Humans are social beings. We have an intrinsic need to be liked, to be accepted in a group, in a community. To feel like a part of society. To belong.

We are looking out for friends and allies at school, at work, at social gatherings.

Not being accepted can actually lead to heavy consequences for your life, and even your mental health.

Some people are naturally likeable. And some just need to apply a little strategy into their behavior to get the same results.

This article will lay out several behaviors that may be standing between you and your better self.

1. YOU ARE SELF-PREOCCUPIED

The sin makes sense to the sinners. Whatever you are doing that falls into the category you are probably not seeing it as being self-preoccupied.

Being self-preoccupied does not come from a bad place. It is not the same as being selfish, although selfish people are also self-preoccupied.

When you are self-preoccupied, it is not that you believe you are more important than others, or smarter, or better looking, or that you have more interesting things to say. But it may come off that way.

And it is just that you are in your own head too much. You are having a hard time finding other people’s lives interesting or relatable.

You do not feel aware of other people’s behavior, needs, wishes, and or feelings.

Here is an exercise you can do to bring back some of that sensitivity:

Try being completely selfless for a week!

Just for a week, try forgetting about your needs, your struggles and your desires. Think about your friends, your colleagues and your relatives exclusively.

Whenever you meet anyone, strike a conversation. Try to really learn what is bothering the person and don’t butt in with ‘one similar story’ you have. Can you help them? Can you say something to support them?

Do you know anyone who feels self-conscious? Give them a compliment.

Is your mom always bothering you to call her more often? Do it!

In your business meeting, forget about your proposals. Ask others for ideas and support them. Work completely for someone else.

Bring donuts to the office. You will gain some points immediately.

Getting out of your head for a moment will give you a head start, another point of view. You will immediately notice people attitudes towards you change. And you will want to change – knowing more about your friends and family will make you more open towards them.

You will want to hear them out, learn how their stories develop, to see them succeed and to celebrate their successes with them.

What is more, it will make you feel happier. Studies tell us people who think of themselves less are happier. You will stop concentrating so much on what you want and how you can’t have it all. You will support others and feel more fulfilled by it.

2. YOUR WORD MEANS NOTHING

‘Yes, Jenny, of course we will get married some day… When the right time comes.’

‘I really need to lose weight. I am starting a diet… tomorrow.’

‘OK, James, the project will be done by June… I think.’

‘Oh, I forgot to send you the files, but I will do it as soon as I get back… I hope I remember.’

‘I will be there at five… or around five.’

To you it may seem like a little deviation of reality, like wishful thinking, like a suggestion.

But if you never follow through with what you say it may be maddening for others. It may be coming as a surprise to you, but people actually expect you to do what you say you will do. And do it every time.

You do not need to make a promise or sign a contract, or swear on the Holy book. Your word should be binding by itself.

If you constantly break people’s expectations of your actions by violating your words, you are losing their trust.

Try and treat every word as a promise!

First, you have to be very careful with every word you say. Do not say you will do something before you have thought of the consequences, of the level of difficulty, of the level of commitment.

Second, you need to remember. Write things down. Bring a notebook, use your smartphone, get some post-its. Whatever you do, never let anything you said you’d do slip your mind.

Third, prepare for some difficulties. If you have been flaunting your words around like it’s nothing for a while, you might be unaware how difficult it is to actually follow through with everything. There is always something unexpected happening. Something will be taking more efforts than you thought, cost you more money or more time, or more energy.

Fourth, you need to treat failure properly. Do not brush it off light-handedly. Now every failure is a broken promise. If you have failed someone, apologize proportionately to the damage you have created. And do better next time.

3. YOU ARE BORING

This is a difficult one to accept. But just because it is painful, that does not mean it is not true.

Have you ever attended a company dinner, where you find it difficult to strike a conversation, or talk to anyone for more than several minutes?

Or you have discovered your conversations always tend to gravitate around the same topics?

Or have you been that person among a heated conversation who just smiles and nods and has nothing good or interesting to say?

Do you think you just have ‘other interests’ and ‘you are different people’ and… No. It is not them. It’s you.

You are a one-trick pony. You have limited conversation topics you can talk about. You are no fun.

