How to deal with people you don’t like

How to deal with people you don't like

In a perfect world, each person we interact with would be nice, kind, considerate, mindful, generous, and more. They would get our jokes and we would get theirs. We would all thrive in a convivial atmosphere where no one was ever cross, upset, or maligned.

However, we don’t live in a perfect world. Some people drive us crazy, and we (admittedly) drive a few mad as well. Those we dislike are inconsiderate, rushed, malign our character, question our motives, or just don’t get our jokes at all — but expect us to laugh at all theirs.

You might wonder whether it is possible to be fair to someone who ruffles you all the time, or someone you’d rather avoid eating lunch with. You might wonder if you should learn to like every person you meet.

According to Robert Sutton (a professor of management science at Stanford University), it’s neither possible — nor even ideal — to build a team comprised entirely of people you’d invite to a backyard barbecue.

That’s why smart people make the most out of people they don’t like. Here’s how they do it.

1. They accept that they are not going to like everyone.

Sometimes we get caught in the trap of thinking that we are nice people. We think that we are going to like everyone we interact with — even when that’s not going to happen. It’s inevitable you will encounter difficult people who oppose what you think. Smart people know this. They also recognize that conflicts or disagreements are a result of differences in values.

That person you don’t like is not intrinsically a bad human. The reason you don’t get along is because you have different values, and that difference creates judgment. Once you accept that not everyone will like you, and you won’t like everyone because of a difference in values, the realization can take the emotion out of the situation. That may even result in getting along better by agreeing to disagree.

2. They bear with (not ignore or dismiss) those they don’t like.

Sure, you may cringe at his constant criticism, grit your teeth at her lousy jokes, or shake your head at the way he hovers around her all the time, but feeling less than affectionate to someone might not be the worst thing. “From a performance standpoint, liking the people you manage too much is a bigger problem than liking them too little,” says Sutton.

“You need people who have different points of view and aren’t afraid to argue,” Sutton adds. “They are the kind of people who stop the organization from doing stupid things.” It may not be easy, but bear with them. It is often those who challenge or provoke us that prompt us to new insights and help propel the group to success. Remember, you are not perfect either, yet people still tolerate you.

3. They treat those they don’t like with civility.

Whatever your feelings are for someone, that person will be highly attuned to your attitude and behavior, and will likely reflect it back to you. If you are rude to them, they will likely throw away all decorum and be rude to you too. The onus; therefore, is on you to remain fair, impartial, and composed.

“Cultivating a diplomatic poker face is important. You need to be able to come across as professional and positive,” says Ben Dattner, an organizational psychologist and author of The Blame Game. This way you won’t stoop to their level or be sucked into acting the way they do.

4. They check their own expectations.

It’s not uncommon for people to have unrealistic expectations about others. We may expect others to act exactly as we would, or say the things that we might say in a certain situation. However, that’s not realistic. “People have ingrained personality traits that are going to largely determine how they react,” says Alan A. Cavaiola, PhD (psychology professor at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey). “Expecting others to do as you would do is setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration.”

If a person causes you to feel exactly the same way every time, adjust your expectations appropriately. This way you’ll be psychologically prepared and their behavior will not catch you by surprise. Smart people do this all the time. They’re not always surprised by a dis-likable person’s behavior.

5. They turn inwards and focus on themselves.

No matter what you try, some people can still really get under our skin. It’s important that you learn how to handle your frustration when dealing with someone who annoys you. Instead of thinking about how irritating that person is, focus on why you are reacting the way you are. Sometimes what we don’t like in others is frequently what we don’t like in ourselves. Besides, they didn’t create the button, they’re only pushing it.

Pinpoint the triggers that might be complicating your feelings. You may then be able to anticipate, soften, or even alter your reaction. Remember: it’s easier to change your perceptions, attitude, and behavior than to ask someone to be a different kind of person.

6. They pause and take a deep breath.

Some personality characteristics may always set you off, says Kathleen Bartle (a California-based conflict consultant). Maybe it’s the colleague who regularly misses deadlines, or the guy who tells off-color jokes. Take a look at what sets you off and who’s pushing your buttons. That way, Bartle says, you can prepare for when it happens again.

According to her, “If you can pause and get a grip on your adrenaline pump and go to the intellectual part of your brain, you’ll be better able to have a conversation and to skip over the judgment.” A deep breath and one big step back can also help to calm you down and protect you from overreaction, thereby allowing you to proceed with a slightly more open mind and heart.

7. They voice their own needs.

If certain people constantly tick you off, calmly let them know that their manner of behavior or communication style is a problem for you. Avoid accusatory language and instead try the “When you . . . I feel . . .” formula. For example, Cacaiola advises you to tell that person, “When you cut me off in meetings, I feel like you don’t value my contributions.” Then, take a moment and wait for their response.

You may find that the other person didn’t realize you weren’t finished speaking, or your colleague was so excited about your idea that she enthusiastically jumped into the conversation.

8. They allow space between them.

If all else fails, smart people allow space between themselves and those they don’t like. Excuse yourself and go on your way. If at work, move to another room or sit at the other end of the conference table. With a bit of distance, perspective, and empathy, you may be able to come back and interact both with those people you like and those you don’t like as if unfazed.

Of course, everything would be easier if we could wish people we don’t like away. Too bad we all know that’s not how life works.

