Admit it – you’ve done most of these.
Are you ever bothered by the vague, nagging feeling that people don’t like you? That there’s something about you that puts people off, without you even being aware of what it is you’re doing? Maybe you find yourself checking to see if you have bad breath or body odor that you’ve been oblivious to all this time.
First of all, you probably don’t smell bad, and people probably don’t hate you. Second of all, who cares what people think of you anyway? Resolving to worry less about whether people like you is always a good plan.
That said, there are a few things you could be doing that make people hate you. So if you constantly find that you’re rubbing people the wrong way, take a look at this list and consider whether you’re doing any of the following seven things that people absolutely loathe…
1. Pulling out your phone
Don’t you hate it when you’re trying to talk to someone, and they pull out their phone and start texting? So rude. Of course, when you do it, it’s always for a good reason; you’re not being rude at all! Guess again. Just like you get irritated when someone else does it to you, other people hate it when you whip out your phone mid-conversation. It doesn’t matter if it’s a quick glance; it’s still disprespectful and annoying to the person you’re with. Sure, everyone does this. But if you’re the one person who doesn’t, people will like you that much more. Focus your attention on the person you’re with, not on the glowing, buzzing rectangle in your purse.
Of course, it’s exciting when you get to meet your fave author, or hang out with someone a little bit famous. But it’s mostly exciting for you, not for your friends who have to hear about it endlessly afterward. So resist the urge to name-drop when you’re talking to people. It comes off as slightly insecure at best, and wildly desperate at worst. Trust that people want to spend time with you because you’re you, not because you were at a party with so-and-so, or because this or that well-known person talked to you once.
Being upfront with people about who you are and how and how you feel is great – up to a point. But go easy. If you’ve just met someone, keep your personal problems and intimate confessions to yourself, at least until it seems like an appropriate time to share. Try being more concerned about the person you’re talking to than you are about pouring out your own tales of woe. If you share too much, too soon, people might get the feeling you’re simply using them as a sounding board for your own issues, and not genuinely interested in them as people. Be sensitive to the balance of the conversation; open up when the time is right, not right off the bat.
Look, we all enjoy indulging in a little gossip now and then. But there’s a limit to how much gossip you can get away with before you end up sounding like an asshole. Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people,” and while she may have been missing out on the fun of a juicy gossip session, she wasn’t entirely wrong. Gossip can make you sound petty, spiteful, and just plain mean – so try to limit your gossip to things that you wouldn’t be entirely ashamed of saying if they got out. Because let’s face it – they probably will. That’s the nature of gossip. So keep it light and friendly.
5. Being closed-minded
It’s no fun to talk to someone who already has her mind made up about every little thing. People who think they’re always right are no fun to be around; no one likes a know-it-all. Part of being likable is having an open mind and listening to others without passing judgment or arguing with them until they see things your way. You don’t have to agree with everything someone else says, but you do have to listen, and truly make an effort to see things from their point of view – at least if you want people to like you, you do.
6. Not being curious
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone who you could tell was just waiting for you to stop talking, so they could say what they want to say? This lack of curiosity is symptomatic of someone who is so completely self-centered that they can’t even hear you, and they wouldn’t care what you’re saying if they did hear. Don’t be this person. Be curious about the people you’re talking to. Ask them questions that show you’re listening, don’t think of a snappy retort or formulate your own cute story while they’re talking to you, and really focus on them with genuine interest. Doing this will earn you tons of respect and admiration – because most people don’t actually bother to do it.
“Can you believe guys were hitting on me at the bar tonight, when I didn’t even bother putting on makeup and my hair is totally pulled into a greasy ponytail?” Oh, boy. “OMG, the WiFi in this Paris AirBnB keeps cutting out – sorry, I know it’s so annoying!” Yes, we all have our own examples of the notorious #humblebrag, and they are all equally irritating. Look – if you want people to know how hot you are, or that you’re on a fancy trip, just tell them outright. No one is falling for your self-deprecating routine. Come right out and be just as self-aggrandizing as you please; at least people might have more respect for you that way.
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Comment: Which of these are you guilty of?