Try to expand your conversation abilities

First step, read the news. Current events is the first and easiest enemy to tackle. Time is of the essence. Don’t overdo it. Get the three most important news in politics, economy and the viral social news every morning. Try to remember the most interesting stories.

Next step, feel the vibe. Get the general idea of the interests of the people around you. Learn the basics, see what to look out for. If your friends talk about football, watch the results. If they talk about cars, check out for new releases and commentary. If they talk about makeup, see a few tutorials on YouTube.

Pro tip: Find your own specialty. One or two subjects, where you will be the expert to ask. What are you good at? What is your natural interest? Do you know a lot about music? Or about Hollywood? Make sure you are on the top of your game. You must maintain the expert status.

4. YOU ARE BAD WITH MONEY

Being bad with money goes in both directions. You are either too cheap or too wasteful. And none of it has anything to do with the amount of money you earn.

Just because you do not have a lot, that does not make you cheap. On the contrary, if you have someone in your immediate surroundings you would consider cheap, you know they probably have some money in their account and in their wallet. And, if you have someone in your immediate surroundings you would consider cheap, you know they can drive you mad.

The irrationality in their financial decisions, the constant question ‘Do I really need this?’, and the constant answer ‘No.’ They don’t see how it deprives them of some life experiences. How it makes their life harder. How it steals from their time.

Similarly, being too wasteful is rarely a quality of the rich. One could see how spending mindlessly could leave your pockets empty. You do not have enough to go out, to join your friends vacations… and you have probably once or twice resorted to asking your buddies for money.

If you are old enough to read, you are old enough to deal with money. Get your life straight and stop annoying people.

Try getting your financial situation in order.

  • Track your finances. Of course, there is an app for that. Enter your incomes, your regular expenses and your expected expenses for the past three and next three months.
  • Make sure you have some savings. Don’t do too much and don’t do too little. If you find the decision difficult, contact a financial consultant. You need to do an analysis of your current financial situation and figure out how much you can safely save per month. Make a commitment to always save the same amount for the entire year. You can only reconsider the amount after the year is over.
  • If you are in need of extra income, find some extra work. Freelance might be a good idea.
  • Never ever talk about your money issues with your friends.

5. YOU ARE DISHONEST

A very off-putting quality in a person could be their dishonesty. It will make people around you insecure.

You will never tell them how you feel about them, so, for all they know, you could be smiling and complementing them in their face and stabbing them with insults and betrayal behind their back.

Try to appear more honest!

  • Never gossip. Gossip is by its nature secretive. It always involves talking about someone who has no idea what is going on. An innocent victim of rumors. Cease and desist immediately. You might be getting a couple chuckles but you are not helping your reputation.
  • Be more brave with your opinions. You cannot always agree with everyone. Take a deep breath, give a disclaimer that you do not mean to diminish the other point of view, and share your truth. It will earn you some respect. Just don’t get into arguments
  • Be careful with your compliments. Especially to your boss or anyone you would have anything to earn from. You don’t want to come off as two-faced, or that you want to achieve something.

6. YOU CONSTANTLY COMPLAIN

If you think hard about it, the level of complaining and the difficulty of one’s life are not always related.

People live with poverty, disease, the death of a close one, and all sorts of tragedies.

Complaining is not about happiness. Complaining happens at the meeting point of the PERCEPTION of difficulty and being preoccupied with your own life.

It can make people in your surroundings avoid you because of the heavy feeling you are leaving them with.

People are naturally empathetic. They are tuned to feel your pain. But by constantly complaining you are burdening your audience with the heavy feeling of your troubles, without them having the power to solve it. It leaves the unconscious feeling of helplessness and powerlessness.

Try to be more positive!

  • Here is a helpful exercise. Every morning wake up and write down ten things you are thankful for. You may be thankful you have a roof above your head, a warm bed, food… You might be happy for your cat, for having a job, for having friends. You may love your body, you may be happy with your health. Anything you feel yourself lucky to have. Then write down one of your problems that you will solve today. Doesn’t have to be big. Just one task you know you will tackle today. It will help you find your power.
  • Stop filling in your conversations with complaining and start asking questions. Maybe your friends have issues too. Try and focus on solutions. It will give you a new overview of your typical discourse.
  • Whenever you find life is becoming too difficult and you need to share, make sure you throw some good humor in there. You will alleviate that heavy feeling in the listener at least a little.