Peopleimages/Getty Images

A couple of years ago, I worked with a co-worker who hated me. She talked negatively about me to other team members and challenged me openly on several occasions. The cherry on top? She told my boss she was better suited to be manager than I was.

Just because it stemmed from her frustrations with her own career, it didn’t make my experience any easier. I felt like I had to constantly defend myself, and my work had to compete with all of the negative attention.

Looking back now, though, I can see a silver lining. Her disdain toward me taught me five things about dealing with people who have it in for you:

1. Start With Yourself

It’s too easy to conclude that people don’t like you just because—without taking a look at yourself. Before deciding it has nothing to do with you, take a moment and consider if you’re doing things that could potentially be offensive or insensitive.

It could be something you’re aware of—like if you’re hyper-competitive and willing to step on others to get ahead. But it could also be habits you’re not attuned to, like finishing people’s sentences.

So, ask for feedback from someone you trust. Your boss or co-worker can provide perspective on how you’re coming across to others, and why you may not be received so well. This’ll give you an opportunity to adjust some of those behaviors, and then, revisit the relationships that may’ve gotten off to a rocky start. (I know it’s a tricky conversation to start, so here’s a template that’ll help you ask for honest feedback.

2. Accept Your Differences

Maybe the people you ask says there’s nothing they can identify that would rub others the wrong way. If that’s the case, the next step is to accept that not everyone will like you—and that’s OK.

Your job is not to convince them why they should. Yes, you need to be courteous, but don’t stop being true to who you are.

It’s helpful to remember that people have favorites inside and outside the workplace, I bet you experience it, too: There are probably some people that you click with and others you don’t. While it may seem personal, it’s just human nature, and remembering that can make it sting less.

If it’s still getting to me, I also like to remember that no one’s perfect and embracing imperfections is what make us unique.

3. Refuse to Engage

Of course, accepting doesn’t mean you stoop to their level. There’s an old saying that arguing with fools will just prove there are two.

No matter how strong you think your clap back game is, just don’t do it.

One strategy that has always helped me resist the urge to participate is redirecting the conversation. If I must talk to someone who doesn’t like me and I believe it’s headed in a negative direction, I quickly redirect the conversation back to its origin. For example, “Steve, I’d love to get back to brainstorming the marketing plan, specifically.”

4. Refocus

Dealing with such a negative person can be draining, so refocus your energy on the people who believe in you. You’re in your job for a reason—because you can do it, and the people who hired you know that!

What others think of your qualifications is not relevant.

Believe it or not, I often refocus by pretending that I’m on stage in front of a large audience. Lights, camera, action and everyone is watching. It doesn’t matter what happened backstage, in the dressing room, or at last night’s show. What matters most is my performance right here in this moment. That image helps me shake off any negativity and get back to business.

5. Reset

When you’re working with someone who doesn’t like you, you have to (repeatedly) hit reset. You can’t approach each working opportunity thinking about all the reasons why working with this individual’s difficult.

Resetting will minimize your frustration and allow you to get more done.

One way to do this is to “play dumb.” Yes, you’re wise enough to interpret the true meaning of your co-workers so-called compliments and see them for the digs they are. However, you can pretend not to. You can smile and say, “Thanks so much for acknowledging my work. I was pleased to see the positive results as well.”

If you imagine your interaction going fine, it just might—and you want to do all you can to make that possible.

Despite the critics, you must continue to persevere. This was the hardest lesson of them all for me to learn. I stressed about going to work, knowing I’d have to deal with this awful co-worker. But I got through it by remembering it was her problem. I didn’t dislike this associate. She disliked me. That was her burden alone to carry. Acknowledging that this was not my problem helped me remain resilient and continue doing the job I loved.

Use These Tips to Work Effectively With Coworkers You Don't Like

How to deal with people you don't like

Work would be totally awesome if you could always work with people that you like. These are the people who you not only respect in the workplace but are happy to socialize with outside of work, too. Wouldn’t that be a dream come true?

Well, maybe, and maybe not. Some people like to keep a complete separation between their work and their social life, others are comfortable inviting their coworkers to share their social time. But everyone wants to have a nice place to go to work. A nice place to work is defined by the people working there and the workplace practices and environment.

Unfortunately, you can't always pick the people with whom you work. So sometimes you get stuck working with a coworker you not only don't click with but who is a person whom you actively dislike, or even think you hate.

How do you survive this situation? (Sure, you can always get a new job and quit, but it’s silly to give up a job that you like in an organization that is otherwise good because of one colleague you dislike or are learning to hate.) So, what can you do instead of quitting?

Here are six tips for getting along with even the most annoying people you dislike.

Document the Disliked Coworker's Bad Behavior

Mia used to work with a woman that she couldn’t stand. At first, she thought it was just her own pettiness. She was pretty and smart and rapidly climbing the company ladder. Was she just jealous? Mia convinced herself that that was the case—she didn’t like her because she was just petty and jealous.

Now, that is a reason to cause you to dislike a coworker, but in this case, it turns out that it wasn’t the real reason. When she lied to a senior person in another department about work Mia had done, she realized that her coworker was simply a horrible person.

At that point, she was able to see that she wasn't the only person the coworker had happily sacrificed to make herself look better. Once Mia learned this about her, she understood that her unconscious mind had picked up on the coworker's sleazy character before she could see it clearly in action.

