10 Reasons People Don’t Take You Seriously (+ How To Make Them)

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It’s frustrating and upsetting when others don’t take you seriously. It can make you feel inferior or unworthy of respect.

You’ll struggle to accomplish things if people don’t take you seriously, overlook your ideas, or generally don’t consider what you have to say.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your personal or professional life. At some level, you need to push your own will out into the world, bring other people on board, and get things done.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest reasons why someone might not take you seriously, and how to address each of them.

1. You lack self-confidence.

A lack of self-confidence shines through in more ways than you may realize. Self-confidence comes through in how you speak, present your ideas, interact with other people, care for yourself, and enforce your boundaries.

That seems like an awful lot, doesn’t it? How can you possibly control all of those things? Well, you control them by working on and building your self-confidence.

People with self-confidence confidently present themselves. They don’t use wishy-washy language, fall all over themselves to apologize for things that aren’t their fault, dress poorly, or let other people violate their boundaries.

Even working on each of these things can help build up self-confidence. But if you find yourself sorely lacking, it would be a good idea to talk to a therapist about working on it all. It’s likely to be a big project where you will need regular help and support.

BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.

2. You don’t follow through.

Are you an unreliable person? Do you understand what an unreliable person looks like?

They are the person who promises to help out but never does. They swear they will show up on time but are always late. They say they will do one thing and then do another or nothing. They say they will call back and let you know, but you have to call them to get the information. They borrow money, swearing they will return it, but never go out of their way to give it back.

A person who doesn’t follow through may be perceived as a joke because their words aren’t backed up by their actions.

The fix for lacking follow through isn’t too complicated: do what you say you’re going to do. It’s really that simple. If you find yourself over-committing or lacking time, you may need to say no to more things. Don’t agree to do something and then look for ways to back out of it later. Do the things that you commit to.

3. Your actions do not match your words.

Even though we’re all hypocrites at times, no one likes a hypocrite. It appears strange on the surface, but it really comes down to how we present ourselves to the world. Most reasonable people aren’t going to have a problem with you being human if you’re not obnoxious about it.

For example, let’s say Michael decides to go vegetarian. He wants to lessen his personal impact on the world by reducing the amount of meat that he eats to not contribute to factory farming, the suffering of animals, and the environmental impact that goes along with it. Michael starts preaching about it and judging other people for their own choices.

And maybe Michael finds out later that he can’t adopt a full vegetarian lifestyle due to nutrition constraints. So, when his friends see him sitting down to eat a burger, they’re going to think negatively of him for not living up to his own preaching.

Or, as another example, let’s say you have a coworker who goes on and on about the importance of hard work and being a team player, yet can never be bothered to actually help out. They spend an hour in the bathroom every day or are constantly on their phone. If you’ve ever worked with one of these people, you probably haven’t taken them seriously either. And rightly so. They’re unreliable.

The antidote for this kind of behavior is humility and living up to your own standards. Don’t judge other people on what they do if you don’t have to. And make sure you can walk your talk. In fact, it’s a better idea not to be too ironclad on your beliefs and what you should do. You’re only human. You’ll make mistakes.

4. You don’t take yourself seriously.

People who do not take themselves seriously do not command serious respect from other people. Taking yourself seriously ties back into self-confidence. That doesn’t mean that you have to be a dour, stick-in-the-mud about yourself or life in general. It’s good to laugh at yourself and not always take things seriously. But there is a balance.

Taking yourself seriously looks a lot like self-confidence. It’s doing things like erecting and enforcing healthy boundaries, taking care of yourself, and not undermining yourself by talking yourself down.

It’s also treating serious matters with the respect and dignity they deserve. Other people will not take you seriously if you turn everything into a joke, especially if you’re making light of their challenges or sensitivities.

One significant way you can undermine yourself is through self-deprecating humor. The problem with self-deprecating humor is that other people may not know you well enough to know if you’re joking or actually think that way about yourself. They may not know whether they should laugh or to get you in touch with a hotline. Furthermore, the subtext of self-deprecating humor is that you are treating yourself as a joke. How is anyone supposed to take you seriously in that context?

