The desire to be liked is instinctive. We, as a species, evolved to pay attention to what other people think about us because in the wild we needed them – to like us – to survive. Even today, you still need people to like you to survive. So, worrying if you are liked or not is not entirely out of place. It is almost as important as worrying about your health.
Is It Possible That No One Likes Me?
Think about that celebrity you don’t like very much (or even dislike). Don’t you wonder why they still have millions of fans? Well, the fact is people have a myriad of reasons they may choose to like or dislike someone. In fact, the very reason one person likes you may be the reason another person dislikes you. It may sound weird but it’s true. It is impossible to be liked by everyone. It is also highly unlikely that absolutely no one likes you.
While you may encounter individuals who may not resonate with you or may even have conflicts with you for various reasons, it’s improbable that you are universally disliked by everyone. Not even Hitler or the Satan is disliked by everyone.
Of course, stating this fact does not dismiss that deep-seated feeling of inadequacy – that feeling that there is something amiss or wrong with you that makes everyone dislike you. So, let’s address that:
What Causes You To Think No One Likes You?
Your mind, as with the mind of most people, is designed to pay attention to the negativity or assume the negative. In psychology, this is called the Negativity Bias. For example, if you heard a sound in the dark, your first thought might be that you are being hunted by an evil demon, a wild animal, or about to be attacked by an armed robber even if that isn’t the case (most of the time). This bias towards the negative isn’t all that bad. For a start, it is better to make a fool of yourself by running away from a mouse, the wind, or your friend, than to optimistically stand by when a vicious beast is lurking. But, it is also the reason you might think no one likes you, rather than believing everyone likes you.
This feature in our brains – to be biased towards the negative – is also the reason we can feel bad that someone left a negative comment on our social media post despite it garnering tens or hundreds of positive ones.
Keep in mind that, if you’re like most people, YOU HAVE someone who likes and cares deeply about you – this could be your parents, siblings, or friends. You must not allow your mind to trick you into thinking they don’t like you. Keep in mind that people who like you may not always be kissing your sweet cheeks or buying you boxes of chocolate. Sometimes, their ability to provide you with mundane things (like shelter, clothing, food, a call, etc) is enough, and a lot.
“You will never stop seeking validation from others. It’s impossible. Instead, seek validation for better reasons and from better people.”– Mark Manson
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Some Reasons You Might Think No One Likes You
On a more serious note, there are legitimate reasons you might have that strong, incessant, and pesky feeling that no one likes you. And, those reasons can be composed of both internal and external factors, as well as subjective and objective factors. Here are some potential reason
You may have low self-esteem:
When you have low self-esteem, you may doubt your self-worth and believe that others don’t like you. For example, if you feel insecure about your dressing at an event, you might assume others share the same negative opinions. And, even when someone compliments you, you might take it as mockery rather than a genuine admiration.
You may have been scarred by rejection or past negative experiences:
If you’ve faced (multiple or very harsh) rejection or mistreatment in the past, you might generalize and internalize these negative experiences to believe that everyone will react the same way – you might fear everyone dislikes you.
You may not have forgiven yourself:
It may be that you are yet to move on from your past mistakes. Maybe you did something wrong or made a mistake in the past and now you dislike yourself and believe others will dislike you too.
You may be comparing yourself to others:
Constantly comparing yourself to others, even on social media, can lead to feelings of inadequacy and thinking that no one likes you because you don’t measure up. For example, if you post a picture and get no likes, but see someone else getting hundreds or thousands of likes, you might begin to worry that people don’t like you, whilst likes on social media depend on a lot of factors that are not always within your control – such as the algorithm, the time you posted, the group you posted the content to, the hashtags you used, and so on.
You may be misinterpreting social cues:
Sometimes, misinterpreting others’ behaviour can lead to the belief that people don’t like you. For instance, if someone yawns when you are speaking to them, you might assume that they are bored or uninterested whilst they might actually be tired. Another example is over text: if someone doesn’t respond to your message immediately, you might assume they’re avoiding you, don’t prioritise you, or dislike you whilst they may be low on mobile data, be engaged at the moment, or might have simply missed your message.
You may be experiencing isolation and a lack of social opportunities:
If you’re not exposed to social opportunities or have limited social interactions, you may feel isolated and unlikable. For example: If you live in a remote and rural area with limited access to social events and have no friends around, you might begin to feel like no one likes you especially if you see others hanging out and posting pictures online.
You may have a negative internal monologue:
Negative self-talk, such as telling yourself that you’re boring, ugly, uninteresting, or unworthy of others’ attention, can lead to feeling like no one likes you.
You may have social anxiety:
Social anxiety can make you overly self-conscious and fearful of judgment. You may think people don’t like you because you obsess too much about what might go wrong – you worry about making mistakes in social situations even before the mistakes are made; you assume they dislike you even when they have no such thoughts.