But, Mia still had to work with her. They were peers, so she had no hire/firepower over the coworker. Mia otherwise loved her job and wanted to stay in it. So, she actively changed her interactions with the coworker. Knowing that she had no trouble lying about any conversations, Mia stopped speaking to her face to face and communicated via email so that every interaction was documented.

While the supposed colleague remained a rotten person, she never did anything overtly to hinder Mia's career again. She knew she wasn't going to get away with that behavior again.

Identify Whether You're Actually the Problem

Sometimes the reason you don’t like a coworker is that the person has the same bad habits that you do. When they reflect back at you, you don’t like it. Sometimes, you dislike a coworker because that person is always criticizing you or telling you what to do.

Ask yourself if her complaints are valid. For example, when your office enemy says, “Are you going to get that report done on time?” is she picky and naggy or have you finished the report late for the past three months? If it’s the latter, you can fix your relationship by fixing your own behavior. Since the only behavior you have any control over is your own, this is good to know.

Try to Learn About the Coworker You Don't Like

You give people you know and like the benefit of the doubt far more often than you give it to strangers. When you learn what causes your coworker to tick, you might like her better.

For instance, your coworker who is crabby all of the time might just have gone through a terrible divorce where she lost custody of her children. Understandably, she’s not happy at the moment. Maybe management passed her over for promotions three times in a row. Maybe she has a deep and abiding love for cats and just wants to talk about them.

Anything is possible and it doesn't make the person even nicer, but it makes you see where she's coming from. And that can help you learn to like the coworker you think you don't like.

Be the Adult in the Room

When you were in elementary school, teachers expected you to get along with everyone, no matter what. If you could do that when you were seven, why can't you do it at 37? The answer is that you can.

You don’t have to become best friends—you do need to be polite. You need to do your job. Help other people. Don’t respond to pettiness and bad behavior. Just act nicely and professionally all of the time. Professionalism can be contagious.

Never, Ever Gossip About the Coworker You Dislike

When you have a coworker you dislike, the temptation to talk about her with the coworkers you do like is sometimes overwhelming. It’s fun to sit at work and talk about horrible Helga and the way she chews her food or uses Comic Sans in her emails.

Ask yourself, what good will this do? Will it help your relationship with Helga? No. Will it make you a stronger candidate for promotion? No. Will it make your department more productive? Of course not.

Don't gossip. Don't complain. Just be nice. Treat the coworker you don't like with professionalism and respect.

Seek Help With the Disliked Coworker

If your coworker causes actual problems with your work, talk to your manager. Ask your HR manager for tips about how to get along with your coworker. They really are there to help and many times, it’s possible for a manager to rearrange assignments so that you don’t have to constantly interact with a coworker you don’t like. This is a last-ditch resort, but it can work.

All and all, remember that work is work and not loving every aspect of your job doesn't mean it's a bad job or that your coworkers are bad people. It means that your life is pretty darn normal.

Suzanne Lucas is a freelance journalist specializing in Human Resources. Suzanne's work has been featured in notable publications including Forbes, CBS, Business Insider, and Yahoo.

Sanjana is a health writer and editor. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.

Cavan Images / Getty Images

No one likes every single person they’ve met. Most people can probably name a few people that they don’t particularly like. However, some people reach a stage where they get so annoyed, hurt, or frustrated with people or circumstances that they feel like they hate everyone.

Feeling this way can make it difficult for you to go about your life and interact with people on a day-to-day basis. It can cause a lot of conflict in your relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and other people in your life. Hate is also an intense emotion that can take a toll on your health.

This article explores some of the reasons why you might feel like you hate everyone, how this emotion can affect your physical and mental health, as well as some coping strategies that may be helpful.

Reasons Why You Might Hate Everyone

These are some of the reasons why you might feel like you hate everyone:

  • Stress:Stress can make you feel overwhelmed, panicky, irritable, and even angry. Prolonged stress can lead to angry outbursts, which can escalate to the point where you feel like you hate everyone.
  • Social anxiety:Social anxiety can make it difficult for you to interact with people and lead to emotions like nervousness, fear, embarrassment, and distress. In some cases, people with social anxiety may even react to situations that make them uncomfortable with anger and hatred.
  • Introverted personality: While some people tend to be outgoing and gregarious, others prefer to keep to themselves. If you’re an introvert, socializing with people outside your immediate circle can be emotionally draining. Sometimes, this can lead to agitation and hatred of people and situations outside your comfort zone.
  • Ideological differences: Having different political, religious, cultural, or social beliefs and values as others can cause you to feel angry with, and perhaps hateful toward, others whom you feel are “against” you, says Kristen Farrell Turner, PhD, a psychologist and educator at Pritikin Longevity Center. Turner says an “us versus them” mentality can induce angry, hateful feelings.

Consequences of Hating Everyone

Turner describes how hate can adversely affect your mental and physical health.

Impact on Mental Health

Hatred is a very extreme feeling that, compared with other often-related unpleasant feelings like anger or frustration, leaves little, if any, room for connectedness or empathy.

Kristen Farrell Turner, PhD

Furthermore, feeling hatred toward others will rob you of enjoyable life experiences. Not only does hatred require a great deal of cognitive and emotional energy, it also inhibits you from connecting with others and enriching your life.

