Have you ever felt this nagging feeling that even though some people might say they’re your friends, they don’t really mean it? Ever get the sense that there are some people in your life who might be harboring some ill will towards you? Or secretly want you out of their group but don’t just come out and say it?
A lot of the time, even if we dislike someone, we don’t dare tell it to them directly because most of us feel uncomfortable with confrontation. Instead, we usually just let our actions speak for us and hope they get the hint.
So if you’ve found yourself wondering lately if the red flags you’ve been seeing in some so-called friends of yours mean something serious, here are 8 tell-tale signs that can help you figure out whether or not someone might secretly dislike you:
1. Their body language towards you is closed and negative.
First and foremost, it’s always important to take a look at the non-verbal cues a person is sending you whenever you’re together. Try as they might to keep their true feelings a secret, there are plenty of subconscious things we do with our bodies that speak volumes about how we really feel about the other person. Some examples to keep a close eye on include: crossed arms and legs, minimal eye contact, physical distance, and using bags, pillows, desks, doors, and so on to hide behind while you’re talking to them (Van Bavel, 2018).
2. They fake a smile around you.
Another tell-tale sign that someone doesn’t like you as much as they’re letting on? If they are constantly faking their smiles around you. Most of the time, when people fake smiles, their eyes don’t crinkle and the rest of their face stays still while they do it (Lakey, Tardiff, & Drew, 1994). And while it can be a bit difficult to tell if this is just because they’re tired, shy, or feeling a little awkward, if this person is more than an acquaintance to you already and you notice they’re still faking their smiles around you, it might be because they secretly dislike you.
3. They keep your conversations short and impersonal.
Think back on the last few times you’ve spoken to this person. Did they seem in a hurry to leave? Were their replies short and devoid of emotion? When people secretly dislike you, they will most likely try to avoid you and always cut your conversations short by either giving very vague answers (like “I’m fine”, or “Not much going on”, or “It’s all good”) or rushing off with a flimsy excuse and an empty promise of a “next time” that never comes true.
4. There’s a distinct lack of physical touch.
While it’s certainly true that some people aren’t as comfortable being touchy or physically affectionate around even their closest friends and loved ones, it’s another thing entirely when they’re comfortable doing it around other people but not to you. The distinct lack of any kind of friendly physical touch — be it a hug, handshake, or pat on the back — is very telling that they do not feel comfortable letting you into their personal space.
5. They don’t make any plans with you.
Can you remember the last time this particular person made plans with you or invited you somewhere? If the answer is never, then it’s probably time to take a good long look back on your so-called “friendship” with this person and ask yourself why. Do you invite them to places and events they just end up cancelling to or postponing indefinitely? Do they often blow you off for the next cooler, more exciting thing? Or exclude you from their plans with other friends? It might sting a little to admit, but there’s a good chance it’s because this person secretly dislikes you (So, et al., 2015)
6. They rarely reach out or check up on you.
Similar to the last point, if the communication between you and this person is mostly one-sided, then that’s a definite red flag already. They leave you on read, they can’t be bothered to return your calls, and they don’t check up on you every now and then just to make sure you’re okay or see how you’re doing. All of these behaviors show indifference, apathy, and a definite lack of concern usually reserved for the people we don’t like.
7. They tend to let you down/break their promises.
As cliche as it might sound, a common adage you hear in family and couples therapy is “If we don’t have trust, we don’t have anything.” And that’s because mutual trust is really the foundation for every healthy and lasting relationship. So if someone is constantly letting you down, breaking their promises, and not being there when you need them, as painful as it might be to admit, all of these things are telling you that this person does not respect nor care about your feelings (Lincoln, 2000).
8. They don’t listen to your opinions.
Last but certainly not the least, if someone can’t be bothered to listen to what you have to say — such as when they make decisions that affect you without asking you first, or insist on doing something you’ve made it very clear you don’t agree with — it’s safe to say that this person is probably harboring some ill-will against you. This can manifest in other, little, passive-aggressive ways too, like never asking you what you feel like doing or always being on their phone while you’re talking. All these things show that this person is only pretending to like you and that they don’t actually value or respect your opinion.
Ouch. Did anyone in particular come to mind as you were reading our list? Did this article make you realize there might be someone in your life who secretly dislikes you? As easy as it would be to simply condemn this person for being a “fake, two-faced friend”, the truth is, there might be a lot of reasons why someone might feel this way about you.
Maybe you just rub them the wrong way, or maybe your personalities clash too much. Maybe they were just too intimidated to tell you the truth about how they really feel, and tried to communicate it in subtle ways without hurting your feelings. Whatever the reason may be, there really are just some people we dislike without good reason or find it hard to get along with — and hey, that’s okay! That’s not anybody’s fault, right?
The best thing to do now would be to just part ways with this person as amicably as possible to make room for more people in your life who like, respect, and accept you just the way you are.
- Van Bavel, J. J. (2018). The psychology of hate: Moral concerns differentiate hate from dislike.
- So, J., Achar, C., Han, D., Agrawal, N., Duhachek, A., & Maheswaran, D. (2015). The psychology of appraisal: Specific emotions and decision-making. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 25(3), 359-371.
- Lincoln, K. D. (2000). Social support, negative social interactions, and psychological well-being. Social Service Review, 74(2), 231-252.
- Lakey, B., Tardiff, T. A., & Drew, J. B. (1994). Negative social interactions: Assessment and relations to social support, cognition, and psychological distress. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 13(1), 42-62.