It’s essential to recognize that these beliefs are not always accurate, and there are often factors at play that you can work on to improve your self-perception and social interactions.
But, why do they say “No one likes you when you’re 23”?
People often say, “No one likes you when you’re 23” and, there are reasons for that. Think about it; as a baby or kid, no one expects anything from you other than that you poop and look cute. As you become a teen, you get into school and most likely get to meet a lot of people who become friends and accept you for who you are.
However, as you transition into adulthood – typically around age 23 – things change. People start expecting a lot from you and become less inclined to deal with any aspect of you that doesn’t benefit them.
Worse, most of your teenage friends begin to drift away – due to distance, work, relationships, and other reasons. You end up finding yourself in a world where the stakes of being liked get raised.
And, in your 20s, your chances of being liked are greatly reduced if
- You are fake
- You are flaky
- You are selfish
- You are arrogant
- You are too clingy
- You are superficial
- You are self-absorbed
- You are too demanding
- You always criticize others
- You are ineffective in communication
- You argue too much and too aggressively
- You are too negative and complain too much
- You associate with the wrong crowd
- You take everything personally
- You are insecure and jealous
- You ignore friends in need
- You always blame others
- You try to control people
- You avoid responsibility
- You are undisciplined
- You hold grudges
- You lie too much
How Do You Deal With Nobody Liking You?
If you’re feeling isolated or think that your relationship with others isn’t very healthy – i.e. if you still feel they really don’t like you, it might be helpful to self-reflect and consider the aspects of your behaviour, attitudes, or social interactions that could be contributing to these dynamics and feelings.
You must learn to take responsibility for the way things are in your life. Failing to do this, and rather just blaming others for hating or not liking you, is what narcissism and self-absorption are all about (and, in a funny twist, that makes people like you less).
The point is, that by identifying potential areas for improvement, you can work on enhancing your likability and building more meaningful connections with people.
Feeling like nobody likes you can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to address these feelings and improve your social connections. Here’s how to deal with the belief that nobody likes you:
Start by reflecting on why you feel this way. Consider the root causes of these feelings, such as past experiences, self-esteem issues, or social anxiety. Identifying the underlying factors can help you work on them.
Challenge negative thoughts:
Challenge and reframe negative thoughts about yourself. Replace self-critical thoughts with more positive and realistic ones. For example, if you think, “I’m ugly, hence unlikable,” replace it with something like, “I am very skilled and kind, hence likeable.”
Rather than being harsh, be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with the same love and understanding that you would offer a friend. Yes, you are not perfect, but then again, no one is. Besides, you’re trying.
Work on your self-esteem:
Work on improving your self-esteem. Do things that make you feel proud of yourself, and engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself. Focus on your strengths – this can boost your self-worth.
Expand your social circle:
Actively seek opportunities to meet new people. Attend social events, join clubs or groups related to your interests, and try to form meaningful connections with people. You will be amazed how many people will come to see and highlight the great qualities in you (even if you may not realize them in yourself).
Practise social skills:
If social anxiety is contributing to your belief that nobody likes you, practice social skills. Start with small interactions and gradually work your way up to more significant social events. It takes stepping out of your comfort zone, but with time, you can resolve your social anxiety.
Learn to deal with rejection:
Understand that not everyone you meet will like you, see the good in you, or become your friend, and that’s okay. Rejection is a part of life and often redirects us to what’s best for us. Accept it as a gift and don’t take it personally.
Rather than focusing on the few people who overtly expressed their displeasure with you, pay attention to those who have time and time again shown you that they like you. This is what gratitude is all about. Acknowledge and appreciate those who like you. Be grateful every day.
Talk to friends, family, or a mental health professional about your feelings. Sharing your thoughts and emotions with someone you trust can provide you with support and a different perspective. Besides, professionals have tools and procedures that can help you quickly overcome the mindset and live a happier life.
Remember that changing your beliefs and improving your social interactions is a gradual process. So, don’t expect results immediately.
Conclusion: Be ok with not being liked
Being okay with not being like is not an easy mindset to develop, but it is one that will save you from a lot of suffering.
You can not really have any strong opinion, express your thoughts, or do what is important to you if you are always afraid of not being liked. In short, if you do not make peace with being disliked you can’t live your life – you will be swayed here and there by the whims of others.
To be okay with being disliked, know that some people will like you for the same reasons others dislike you. More importantly, you will have kept your dignity and self-respect.
“You cannot be a powerful and life-changing presence to some people without being a joke or an embarrassment to others.”— Mark Manson
Here are some content you might find helpful:
- Gain Confidence In Yourself With These 10 Tips
- Why Are We Talking About Mental Health (In Nigeria)?
- Self-Forgiveness: How to Heal and Move On From Your Mistakes
- Are You A People Pleaser? [+ How To Stop Being Too Nice In 3 Simple Steps]
- How To 100% Be Yourself
A Self-Help Writer And Editor Who Keeps It Simple (Yet Elegant)