Hatred may also involve the feeling of disgust, and if you are disgusted with everyone, you want nothing to do with them. When you take connectedness and empathy off the table, you definitely reduce your cognitive and emotional coping options.

Impact on Physical Health

Hatred is a distressing feeling that requires a lot of emotional energy. Distressing feelings often prompt people to seek unhealthy self-soothing behaviors, such as eating comfort foods or using alcohol or other substances to suppress and avoid their distress.

These feelings may also be combined with a tendency to withdraw from healthy activities such as exercising and spending time with supportive friends and family.

Also, suppose one experiences the feeling of hate often, coupled with the sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight response. In that case, that person might eventually experience some long-term consequences of chronic stress, such as systemic inflammation.

So, whether through unhealthy self-soothing to cope with the feeling or long-term sympathetic nervous system activation, chronically feeling hatred toward others could adversely affect your health.

Coping Strategies

Turner suggests some strategies that can be helpful if you feel like you hate everyone:

  • Avoid all-or-nothing thinking: If your hatred toward others is rooted in a disagreement with them about a specific issue, try to remember that you can disagree–and even be angry–with others without hating them. Just because you strongly disagree with someone else’s beliefs or behavior does not mean that person is all bad. This type of thinking is called all or nothing thinking, and it is irrational. Remind yourself that your feelings of hate are about the issue, not the person.
  • Avoid generalizing: If your hatred toward others focuses on a group of people, such as people of a certain race, region, or religion, your thinking is irrational because you are generalizing. You are lumping an entire group of people into one “bad” category and making assumptions about them based on a demographic characteristic.
  • Practice empathy: Nuance and empathy are antidotes to irrational thoughts. It’s important to understand that no one is all good or all bad. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, while not always easy, can go a long way toward increasing empathy and reducing hate. Just as you have your reasons for your beliefs and behaviors, so do others.
  • Prioritize self-care: It’s important to prioritize your needs and take care of yourself. For instance, if you are stressed out, you may need to make changes to your life to better cope. Or, if you are an introvert, you may need to set boundaries that help make you more comfortable.
  • Seek therapy:Therapy can help you explore your feelings and understand why you hate everyone. It can also help you be more empathetic, build healthy relationships, and develop alternative coping skills.

A Word From Verywell

Frequently experiencing anger, frustration, or discomfort can make you feel like you hate everyone. These emotions can take a toll on your mental and physical health, and make life a lot less enjoyable for you. Practicing empathy can help you change your mindset and make things more pleasant for you.

How to deal with people you don't like

I have a confession to make: there’s someone I know who I really don’t like.

I know this isn’t exactly front-page news. It’s not like I’m the first person to ever dislike someone else. But this situation has brought me face to face with all my strongest relationship triggers.

I find it incredibly difficult to do all the things I’ve written about when it comes to this person. Let’s call him Harry. (I’ve never in my life met a single person named Harry, but let’s just roll with it.)

I regularly find myself wanting to judge Harry before giving him the benefit of the doubt—even though I know I’d want that courtesy if I did the things he did. But that line of thought brings me back to judgment, because I remind myself, “I would never do the things he does.”

I find it easy to suspect him of poor intentions and conclude that maybe “he’s just a jerk,” even though I know that I get to decide what meaning to give his actions, and I also know that things are rarely black and white.

In dealing with Harry—and perhaps more importantly, my reactions to him—I’ve found myself considering three important questions:

  • We’re always talking about letting go of judgments; is it possible that sometimes, someone is just a jerk?
  • Is it judgmental to decide someone’s actions are “wrong” when you feel strongly opposed to them?
  • Just because we know there are emotional triggers influencing our response to someone, does that mean they shouldn’t be accountable for their actions?

I’ve decided to break these down, one by one, to see what there is to learn in this situation.

We’re always talking about letting go of judgments; is it possible that sometimes, someone is just a jerk?

I’ve wanted to use this label for Harry because of assumptions I’ve formed about his behavior: that he thinks he’s better than other people; that he’s really selfish, despite pretending to be caring and well-intentioned; and that all of this amounts to unfairness.

When I break this down, I realize the “he thinks he’s better than me” assumption goes back to my childhood experiences with being bullied, when I felt inferior to most of my peers—and their actions seemed to reinforce that.

The “he’s selfish” belief is a projection of my own fear that I’m actually a selfish person (something I’ve wrestled with all my life, no matter how giving I try to be).

And the conclusion about “unfairness” relates to my life-long aversion to all things unjust—both a response to my childhood and a natural human reaction.

When I pull it all apart like this, I realize I’m having a strong emotional reaction based on lots of things that aren’t solely related to him.

So my desire to sum my feelings up with one harsh label isn’t only about his actions. It’s also about my past experience.

And when I really think about it, whenever I’ve wanted to label anyone as a “jerk” (or something stronger), I’ve dealt with these same (and other related) triggers.

That doesn’t mean no one has ever done anything to justify my anger. It’s just that usually, when I feel unable to access even a shred of understanding or compassion, it’s because there are strong layers of resistance, reinforced by years of my own pain, in the way.

I suspect that’s true for most of us: the more tempting it feels to give someone one reductionist label, the deeper and more complex the triggers.

This brings me to the next question…

Is it judgmental to decide someone’s actions are “wrong” when you feel strongly opposed to them?

While I realize there’s a lot more contributing to my feelings than his actions, that doesn’t change that I don’t agree with everything he says and does.

