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Someone Does Not Like You

Updated on August 23, 2020
drmiddlebrook profile image

Former university professor of marketing and communications, Sallie is an independent publisher and marketing communications consultant.

There is someone who doesn't like you. Whether or not you know it, it’s true. How do I know? I know because you’re reading this article, but to make sure there’s no room for doubt, let me ask you a question: Are you a breathing, living person, an individual with a mind and a heart of your own? You are? Then, that’s how I know, without a doubt, that there’s someone who doesn't like you. Chances are if you were a puppy or a robot, instead of a human, you might not have any enemies (but then again, you just might!). But since you are flesh and blood and human, trust me; there are things about you that are definitely rubbing someone the wrong way.

Maybe it’s the way you look. You might look better than someone, or you might look worse. Either way, there’s someone who doesn’t like you for the way you look. And what about the way you talk? Are you extremely articulate, with great command of one or several languages? Or do you speak just one language with a limited vocabulary and a very noticeable speech impediment? Guess what? It doesn’t matter. Someone doesn’t like you for it.

The dislike someone has for you could even be based on the way you do your job. Perhaps you do your job a whole lot worse than this other person, or you might do it a whole lot better. But that’s not really the point now, is it? The point is, no matter which description fits you, someone doesn’t like you because of it.

Are you very popular, someone lots of people like? Well that alone could be the problem! Too many people like you (popularity can be a big problem for some people—and no way could they ever like someone as popular as you). Perhaps you walk with an air of self-confidence, holding you head up high. See the problem? Someone doesn’t like you because of that. How dare you feel enough confidence to hold your head up, walking with poise and self-assurance!

Or it could be how you dress. Or how you wear your hair. Or those shoes. It could definitely be those shoes. And so on. And so on. The point is it is not necessary for you to have actually done anything wrong, said anything wrong or insulting, or in any way hinted that you do not like the other person, for him or her to dislike you. If fact, often you and I are disliked by people who don’t even know us. Yes. There are actually some people who dislike other people as a concept. They’ve never really met you, but it’s just the idea of people like you that they don’t like and simply cannot stand.

Signs That Someone Doesn't Like You

Are there tale-tale signs when someone does not like you? Must a warning shot be fired over your head, or can something such as body language reveal dislike or disdain? Or is it the face that says it all? What about lack of interest or acknowledgement when you’re speaking, or turning the head or the body toward the door as if wanting to leave? Or, what about giving a look that says they want you to leave? As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. With this in mind, here are some things that could be signaling that someone does not like you:

1. Not Enough Eye Contact. Although not foolproof (some people can keep eye contact with you and still lie to your face), eyes can provide helpful information. Are they the “window to the soul?” I don’t know, but I do know eye contact is a good thing to watch for when someone is talking to you. I believe it’s hard to hide “lying eyes.” If you’ve observed someone who, when interacting with others makes good eye contact, but they seem to have trouble keeping eye contact with you, then this could be signal of deception. Observe the eyes of people when they speak to you.

2. Too Much Praise. You know you’re great, right? But you also know you’re not all that! When someone lavishes praise on you constantly, even when you know you’ve done nothing to deserve the level of praise they’re gushing and overflowing with, it could actually be a signal that you are not liked by this person. They might see you as someone they need to “kiss up to” for one reason or another, and they are using what they think will win you over.

3. Tricks. Some people hide their dislike behind walls of deceit.Trickery can be one such wall. I was once in a situation at a job (I was very young, well under 30), where an older colleague asked me to speak, in a formal meeting, about problems with our boss. The boss hadn’t been invited to the meeting, but many people from the department were present. Once the meeting started, I observed that the person who’d asked me to talk before the meeting started, during the meeting, was not saying anything at all. So, going with my gut instincts, I decided not to speak either. After all, I was new to the job and this person and others present had worked there for more than ten years. I later realized I was being set up to be used to voice the grievances of others. To this day, I’m glad I didn’t say anything in that meeting. I think you have to be mindful of people who hide their dislike for you behind walls such as this. No one who likes/respects you is going to try to use you in such a way.

So What if Someone Doesn't Like You?

