“Do you hate people?”
“I don’t hate them…I just feel better when they’re not around.” – Charles Bukowski, Barfly
Can you relate to this quote?
Do you struggle to truly like many people?
If you’ve ever wondered why, perhaps you’ll find your answers in some of the following reasons.
1. The experiences you have had with people so far in life have tarnished your world view.
Our beliefs are formed by our experiences, and if you had a childhood (or some other period in your life) when people treated you poorly, you might come to expect this of everyone.
Perhaps you have toxic parents who didn’t (and still don’t) treat you well, or you were bullied at school.
Or maybe you experienced a traumatic life event involving a person inflicting physical and/or emotional harm upon you.
These sorts of things may have caused you to put a black mark against all of humankind.
You may default to disliking people because you have had to deal with very unlikable people in your past.
2. You want to avoid the possibility of getting hurt again.
If you dislike people, you don’t allow them in. And if you don’t allow them in, the chances of them being able to hurt you are far lower.
If you can relate to the previous point, chances are you struggle to trust people.
Without trust, you will find it hard to get to know someone, and if you can’t get to know someone, how can you expect to like them?
Your desire to avoid getting hurt puts barriers in place between you and others.
3. You see people as shallow.
Maybe you are not a materialistic person and you don’t long for wealth or fame.
But you see other people dressing the way they dress, taking selfies for the ‘Gram (or Facebook or some other social network), and buying flashy cars.
Everyone just seems so vain to you. They obsess about having the latest fad gadget or fashion and you can’t help but have disdain for them.
You simply cannot relate to any of it.
4. You see people as self-absorbed and selfish.
Me me me! You feel as though everyone is only interested in themselves.
Conversational narcissism is rife and social interactions are nothing more than opportunities to stroke each other’s egos.
You see the wider problems in the world and with communities and you have a desire to do something about it, but you seem to be alone in a crowd of people who couldn’t care less if society is falling to pieces around them.
5. You equate social media profiles with how people really are.
You see those selfies and updates that scream “Give me some attention!” and you believe this is what those people are like in real life.
You don’t ask yourself who the person is behind the photos and what interesting things they may do or think.
And you don’t consider the things they may be struggling with either.
You don’t realize that social media is just a veneer on top of real life. It hides so much more depth.
6. You expect people to be perfect.
People are messy creatures, full of good points and bad points.
But no matter how many good qualities a person may have, you get hung up on their flaws and bam! they are no longer worth liking.
You judge people harshly, probably to keep them at arm’s length to avoid getting hurt, as was discussed in point #2.
7. You have outgrown your friendships.
You do have so-called friends, but you don’t like them very much either.
This is often because you have grown up faster than they have and find yourself “old before your time.”
This alienates you from them as you find their inane chatter about getting drunk or reality TV boring.
And you can’t help but think that everyone must be like this other than you.
8. You don’t like yourself much either.
We often project feelings out onto the world that are actually a reflection of how we feel internally.
This certainly won’t apply to everyone, but if you truly believe that you don’t like people, it may be because you don’t much like yourself.
And you deal with these internal feelings of self-loathing by insisting that no one is really worth liking, least of all you.
This strongly links back to point #6 about people being imperfect. Because you focus on your own flaws, you tend to look for the flaws in others too.
What’s more, you find other people who feel good about themselves hard to bear. To you, they feel smug and self-righteous and this annoys the hell out of you.
9. You don’t feel like you can be yourself around other people.
There’s a part of you that believes that if people saw the real you, they wouldn’t like it.
To you, this is just another reason to not like them in return.
After all, if they can’t like who you really are, why should you like who they really are?
You believe there is no point in trying to live wearing a mask, so you choose not to try to make friends.
10. You see people making stupid choices all the time.
In your eyes, you see everyone making bizarre choices day in and day out.
You see these as downright stupid choices and it annoys the hell out of you to watch people make them.
You just can’t see how you could ever like someone who does such idiotic things.
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- “I Have No Friends” – 10 Useful Tips If You Want To Make Some
11. You get irritated easily.
Little things just get on your nerves and taint the way you feel about people.
