by Andrea M. Darcy
It is a thought you keep to yourself because it feels dark and shameful. “Why does nobody like me?”
And the more you think it, the more you are sure that it’s hopeless. You’ll never be appreciated. You might smile on the outside and pretend you are okay, but inside you feel lost, alone, and scared.
The truth about nobody liking you
Here’s the crazy thing about always asking yourself, “Why does nobody like me?”.
Those very people whose opinion you are worried about don’t even know you. Why? Because as the type of person who struggles with socialising, you are probably also the type of person who never acts themselves around others.
You get nervous, pretend to feel and think things you don’t, go along with what others want. Sound familiar?
Take solace in the fact haters don’t like a ‘fake’ you. The real you is hidden inside, and you don’t have proof that people don’t like that real you!
Second crazy thing – many more people feel unliked and unloveable than you might realise. We live in a society that doesn’t teach us healthy relating but leaves us to compete.
Those very people you are worried don’t like you, might be worried you don’t like them!
Why people don’t seem to like you
Too many articles act as if it is all ‘in your head’ if you think people don’t like you. But actually, some of us do struggle to get along with others. So let’s look at why.
1. You are being false.
The problem with not being able to be ourselves around others is that others sense we are being false. It makes them uncomfortable and turns them off.
It would be easy to pretend the simple solution here is just ‘be yourself!’.
But if we grew up in a home where we were punished for being ourselves, then our brains are used to being what others want. If we were traumatised as a child, we might even only feel safe if we are this other, fake self. This is why you should not feel ashamed for worrying others like you. It’s not your fault you find relating hard.
It can take time (and therapy!) to figure out who the real you even is and how to share that with others.
But just recognising there is a problem is a good start. It can help you stop being so angry at everyone else. You can start to move out of victim mode and see that you do have power to change the situation.
2. You are actually encouraging other people not to like you.
How can this be when you want people to like you?
But the question here is – do you like yourself? Because if you don’t, then you are probably unconsciously encouraging others to agree with your hidden core beliefs that aren’t good enough, don’t deserve good things, and don’t deserve love.
Look for things like:
- criticising yourself
- making jokes at your own expense
- ‘baiting’ others (saying something negative about yourself to see if they agree)
- playing the clown.
(If this is you, consider learning some self-compassion. It’s way easier to do than loving yourself and is proven by research to raise self-esteem.)
3. You are trying way to hard to please people.
You might think this is the way to win other people’s approval. But instead, self-sacrificing makes other people uncomfortable, as does trying to be perfect.
Sometimes, without even realising it, we are even trying to control other people by over giving. It’s a deal in our head that ‘we will give to them and then they have to like us’. And the other person senses the manipulation.
4. Your have social anxiety.
Yes, some people with social anxiety hide in the corner talking to nobody. But social anxiety makes some people really loud.
The more anxious you are, the more you talk, the more animated you become, the more the say and act in silly ways. Despite your best intentions, your anxiety means you overwhelm other people.
5. You are hanging around people you don’t share values with.
Sometimes it’s a case of trying to be liked by people you simply don’t have the right things in common with.
And by the right things we are not talking music and style. We are talking about personal values, the things you deeply believe in that drive all your decisions in life. If you like the same music as someone else but you value honesty and they value secrecy, how can they ever understand you?
One other reason you might not feel liked…
Sometimes the problem is different than all of the above. It’s that we just are different than the average person. In psychology this is called having a ‘personality disorder’.
It’s not a great sounding term. But it’s really just a way of saying that you were born with a brain that actually seeks the world differently that the current ‘norm’.
For example, maybe you have borderline personality disorder, where you are way more emotional than others. Or schizoid personality disorder, and struggle to understand why you are supposed to enjoy the company of other people.
Read about the others in in our “Guide to Personality Disorders’.
What can I do to be liked more by others?
Being liked by others is actually an inside job. You can’t get there by focussing on others, but only by focussing on yourself.
And it’s not going to be fixed in a day, or even a few weeks.
The ways we relate to others come from childhood experiences and conditioning. If we really struggle to connect with others, we might need to process childhood trauma and neglect. These things need hard work and commitment to understand and change.
But it CAN change. You can start a journey of self discovery with self development and self-help.
Better yet, try therapy, which can half the time it takes to see results. There are even certain types of therapy these days to help just with relating.
The only exception here is personality disorders. Personality disorders can’t go away as our brains are geared differently. But therapy can definitely help you understand others better, and learn to act in ways that help you feel more accepted.
Ready to start feeling liked and try all new ways of relating to others? Harley Therapy links you with top therapists in central London. Not in London? Our online booking site helps you find a therapist UK-wide, or from anywhere via Online therapy.
Andrea M. Darcy is a mental health and wellbeing expert, who has done some training in person-centred counselling and coaching. She often writes about trauma, relationships, and ADHD, and advises people on how to plan their therapy journey. Find her on Instagram @am_darcy