As long as there are people in the world, there will be other people who don’t like them. Some of these people will actively and outwardly display their dislike, while others will work behind the scenes, surreptitiously. It’s a fact of life that not everyone is going to like you. It’s just not going to happen. Some did not like Jesus Christ, and He was God on Earth in a human body.

So, why should you care? Although I don't think you should become obsessed with the notion, it is always good to keep your eyes open. Some people who don't like you will go out of their way to cause harm to come to you, in any way they can. For this reason, it's wise to be alert and aware, and to pay close attention to people--especially those you allow to come close to you, or those who seem intent on becoming part of your "inner circle."

Have you ever had to confront a co-worker who you knew did not like you, because of something he/she did/said that harmed you in some way?

See results

What is Overt Dislike?

Some people who don’t like you will let you know it. They will be overt about it, and will either tell you outright, to your face, or their overt (not hidden) actions toward you will let you know. Even at work, where it is usually necessary to be polite and civil to everyone in order to keep your job, it is still clear to most people when someone has a sincere dislike for them.

At work and/or other places where you interact with people regularly, people will usually fall into the category of friend, acquaintance, or those you tolerate. Someone who doesn't like you and who demonstrates it overtly will usually fall into the last category. They will tolerate you and you will tolerate them, and, when necessary, you will engage in civil, overt communications and actions toward each other. It’s good to know when someone does not like you, and it even helps to know the reason why. Sometimes people who openly assert their dislike for you are the least dangerous, because they know they will be first named if you ever have to construct a list of likely suspects. Your distrust of them ensures you will observe their actions toward you while maintaining a certain distance, and distance alone can bring with it a certain level of comfort.

Unfortunately, it is those who do not like you who come disguised as friends that you need to be even more concerned about. These are the people who can get close enough to do some real damage. Remember Judas Iscariot? In the New Testament, he was one of the disciples, someone once trusted, yet he agreed to lead the chief Sanhedrin priests to Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. This is not to say those who show their dislike are harmless, or that you should not be distrustful of them. But, the more aware you are of overt enemies, the less likely it is that he or she will be able to do a lot of harm to you.

What is Covert Dislike?

If the dislike is covert (hidden), it can be a horse (or a fox) of a different color. Secret enemies can be especially difficult to deal with. They can be co-workers, fellow church members, so-called friends—even relatives or other “loved ones.” It’s sad situation when someone hides the fact that they don't like you, but it does happen. So how do you know if someone is a covert enemy? We don’t always know, but we need to be mindful in observing people who are in our lives—comparing their actions to their diction. When you begin to see, often, a “disconnect” between what someone says to you and their actions toward you, then that is most likely a warning sign.

People who tell you they're going to do one thing and then do another might want you to see them in a way that is different from the person they truly are. I’ve found that when people continuously present a "likeable" character or personality to me, and then I observe them constantly engaging in behavior or actions toward me or others that seem contrary to the personality they portray, in my mind, I see caution lights. After all, why present a false character or personality to anyone? Someone who is consciously or unconsciously wavering; wanting to be seen as one type of person, when they are actually another type, is presenting a facade. And how can anyone trust a façade?

In the Final Analysis

If you know you’ve done nothing to cause a person to dislike you, there’s probably nothing you could ever do to cause them to like you. And, if you must come in contact with them regularly, then being tolerant—for you and for them—is probably a good and workable arrangement.

The good news is it is not necessary for everyone to like you. Whether it is at work, at school, at church, or somewhere you do volunteer work, there is probably someone there who does not like you. Okay, fine. So, seek out and find those people who do like you, those with whom you share common interests and enjoy being around, and don’t spend a lot of time worrying about those who don’t like you. In the workplace, especially, just make sure that you are doing your job to the best of your ability. That should be your Number One workplace priority, while making friends and workplace politics, while important, should be of lesser importance. Of course, it is always good and preferable to be courteous, kind, pleasant, and sociable—within reason, with people you work with every day. Still, I believe a line has to be drawn, especially in the workplace, between being friendly, polite, and civil, and needing someone to like you.

What to Do When Someone Doesn't Like You

© 2012 Sallie B Middlebrook PhD

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