How to Deal With People Who Don't Like You
Being disliked by people can be a painful experience, but it's also a part of life that everyone has to figure out how to deal with. Learning how to defend yourself from being harmed by these people, how to correct misunderstandings, and how to keep things from getting out of control will give you a leg up in life. The experience doesn't have to turn sour if you know how to handle yourself in these unpleasant situations.
Taking Care of Yourself
Decide if you should care.Not everyone who crosses your path is someone you should seek out as a friend. If a coworker or someone you aren't invested in dislikes you, it may not be pleasant, but you can decide if it's worth it to try to build the necessary bridges and win them over. Not everyone is worth your effort, especially if they are really difficult and you lose nothing by avoiding them.
Take a look at yourself.Did you make a mistake? Does the person have a legitimate reason to dislike you? It might be worth it to apologize and try to set the record straight about your behaviors if you think they might be justified in not liking something you did or are doing.
- Admitting a mistake is different from beating yourself up about it. Everyone makes mistakes. It's important to forgive yourself, even if the other person doesn't.
Disengage.Don't be afraid to say goodbye if the person is actively trying to hurt you. It's okay to prioritize yourself in these situations and remove yourself from the crosshair. Sometimes people rub each other the wrong way and there's nothing to be done but avoid each other, especially if the situation is getting out of control and you are getting hurt.
- It can be tempting sometimes to stay and fight, but disengaging is its own form of power. You are standing up for yourself and telling the person that you refuse to be bullied.
- Disengaging might be avoiding them when it's acceptable to do so, like if you're coworkers but you aren't collaborating on anything. It might also be removing the person from your social media feeds so that you aren't tempted to interact with them.
Let go of the need for approval.How important is it that this person likes you? Are there other people who do like you? Friends and family? Avoid worrying about one person who has a problem with you, which could be about their own issues rather than anything to do with you.
- Some people will dislike you because they envy you. Don't let people bring you down because of your successes.
Focus on the positive things.If you're feeling down about someone disliking you, do something to help yourself feel better. If you love working out, go to the gym to get your mind off of things. If you have friends who appreciate you, spend time with them to remind yourself of your self-worth. This doesn't have to bother you if you don't let it.
- If you know why the person dislikes you, ask yourself if it's really important that they like you. Does it really matter what they think? Do they dislike a lot of people? You may not be "special" in that case.
- You can also try reframing the criticism to make it positive. If someone says you're always late or always asking people for favors, try to think of ways you could improve in those areas. Alternatively, if you think the person is wrong, try to think of all the times you're not late and the times you do favors for other people.
Repairing the Relationship
Ask questions.If the relationship is one you want or need to improve, start by asking the person why he or she doesn't like you. There could be a huge misunderstanding behind everything, and you could receive valuable information about how the person perceives you (which isn't necessarily how you actually are).
- Try asking in a way that isn't confrontational. Instead of saying "what's your problem?" you can say "did I do something to make you dislike me?"
Avoid getting defensive.It's natural to want to fight fire with fire, but if someone is expressing frustration with something you are doing, it can be helpful to take a pause and do your best to respond to the situation calmly, rather than making things worse by charging into battle.
- Avoid snapping at them or returning the criticism. You can probably think of things that you dislike about them as well, but being mean to them won't resolve the situation. Criticizing the person will only cause the conflict to get more intense.
- Practice deep breathing while they are talking to keep yourself from getting upset and firing back.
- It's okay to take a temporary time out and come back to the person once you have cooled off, as well.
Hear the person out.If you talk to them, let them finish their thoughts before you jump in. You may not like what they are saying, but if you want to repair the relationship, you will need to know what you are dealing with, and you will gain their respect if you respect them enough to listen before you respond. You may even gain some valuable constructive criticism in the process.
- You can say "I understand that there's something about me you don't like. I'm genuinely interested to hear what that is and see if we can move past this issue together."
Take a break.Sometimes people get on each other's nerves because they are spending too much time around each other, for example coworkers or friends of friends. If you work with the person, do your best to limit contact for a while. If you spend a lot of the time around the same people, try to see other friends or catch these friends while the other person isn't around. Time apart can help people reset, and they may like you more when they see you again.
Communicate your feelings.A good way to correct misunderstandings is to let the other person know how you feel. Try to do this in a respectful and emotionally neutral way. Clearing the air may be just what the situation needs to get the person on your side, rather than stewing in their dislike of you.
- Using "I statements" is a good way to communicate without making the person feel like they are being attacked. You can say "I feel hurt that you don't like me and I'd like to know what I can do to make things better between us."
Performing Damage Control
Explain yourself to people that matter.If someone dislikes you, they may gossip about you to mutual friends or try to hurt you in other ways. If it's a coworker, sit down with your boss and explain that you are having a disagreement with the person, so your boss will be on the lookout for attempts to sabotage your standing at the job. If it's a mutual friend, explain your position and try to get them to see your side of things. Avoid bad-mouthing the person!
Avoid giving the person ammunition.If someone dislikes you, they may try to find out your secrets in order to hurt you. Be careful what you say to someone who dislikes you. Avoid gossiping about other people around them, because they might use that information against you. Protect yourself by keeping your cards close to your chest and not allowing them to use anything you say to hurt you. If it's a coworker, try to avoid messing up on the job around them, which may come back to bite you.