Let serious subjects be serious. Never make a joke out of other peoples’ challenges or sensitivities, even if you don’t agree with them. And lay off the self-deprecating humor. Yes, it can be hilarious when done well and in the right company, but too much is a bad thing.

5. You aren’t honest.

What does it mean to be honest? Honesty is more than just telling the truth. It’s also acting with integrity, making good decisions, and owning up to your responsibilities. Dishonest people are not trustworthy – obviously. A person who doesn’t act with integrity, doesn’t try to make good decisions, or avoids their responsibilities is not someone you can trust, so they’re not someone you can take seriously.

It’s surprising how many people are willing to be openly dishonest. Someone drops a twenty? They wait to pick it up and pocket it. The cashier gives them the wrong change? Well, isn’t it their lucky day! Not able to help a friend as promised? No problem! Just make up an excuse that shifts away responsibility.

The problem is that the people around you notice these kinds of behaviors, putting you squarely in a box of selfishness and mistrust. Maybe that person needed that twenty to get them enough gas for work for the week. Maybe that cashier will get disciplined or fired for their cash drawer being off. Maybe that friend was really relying on that promise to make something in their life work.

The only thing you really own in life is your integrity and character. If other people think you lack integrity and character, they aren’t going to take you seriously. You’ll want to get that right in a way that makes sense for you. Maybe it’s adopting a personal code to live by; maybe it’s borrowing it from philosophy or religion that makes sense for you.

6. You are overly emotional or dramatic.

Overly emotional people may not be taken seriously because of their perceived fragility. Is this a fair judgment? No. Not everyone is wired the same. Some people are more sensitive than others. Others have mental health problems that cause them to react to stress in worse ways than others. It’s not fair that these folks will be judged and not taken seriously, but that’s the way it is.

The other issue is that some people fake this sort of thing to avoid responsibility. It’s always curious when the only time the person gets emotional or dramatic about anything happens to coincide with when they need to take responsibility for their actions. This is something that people will notice sooner or later. And then it flags you as someone to avoid, so they don’t need to deal with you.

How can you stop doing this?

Well, if it’s something that you can’t control, you can just keep working on whatever issues cause you to react so strongly. That might be self-management, reducing your stress, or reducing your responsibilities so you’re not spread so thin. Therapy will be a good choice if you need knowledgeable assistance in developing healthier coping skills to have more control over your emotions.

And if you do have control over it and choose to get dramatic to avoid responsibility and manipulate other people – knock it off. Try saying, “Yes, that was my fault. What can I do to fix the problem?” instead of shirking responsibility.

7. You don’t take proper care of yourself.

Do you take proper care of yourself? Bathe regularly? Brush your teeth? Wear clothes that fit? Wear clothes that don’t have holes, are faded, or otherwise aged? Are your shoes in good condition? Do you get your hair cut or keep it properly maintained? Do you maintain your facial hair to look neat? Do you wear deodorant?

This stuff matters. Like it or not, most people judge others based on how they look. Other people form an opinion based on that first impression that can color the rest of their interactions with you. The thinking behind it goes something like, “Why should I take this person seriously if they can’t muster the energy to provide basic care for themselves?”

Is it fair? No. Most people don’t choose to be unclean or unkempt. They may just be going through a hard time right there or experiencing some mental health troubles that interfere with their ability to care for themselves. It’s hard to keep up with yourself when you’re living with depression.

Still, personal hygiene and upkeep are vital. It’s just something you have to do as much as you can when you have the energy or ability to do it. A routine can sometimes help when you can’t muster the energy to be motivated. It becomes less a matter of, “Oh, I can skip this.” and more a matter of, “Oh, I need to do this because this is what I do to start my morning.”

