exists on a fundamental level. So, try to avoid criticising people’s ethical decisions, especially when these choices are inconsequential to you. If they are open to talk to you about their choices, try asking questions to understand where they are coming from and their point of view, instead of shoving your opinions down their throats. Remember that what people seek is approval, appreciation, and acceptance, so try to be understanding about other people’s decisions.

Writing a formal email with a smiling emoticon

Have you ever thought about adding a smiling emoticon in a work email that you’re about to send your boss? You might want to think twice. Research has suggested that, although smiling in person will make you more likeable, adding smiling emojis can work against you, especially in formal settings (Lebowitz, 2017). To back this up, a 2017 article published in 2017 by researchers in Israel and the Netherlands found that adding smiling emojis in emails makes you seem less competent, while not having a relevant effect on how warm you might appear to the people who receive the email (Valentine, 2018).

Giving people the impression that you are not competent will most likely result in them disliking you, as people tend to gravitate towards people that they can rely on. To avoid this, try to maintain a clear separation between how you write your formal emails and your casual emails, while keeping in mind that the addition of smiling emojis will not have a real impact on how warm you seem.

Suppresing or faking your emotions

Do you have trouble expressing how you truly feel to others? Do you go along with something you disagree with just to avoid conflict? If so, this behavior might cause others to dislike you. This is because people can tell when you’re being inauthentic. According to a study by The University of Oregon, people who suppressed their emotions were perceived as less agreeable, and more insecure about relationships. As human beings, we look for people who are likely to reciprocate our investments. So, when we detect that someone is hiding their emotions, we may interpret that as disinterest.


To conclude this article, as social beings, everyone’s emotions and feelings will be somewhat affected by how they are perceived by others. You are more likely to be happy if people like you and approach you because of what was mentioned before: everyone wants to be liked. But you must also remember, you should live your life for yourself, and not do things that you dislike simply because it will make others like you more.


Berman, R., 2017. Studies Reveal Behaviors That Make People Unlikeable. [online] Big Think. Available at: <https://bigthink.com/robby-berman/science-reveals-why-we-dont-like-some-people> [Accessed 26 November 2020].

Desmarais, C., 2020. The One Simple Thing Which Can Make You More Likeable. [online] Inc. Available at: <https://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/the-one-simple-thing-which-can-make-you-more-likeable.html#:~:text=Seeing%20you%20smile%20makes%20other%20people%20feel%20good.&text=By%20%22trying%20on%22%20another%20person’s,that%20expression%20in%20the%20past> [Accessed 26 November 2020].

Lebowitz, S., 2016. 9 THINGS YOU’RE DOING THAT MAKE PEOPLE DISLIKE YOU IMMEDIATELY. [online] Independent. Available at: <https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/9-things-make-people-dislike-you-immediately-a7494386.html> [Accessed 26 November 2020].

Lebowitz, S., 2017. 14 Things You’re Doing That Make People Instantly Dislike You. [online] Business Insider Australia. Available at: <https://www.businessinsider.com.au/things-that-make-people-dislike-you-2017-3?r=US&IR=T> [Accessed 26 November 2020].

McDowell, E. and Lebowitz, S., 2015. 15 Things You’re Doing That Make People Dislike You Immediately. [online] Business Insider Australia. Available at: <https://www.businessinsider.com.au/things-that-make-people-dislike-you-2015-10?r=US&IR=T#acting-too-nice-7> [Accessed 26 November 2020].

Smith, K., 2020. Wanting To Be Liked Is Not The Same As Needing To Be Liked. [online] PsychCentral. Available at: <https://psychcentral.com/blog/wanting-to-be-liked-is-not-the-same-as-needing-to-be-liked/> [Accessed 26 November 2020].

Valentine, M., 2018. 7 Things You’Re Doing That Make People Dislike You Immediately. [online] GoalCast. Available at: <https://www.goalcast.com/2018/07/14/things-youre-doing-make-people-dislike-you/> [Accessed 26 November 2020].

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