Once I peel away the layers of my complex response to him, I can then objectively ask myself, “Which of the choices he makes don’t feel right for me?”

This isn’t judgment—it’s discernment. It’s forming an assessment without the emotional weight behind it. And it’s essential to maintaining my own moral compass and forming boundaries within my relationships.

That means I don’t need to label him anymore. Instead I can say, “I wouldn’t make the choices as he makes, and I don’t want someone in my life who makes them.”

It’s not about me deciding he’s a “bad person” and, therefore, feeling better than him; it’s about me realizing he’s a bad match for a friendship and then feeling better about the situation.

The positive consequence: I give him far less power over me and my emotions. He’s not wrong—just wrong for me.

And then that brings me to the last question…

Just because we know that someone’s actions trigger us, does that mean they shouldn’t be accountable for their actions?

Now that I’ve accepted responsibility for my reaction to him, and acknowledged that his choices can make him “wrong” for a friendship with me without making him universally “wrong,” I no longer need to “hold him accountable.”

But if I were to want to maintain a friendship with him, I’d have two choices: accept him as he is, or share my reactions to his choices and let him into my process.

I know from past experience that people rarely respond well when they feel judged or attacked.

But people sometimes surprise us when we explain how we feel in response to the things they do—not because they’re responsible for our feelings, but because they care about them.

And if they don’t care, well, this brings us back to the first two parts: It doesn’t make them jerks. It just gives us a reason to be discerning about whether or not we want to care about them.

So where has all this left me? I’m going to continue peeling away the layers of my issues around others “being better than me” and my fears of “being selfish.” And I’m going to silently thank Harry for reminding me to continue doing this work.

Then I’m going to stop communicating with him. Because as much as I value the gifts he’s given me, I value myself enough to realize he’s given a lot more that I don’t want to receive.

Have you ever felt a strong reaction to someone else and realized it had a lot to do with your own triggers?

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, Tiny Buddha’s Worry Journal, and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. For daily wisdom, join the Tiny Buddha list here. You can also follow Tiny Buddha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

You can feel a bit lost when someone close to you needs help but doesn’t want to accept it. Find out why the people you care about don’t always seek help when they need it. And get some tips on how to support them, including knowing what to do when things get really serious.

This can help if:

  • someone you know is going through a tough time
  • you’re feeling frustrated because you can’t help them
  • you want some tips on how to be there during tough times.

How to deal with people you don't like

Why people don’t want help

If things are really getting to someone you care about, it’s important to understand that making a decision to seek help can be a tough thing for them to do. Coming around to the realisation that they’re going through a rough patch can be scary and difficult, so it’s understandable that they may take some time before deciding to seek help.

How to be there for someone who isn’t ready to seek help

If your offers of advice and support are being rejected, you may feel like you’re powerless to do anything. But you can still be there for your friend; you might just need to take a different approach to the way you’re supporting them.

Be available

Continue to be supportive. Listen to your friend when they need to talk.

Offer help

Give suggestions, if and when your friend reaches out to you and asks for your advice.

Become informed

Do a bit of research into what help is available in your area that could be useful for your friend. That way, if they decide they’re ready to seek help, you’ll be able to give them some direction about who to go and see.

Talk to someone yourself

You need to look after yourself, too. It can be really frustrating, and make you feel helpless, if a friend won’t let you help them. Talk through how you’re feeling with someone you trust.

Set boundaries

You’re not going to be able to be there for someone at every moment of every day. Set some limits on things you’re willing and not willing to do – and stick to them! (For example, work out if you’re comfortable about accompanying them to their appointments.)

Don’t force the issue or put pressure on them

If you try to pressure or force a friend to get help, it may come from a good place, but it can actually have the opposite effect to what you intend and could turn your friend off seeking help altogether.

Don’t avoid them

If you avoid your friend, it’s likely to make them feel isolated. It may also mean that if and when they’re ready to seek help, they might not feel comfortable about coming to you for support.

If things are really serious

While, in most circumstances, it’s a good idea to give a friend time to come around to the idea of seeking help, if you think someone is in danger or is at risk as a result of what’s going on, it’s important that you seek help immediately.

What can I do now?

  • Learn more about listening skills.
  • If you’re worried that a friend is at risk, tell someone you trust or call a helpline.
  • Have someone that you can talk to yourself if you’re finding it tough.

Explore other topics

It’s not always easy to find the right place to start. Our ‘What’s on your mind?’ tool can help you explore what’s right for you.

How to deal with people you don't like

Other people, unfortunately, are not — and that might include you.

Can that impact your chances for success? Probably so: Research shows ” popular workers were seen as trustworthy, motivated, serious, decisive, and hardworking. and their less-liked colleagues were perceived as arrogant, conniving and manipulative.”

If any of the following apply to you, decide you’ll make some changes, if only because that will also make you a lot happier.

1. You control.

Yeah, you’re the boss. Yeah, you’re the titan of industry. Yeah, you’re the small tail that wags a huge dog.

Still, the only thing you really control is you. If you find yourself trying hard to control other people, you’ve decided that you, your goals, your dreams, or even just your opinions are more important than theirs.

Plus, control is short term at best, because it often requires force, or fear, or authority, or some form of pressure–none of those let you feel good about yourself.

Find people who want to go where you’re going. They’ll work harder, have more fun, and create better business and personal relationships.