And hey, you don’t need to be good-looking or wear expensive clothes to improve the way other people perceive you. Just being clean, well-kept, and smelling good will put you pretty far ahead.

8. You use noncommittal language.

Noncommittal language will shape the way other people perceive you and influence just how seriously they take you. Noncommittal language, or using weasel words or language, communicates a lack of confidence in yourself or your abilities through subtext. Consider statements like:

“Maybe I can do that for you.”

“I don’t know if that’s a good idea. Do you think that’s a good idea?”

“I don’t know if I have plans. I’ll have to see.” And then later backing out.

All of this comes off as wishy-washy, particularly over an extended time. You get the reputation of not being reliable or sure of yourself because the language you’re using communicates that to the people you’re dealing with.

Avoid qualifying words with your statements. Don’t use words or phrases like:

“I’ll try.”

“I should be able to do that.”

“I said I’d see if I could try!”


If you don’t have time or the answer is no, then say what you mean. People may not like it, but they will respect you for it.

9. You don’t keep good company.

We are judged by the company that we keep. If you hang out with a bunch of clowns, then people are going to assume that you are either a clown or have really poor judgment. Neither of those things encourages people to take you seriously. Quite the opposite, in fact. 

Everyone needs to audit their social circles from time to time to ensure that they hang out with the right kind of people. Hanging out with irresponsible or immature people is bad because it can lessen your own standards. You don’t want to be in the habit of being disrespected or treated without consideration.

One of the worst examples that far too many people accept is tardiness. It’s a total lack of respect. It communicates to the people waiting that their time is less valuable or that they aren’t worth considering how to be there on time. Having responsibilities isn’t really an excuse.

“Well, that’s just Pat. He’s always late.” Well, tough luck for Pat. We have other responsibilities and can’t wait around all day. It’s one thing if it’s a one-off problem or Pat lets us know that he’s running late. Stuff happens. Life happens. That’s fine.

Instead, we’re talking about people who are perpetually a problem. People are going to assume that you share similar qualities as the people you associate with. At a minimum, they will assume that you’re perfectly okay with whatever negative behavior is on display, and they won’t take you seriously.

Make sure the company you keep is good. People are allowed to be people. They are allowed to have problems and shortcomings. Just make sure that it’s not harmful or detrimental to you.

10. Sometimes, it’s not you.

Now look, we’ve discussed some pointed topics in this article that may very well be hurtful. No one really likes to look in the mirror to see their flaws or have them spelled out for them. Not being taken seriously can be tied into several behaviors or personality quirks of the person who is not being taken seriously.

However, it’s not always their fault or even their responsibility. Sometimes people are just jerks who don’t respect other people for any number of reasons.

So before you go pulling yourself apart to figure out what’s wrong with you, take a look at the people who aren’t taking you seriously. Is there a reason you should be concerned with how they perceive you? Is this just their personality? Are they a person who is perpetually unhappy and dissatisfied with everything? If so, that may be a them problem, not a you problem.

Suppose a person doesn’t like you for whatever reason. In that case, there isn’t much you can do about that except lay your own boundaries and ensure you are treated with respect.

Make sure you’ve actually got a problem before you go tearing yourself apart to try to please someone who cannot be pleased. Some people just cannot be made happy no matter what you do. And it’s not even worth wasting the energy to try.

Still not sure how to get people to take you seriously? Speak to a therapist today who can walk you through the process. Simply connect with one of the experienced therapists on BetterHelp.com.

You don’t have to figure this all out by yourself. It’s not only okay to ask for help, it’s very much recommended.

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About The Author

Jack Nollan is a person who has lived with Bipolar Disorder and Bipolar-depression for almost 30 years now. Jack is a mental health writer of 10 years who pairs lived experience with evidence-based information to provide perspective from the side of the mental health consumer. With hands-on experience as the facilitator of a mental health support group, Jack has a firm grasp of the wide range of struggles people face when their mind is not in the healthiest of places. Jack is an activist who is passionate about helping disadvantaged people find a better path.