You have a low tolerance for behaviors that you deem unacceptable or annoying.
And because you allow things and people to get under your skin, you find it hard to really like someone.
12. You hate small talk.
By god you can’t stand to engage in any form of small talk. It just seems so utterly pointless to you.
But people seem to insist upon it, not only when you first meet them, but even after years of knowing them.
You simply don’t want to know about the dodgy kebab they had at the weekend or the DIY project they’ve got going. And you just zone out as soon as someone mentions the weather.
Surely there are better things to talk about?
13. You hate gossip.
If there is one thing you dislike more than small talk, it’s gossip.
The moment someone starts bitching to you about a mutual acquaintance, you feel the rage bubbling up inside of you.
You think, if they have a problem with someone, they should just confront that person and deal with it.
And then there’s trust – you simply can’t put any in this person ever again because they are so loose-lipped.
14. You’re going through a hard time.
If you’re struggling with something right now, it can taint your entire view of humanity.
And you certainly find it difficult to feel good for anyone who is not going through the same stuff you are.
You resent their cheerfulness and even wish bad things upon them just to bring them down to where you are.
15. You read the news and it depresses you.
The world is just full of horrible people. Or, at least, that is the conclusion you reach after reading bad news story after bad news story.
It doesn’t cross your mind that the news thrives on pain and hurt and that nobody ever reports on the good things that good people are doing all across the world.
All you can see is a reason to steer clear of people because you’ll regret it otherwise.
16. You’re a cynic.
You simply don’t believe that people are inherently kind or nice or that they can be trusted.
You believe that people look out for number one and you expect the worst from them because of it.
Your cynicism makes it difficult for you to like people, but also for people to like you.
17. You’re an introvert, but you don’t know it.
No, introverts don’t inherently dislike other people.
But if you dislike people, chances are you are an introvert.
And as an introvert, you feel drained by excessive interaction with people and the mental stimulation it requires.
But you may not know that you’re an introvert, and so you mistake your drained feeling for the belief that you don’t like a particular person, or any person for that matter.
Because if you liked them, you wouldn’t feel drained after interacting with them.
18. You struggle to find the time and energy to build and maintain real friendships.
Your wish would be to meet someone, be instant good friends, and then have them in your life to see as and when you wished, but probably quite infrequently.
You can’t handle the work and effort it takes to build up a friendship, and you can’t meet the demands that many friendships put on you in order to maintain them.
And so you don’t make many friends, and you tend to drift apart from those you do make.
This may relate back to your introverted nature and/or the possibility that you are a low-energy person.
19. You use “I don’t like people” as a defense mechanism.
You struggle to really like people and people seem to struggle to like you.
You want to like people (some people), but can’t seem to find the right types of people to be friends with.
Rather than admit this to yourself and others, you hide your true feelings by saying, “It’s okay, I don’t really like people anyway.”
20. You struggle to break free of this thought pattern.
Sometimes, the thoughts we think can take root in our minds and be very hard to get rid of.
Like some incessant weed, it doesn’t matter how many times you challenge these thought patterns, they seem to keep coming back.
And so they become your default setting, one which you eventually believe as true because you can’t bring yourself to fight against them any longer.
How To Overcome These Thoughts And Like People Again
It would be nice to be able to tell you that there is a simple and quick fix to the way you feel about other people.
But there’s not.
Chances are you will battle feelings such as this your entire life.
But you can shift your thoughts and beliefs enough to move from “I don’t like people” to “I don’t like many people.”
You can find ways to like certain people. The right types of people with whom you can feel comfortable.
But in reality, this will take some serious self-reflection on your part and, most probably, help from a certified mental health professional.
The ways you think and feel about people are likely to be rooted in your past, and unpacking that past is best done with the right guidance.
A professional can also provide some tools that you can use to challenge some of the reasons listed above.
With these tools, you should be able to build and maintain at least some relationships with people whose presence in your life you will value.
Be determined, take one step at a time, and expect setbacks along the way.
But you can do this. You’ve already taken the first step.