And all of you will be happier.

2. You blame.

People make mistakes. Employees don’t meet your expectations. Vendors don’t deliver on time.

So you blame them for your problems.

But you’re also to blame. Maybe you didn’t provide enough training. Maybe you didn’t build in enough of a buffer. Maybe you asked too much, too soon.

Taking responsibility when things go wrong instead of blaming others isn’t masochistic; it’s empowering, because then you focus on doing things better or smarter next time.

And when you get better or smarter, you also get happier.

3. You try to impress.

No one likes you for your clothes, your car, your possessions, your title, or your accomplishments. Those are all “things.” People may like your things, but that doesn’t mean they like you.

Sure, superficially they might seem to, but superficial is also insubstantial, and a relationship that is not based on substance is not a real relationship.

Genuine relationships make you happier, and you’ll form genuine relationships only when you stop trying to impress and start trying to just be yourself.

4. You cling.

When you’re afraid or insecure, you hold on tightly to what you know, even if what you know isn’t particularly good for you.

An absence of fear or insecurity isn’t happiness: It’s just an absence of fear or insecurity.

Holding on to what you think you need won’t make you happier; letting go so you can reach for and try to earn what you want will.

Even if you don’t succeed in earning what you want, the act of trying alone will make you feel better about yourself.

5. You interrupt.

Interrupting isn’t just rude. When you interrupt someone, what you’re really saying is, “I’m not listening to you so I can understand what you’re saying; I’m listening to you so I can decide what I want to say.”

Want people to like you? Listen to what they say. Focus on what they say. Ask questions to make sure you understand what they say.

They’ll love you for it–and you’ll love how that makes you feel.

6. You whine.

Your words have power, especially over you. Whining about your problems makes you feel worse, not better.

If something is wrong, don’t waste time complaining. Put that effort into making the situation better. Unless you want to whine about it forever, eventually you’ll have to do that. So why waste time? Fix it now.

Don’t talk about what’s wrong. Talk about how you’ll make things better, even if that conversation is only with yourself.

And do the same with your friends or colleagues. Don’t be just the shoulder they cry on.

Friends don’t let friends whine. Friends help friends make their lives better.

7. You criticize.

Yeah, you’re more educated. Yeah, you’re more experienced. Yeah, you’ve been around more blocks and climbed more mountains and slayed more dragons.

That doesn’t make you smarter, or better, or more insightful.

That just makes you you: unique, matchless, one of a kind–but in the end, just you.

Just like everyone else, including your employees.

Everyone is different: not better, not worse, just different. Appreciate the differences instead of the shortcomings and you’ll see people–and yourself–in a better light.

8. You preach.

Criticizing has a brother. His name is Preaching. They share the same father: Judging.

The higher you rise and the more you accomplish, the more likely you are to think you know everything and to tell people everything you think you know.

When you speak with more finality than foundation, people may hear you but they don’t listen. Few things are sadder and leave you feeling less happy.

9. You dwell.

The past is valuable. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the mistakes of others.

Easier said than done? (Even Troy Aikman struggles with this, but in a really good way.) It depends on your focus. When something bad happens to you, see that as a chance to learn something you didn’t know. When another person makes a mistake, see that as an opportunity to be kind, forgiving, and understanding.

The past is just training; it doesn’t define you. Think about what went wrong, but only in terms of how you will make sure that, next time, you and the people around you will know how to make sure it goes right.

10. You fear.

We’re all afraid, of what might or might not happen, of what we can’t change, or what we won’t be able to do, or how other people might perceive us.

So it’s easier to hesitate, to wait for the right moment, to decide we need to think a little longer or do some more research or explore a few more alternatives.

Meanwhile days, weeks, months, and even years pass us by.

And so do our dreams.

Don’t let your fears hold you back. Whatever you’ve been planning, whatever you’ve imagined, whatever you’ve dreamed of, get started on it today.

If you want to start a business, take the first step. If you want to change careers, take the first step. If you want to expand or enter a new market or offer new products or services, take the first step.

Put your fears aside and get started. Do something. Do anything.

Otherwise, today is gone. Once tomorrow comes, today is lost forever.

Today is the most precious asset you own-and is the one thing you should truly fear wasting.

When someone says “I don’t like people” sometimes it’s just their semi-facetious way of stating, “I’m not super-social by nature. I don’t need a ton of friends. I’m selective about who I hang around. My personality-type, values, and interests are unconventional, and I’ve come to realize most people don’t have a lot to offer me.” That’s fine. Not everybody has to be ultra-mainstream and love everyone.

At other times “I just don’t like people” is said in a much more wounded, hostile manner. That’s the use of it what I want to talk about in this article. Below are my thoughts on this not-uncommon sentiment. As you can probably guess I don’t think this issue is a one-sided matter of “People actually do suck” or “You’re just discouraged and angry. It’s all in your head.” When someone comes to feel this way there’s often a lot going on.

Thinking you don’t like people may be a totally reasonable conclusion based on your life so far

People who think like this often haven’t had the best interactions with others up to this point in their lives. They’re lonely and socially inexperienced. They don’t look at other people and think ‘rewarding relationships’. Such a thing may have never have happened for them.