Prevent the situation from spiraling out of control.Sometimes it's worth it to apologize to someone who dislikes you, especially if you've done something to offend them. Even if you think you didn't do anything wrong, it may be helpful to apologize in order to keep the situation from getting worse. You can do it for you, rather than for them, although you never know how it might affect their opinion of you in a positive way.
Check in with friends.If the person is causing you to doubt yourself, ask your friends what they think about the situation if they know the person. Getting a second opinion, especially from people you trust, can help to prevent you from taking the perspective of the other person and being really hard on yourself. Being disliked can make you wonder if they are right about you, so it's important to be aware of how it's affecting you. Don't let your mental health suffer from it.
Try to win the person over.Sometimes all it takes to repair a friendship or working relationship is to show the person your good will. Going out of your way to do something for people has a lot of benefits. Kindness reduces stress and promotes longer, healthier living.Additionally, if you are kind to the person in spite of their dislike toward you, it may inspire them to change their mind about you.
- Watch out for people who will manipulate your kindness, however. Some people feed off of using people who are not willing to protect themselves against aggressive or manipulative behavior. If they accept your kindness and then return it with selfishness or rudeness, it may be best to avoid them rather than try to win them over.
QuestionI feel like I am a bad person sometimes because people misunderstand my actions and get offended by them. Am I always at fault or am I just being misunderstood?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThat is impossible to answer without knowing the specific situations and actions involved. You need to provide examples of some of these situations, and then we can tell you, case by case, whether or not you were at fault in each situation, and why.Thanks!
QuestionMy friends suddenly started ignoring me and now they hate me. They don't even tell me the reason why they hate me. What should I do now?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTell an adult (if you're still in school) and maybe they can be the middle man for you to get some information on why your friends wont talk to you. If you are just a normal person dealing with dumb friends then move on and find people who will love, respect, and appreciate you properly. You are important enough to be treated right. Someone will love you properly. These people sound immature, so just move on.Thanks!
QuestionMy niece married my coworker's son and she and her other sons are not happy with the marriage. How can I handle this situation at work?Tamara NajjarCommunity AnswerThis is not a situation to handle at work. This is a family situation, not a work situation, therefore to be handled outside of the work place. If anyone tries to bring the topic up at work, remind them of this point.Thanks!
QuestionIf someone doesn't answer my calls or messages, does that mean they don't like me?Community AnswerThere are many possible reasons for this. Maybe they haven't seen or heard your messages or calls. Maybe they are having personal problems and are not willing to talk to anyone, not just you. Or maybe they just don't want to talk to you. The best thing you can do is to have self-respect and stop trying to reach someone who isn't responding to you. Just wait it out, if they are a true friend, they will get in touch with you eventually.Thanks!
QuestionMy boyfriend and I broke up, can you help me please?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere's over 7 billion people in the world, don't let one break your emotions so completely that you can never recover. Take time for yourself, breathe, take up a new hobby, and love life. Love will find its way back.Thanks!
QuestionMy friend and I give hugs to each other, but my friend's boyfriend gets mad at me whenever I hug her. Now he hates me. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf his issue is that you are hugging her, then it is up to your friend (his girlfriend) to let him know that it's not his place to judge her friends so harshly. There's really nothing you yourself can do.Thanks!
QuestionI'm friends with a person who is in a group. I don't think the rest of her group likes me. They always make fun of me jokingly. How do I make them like me and want to be friends, without being annoying?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf they're being mean to you, then it might not be worth hanging out with them. That said, kindness and friendliness go a long way. Treat them as you would like to be treated, try not to be quick to take offense, and see what happens. Do not allow them to mistreat you, though.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do if someone who is not my friend doesn't like me but I want to be friends with them?wikiHow ContributorCommunity Answerwhy would you want to be friends with someone that doesn't like you? They are not worth it.Thanks!
QuestionMy coworker talks behind my back and says that I'm annoying, but he will talk to me all day long like we are best buds. What's going on?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHow do you know he finds you annoying? Did someone tell you? If so, then don't automatically believe everything you hear. On the other hand, he may have said that to get on someone else's good side (for whatever reason). If he talks to you that much, he can't find you terrifically annoying.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I do if my thesis professor dislikes me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAre you positive the professor dislikes you? Some professors just have a demeanor that implies they're angry or upset with you when they aren't, so I would first try to identify if the professor actually dislikes you. If they do, you could try to find out if there's a way to change thesis professors. If not, you may just have to suck it up and deal with it until you're finished with school.Thanks!
- If the situation gets physical, try to get away from the person and call the police.
- Take the higher road and either stay away from them or try to make things right.
- Remember, some people dislike you because of a mistake, so talk to them about it, and don't insult them behind their back.
- If they are mean to you, that doesn't mean that you should be mean to them. Be honest and don't forget your manners.
- Work on becoming your own best friend. This may mean building your own self-confidence and learning to like yourself if that is an issue.
Video: Q&A: How to deal when people don't like you
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