When they try to make friends they may get ignored or shut down. They may have been misunderstood and picked on by their classmates all through school. People may routinely overlook or subtly disrespect them. They may have unsympathetic, rejecting, or downright abusive family members. At present their only social interactions may be with their toxic co-workers, and their prickly, nitpicking boss. When that’s all someone’s known, where they haven’t seen much of the good side of anyone, it’s hardly surprising that they’d come to the conclusion that people suck.

It’s easier to form a negative opinion of people when you’re at a distance and view them in the abstract

If someone spends much of their time alone, and their only social interactions are fleeting and superficial, a lot of the information they’re receiving about other people is more general and abstract. They’re not having those firsthand experiences, like a fun night out with friends, that viscerally reinforce how great and funny and supportive others can be. Instead they’re reading articles about the latest bar-lowering hit reality TV show. They’re hearing news about how everyone elected another corrupt politician, or how a majority of the public supports a bigoted law, or how a bunch of far-off countries are mired in atrocities. They’re going on their favorite website and seeing how dumb the commenters have become lately. When you look at people from that detached viewpoint it’s not so difficult to be down on your fellow man.

Saying you don’t like people can be an attempt to make yourself feel better about your social struggles

Not the deepest, most-shocking insight here. I think many people who say they hate everyone do want friends and meaningful relationships. They may be hurt, discouraged, conflicted, or wary about the whole idea, but they still want closer connections deep down. They may also feel broken and hopeless about their chances of ever having a fulfilling social life. Saying they don’t actually like people can take some of that pain away. They’re telling themselves they don’t care about what they think they can’t have, or they’re devaluing something they need so the lack of it doesn’t bother them as much.

I’m sure a minority really do have no use for other people, and they’re not just trying to fool themselves. If they want to do their own thing and not worry about socializing, that’s their decision to make.

If you manage to have more fulfilling interactions with people the feelings will likely go away

You knew this point was coming. If you’re really in the depths of social isolation, and you have some social skills gaps, anxiety issues, and a history of rejection, then it can be hard to imagine you may one day have a life where you have a solid group of friends and you enjoy people’s company. Like the intro was saying, it may never be your style to be a bubbly Chatty Cathy with a million casual acquaintances, but that bitterness toward humanity can dull. If you start addressing your problems you’ll likely find your opinion of people begins to turn around, as you start to have more intrinsically-rewarding interactions.

I realize ‘get over your fears and baggage’ is easier said than done. If you’ve been mistreated throughout your life you’re not going to become trusting and self-confident tomorrow. Working through what you’ve been through may take years. But once you’re on the other side you’ll be able to see everyone in a more-balanced way.

Related articles

These articles talk about some closely-related topics. First, disliking people sometimes goes hand-in-hand with an attitude that you’re better than others:

This one may help diffuse a general sentiment that other people are shallow and vacuous on the whole:

Sometimes it’s not so much that you outright dislike people, as you have trouble feeling interested in them:

Finally, feeling really down on other people may be a symptom of depression, which can make your thoughts become really negative and self-sabotaging:

Many of us have felt it: There’s someone on our minds, and even though they don’t feel the same way, we still feel the desire to build a relationship. Loving someone you can’t have can take a toll on your mental health, and longing to be with them can be heart-wrenching. This type of emotional turmoil can feel unrelenting at times.

But while you may feel like all hope is lost, it's important to remember that this person, ultimately, only plays a small role in the timeline of your life. Even if you're in love with someone you can't have, there are plenty of ways to work with your brain—not against it—to stop loving them.

Below, read on to learn five ways to get past unrequited love (and how to move on the right way) from experts Jeremy Nicholson and Chloe Carmichael.

Meet the Expert

    is a doctor of social and personality psychology. is a clinical psychologist.

Work Through Your Feelings

When you love someone you can’t have, it’s common to bury your feelings in an effort to avoid the painful realities of your situation. It may seem easier to push these feelings of grief away, but working through loss is an important step to get past the longing.

"Sometimes we feel unrequited love because the potential partner seems so attractive and valuable to us," says Nicholson."Other times, we feel unrequited love because we think an actual relationship might be possible, although not assured. This can happen when there is a friendship with mixed signals—or we misconstrue the interest of someone else."

Whether you’re still in love with your ex, crushing on someone who’s unavailable, or feeling rejected, taking the time you need to acknowledge your feelings (and feel your emotions) is crucial to the process of moving on. Sometimes, you might even find that the attraction isn’t based on the individual, but the actual desire to be in a relationship.

"We may feel unreciprocated love simply because we enjoy the feeling," Nicholson says. "This can happen when we are in love with the idea of love itself, or an idealized soul mate, rather than the real person."

Focus on Yourself

When was the last time you did something nice for yourself? Rather than devoting your emotional energy to thinking of someone else, try to focus on the first person who deserves your love—you.

“Part of why breakups can be so painful is that [everything] in our current environment reminds us of our ex,” says Carmichael. “It can sometimes seem as if everything in our life reminds us of that person. One way to change this is to deliberately create new experiences to help the old memories start to recede. New experiences can also subtly reassure us that there are other possibilities in life.”

This isn't a time for getting lost in the memories: It's a time for making new ones. Concentrate on your personal happiness, mental health, and physical well-being. By pampering yourself and practicing acts of self-love and care, you can put your focus to better use by improving your own life. When you make yourself a priority again, you’re taking a major step in dealing with unrequited love.

Don't be afraid to try something new, like traveling, signing up for a new fitness class, or learning a skill or hobby you've always been interested in. What's important is the choice to make a healthy use of your time, and allowing yourself to let go of hurtful memories.

Make Time for Friends and Family

When you're going through difficult times in life—whether in love or not—your support system can make it easier. Instead of spending time alone and shutting the world out, now is a good time to reach out to other people you care about.

Your friends and family can offer great support, guidance, and love. By being around people with positive energy who have your best interest, you can reshape your mindset and embrace their optimistic outlooks.

"We were not meant to grieve alone, so consider making sure that you’re always with a supportive friend or family member for the first week or two," Carmichael says. Their experiences can also help you put your current situation in perspective, as they've likely been there before as well.

Close relationships can be a great emotional resource, and they’ll provide you with insight and direction when it comes to moving on. “Obviously, a friend or family member doesn’t fill the void, but at the very least it can be helpful to surround yourself with support during a loss,” Carmichael says.

Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

When you love someone you can’t have, it’s not uncommon to feel frustrated with yourself for not getting over them yet. But remember that the process of healing takes time—and rather than setting high expectations for yourself, it's okay to be proud that you were open to love in the first place.

“If you thought your ex was perfect but they broke up with you out of the blue, you might consider [focusing on] their inability to make or keep a commitment to you,” Carmichael says. Whether you were in a committed relationship or not, it’s helpful to remember that the person you love is an individual. They may not be interested in a relationship with you, or they may simply not be in the right mindset for romance to begin with. Ultimately, it’s best to use these feelings as a way to move on.

"Sometimes just realizing that a person is actually not the stable, reliable 'relationship person' we initially thought they were can help decrease that person’s desirability, thereby making it a little easier to move past them," Carmichael says.

While it's okay to still have feelings for this person, you have to make your peace with the situation. Accept the reality, but remember that it can take time. Don't be hard on yourself if you're not entirely over them—these transitions don't happen overnight.

Don’t Give Up on Love

One of the most important takeaways from dealing with unrequited love is the understanding that you will find love again. While it may feel like a happy relationship just isn't in the cards for you, this simply isn't the case.

"Sometimes we may obsess about the past as a way to avoid re-entering the dating world because, on a certain level, we are afraid of repeating whatever potential mistakes that may have led to our current situation," Carmichael says. "If you think this might be the case, make sure you find ways to learn from your past relationship and have support as you ponder dating again."

Self-care and building stronger relationships with friends and family can speed up the process. Once you’re confident in your daily life again, it won’t feel so difficult to open up to new people. Take a moment to think about it: If you can feel this much love for someone you’re not with, the amount of love you’ll find in the right relationship will exceed these feelings (in the best way).

Rather than giving up on love, look forward. It’s okay to let this person go in favor of excitement for meeting the next person. While it wasn’t meant to be this time, it’s only a step in the process of finding what’s best—and it’ll be even better after looking back on this experience.

How to deal with people you don't like

Do you need some ways to deal with someone you don’t want to be friends with? It’s really rather awkward when someone wants to make friends with you but you don’t really click with them. Sometimes they try a bit too hard to be your friend, and you don’t want to bluntly tell them you’re not interested. But how can you diplomatically deter someone? Here are some ways to deal with someone you don’t want to be friends with:

1 Be Firm

One of the ways to deal with someone you don’t want to be friends with is to be firm and not cave in. Giving in to someone who is persistent will just mean that you end up maintaining a ‘friendship’ that doesn’t mean anything and resenting the other person for imposing themselves on you. Don’t let it start, and you won’t have to finish it.

2 Remain Friendly

Even if you don’t want to be friends with someone, you should still maintain a courteous attitude towards them. There’s a difference between being friends and being friendly; the latter doesn’t mean that you’ll be encouraging them. You can still be civil, so try to resist being rude in an attempt to put them off.

3 Impose Limits

If you don’t mind this person too much, but you just don’t want to be friends with them, try setting limits on your dealings with them. Perhaps you don’t mind hanging around with them as part of a group, or having the occasional coffee. If so, try to ensure that you only see them under these circumstances.

4 Avoid Them

Some persistent would-be friends really don’t get the hint, and keep on trying to make friends with you. In such a situation, avoiding them may be the best option. Above all, make sure that they don’t get hold of your number, or you could be fielding calls all the time. This can also be the best way of dealing with someone who is offended that you don’t return their interest.

5 Be Unavailable

If someone you don’t want to be friends with gets hold of your number don’t answer their calls. It may be a bit cowardly to avoid answering them, but eventually they will get the message and stop calling. And if they ask you face to face if you want to do something on a specific date, tell them you’re not free then.

6 Be Busy

Don’t feel guilty about saying no to someone if you don’t have the time or inclination to be friends with them. It’s kinder to both of you than going along with something you don’t want to do. If they invite you to something directly, then explain that you are too busy at the moment, even if you have to do so every time they ask.

7 Find Them Another Friend

Perhaps you really don’t have anything in common with this person, but you know someone else who does. In that case, you could play friend matchmaker and introduce them. And if they don’t want to be friends either, simply give them the link to this article and they’ll know what to do!

You don’t have to be friends with someone if you don’t want to, so don’t feel obliged. Just be polite about explaining that you don’t have time/would rather not meet for coffee etc. Have you ever been pestered by someone who wouldn’t take no for an answer?