Pro tip: Make it a lifetime change. When you feel you got the hang of it, you need to assure your friends it is over. Find a way to sneak into the conversation you think you were going through a rough place where your problems seemed big. And now you found out they weren’t. That will bring respect for your current self, but also it will earn you some redemption for your previous behavior.

7. YOU ARE TOO HIGH MAINTENANCE

You are not more important than your friends. They do not need to always factor in your opinion, give you more time, favor your needs…

And you do not want to come off that way.

Here are the most off-putting behaviors of high maintenance people:

  • You are a dictator. Whenever you are working to plan a vacation together with your friends. You need to choose the place, the meeting point, the hotel, the transport. Then during the vacation you have to suggest all attractions you visit, all places you go to eat.
  • You are always late. Yes, you agreed on an hour, but then you HAD something important to finish. You HAD to spend more time on your hair. You HAD to get gas right now. You HAD to take that last phone call.
  • You are emotionally draining. You are doing things just for attention. You are craving compliments. You are easily upset. You constantly cause drama and you thrive in it. You are a nightmare to be around.

Try being more humble.

Other people are not responsible for your happiness, your schedule or your peace of mind.

Start by being more independent. Do the things that make you happy by yourself. Go do yoga, read a book, take a walk. Feed your soul. Get some peace and quiet.

Continue by becoming a little more passive during conversations in your work, your friend group or your family. Take suggestions. Obey. Discipline yourself.

Last but not least, reverse the roles. You were living by the principle of treating yourself. Now, treat others. Make others feel important when they need it.

8. YOU ARE NOT NICE

Okay, it is probably not surprising you that you have to be nice in order to be liked. And you probably think you are already a pretty nice person. But are you?

Is it maybe possible that you have a tough-love sense of humor? Are you quite the jokester and everyone in the office enjoys your wit and satire? So what if you make your colleagues the butt of the joke? You have to have a subject of your fun. Yes, your one-liners have a bite to them, but people certainly understand? Yes, you are quite the prankster, and why would you ever sacrifice several minutes of fun at the expense of your friend’s convenience?

Okay, and maybe you are not always in a good mood. You are not always the person to bother to say ‘Hello’ in the morning. Or to congratulate your colleagues for their birthday every time. Or to pitch in for the gift… You can’t always have the time, can you?

And maybe you are sometimes too honest. I mean, you did go up to Lydia who was just bragging about her new boots and told her they were ugly, but they were! And, besides, she did not even get them on sale, which you made sure you pointed out – she got ugly boots for too much money. She had to know. Not that she could do anything about it now, but feel terrible, but hey – at least you got it off your chest! …

And you also did tell Tom that he needs a new car. His car is trash. Okay, he might not have the money right now with his wife being pregnant and all, but he needs to start planning…

Try empathy!

Oldie but a goldie. Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you!

There are no excuses to hurt people. Not fun, not honesty. And you are not too busy, or too important or too… you… to be nice.

Being rude is not a character trait. It is a flaw. And you can easily do without it.

9. YOU ARE TOO NICE

Okay, so there might be a better title than this. Because you can never actually be too nice.

However, if you have ever heard someone calling you ‘too nice’ you might need to read this.

Because they probably mean to say you are spineless. And they are just too polite to say it.

How do you know if you are spineless?

  • You sacrifice yourself constantly. More often than not, that would be sacrificing for your family or your loved one. You never pitch in a suggestion for the ‘What do eat’ question. Your opinion does not matter when you decide where to go for vacation. You never buy yourself anything nice – all money goes for the kids.
  • The mere concept of conflict is upsetting you. You never start arguments with your friends, you are afraid to even share your opinion if it is different from the groups’. You find it difficult to stand behind your project at work.

Self-sacrifice, avoiding conflicts… aren’t those considered noble values? Why would people hate me for it? You are overdoing it. You do not show respect yourself.

Why would other people respect you, if you yourself cannot find the time and spend the effort to do something just for you!

Try standing your ground

Sit down and write down some red lines you will never cross. Here are some examples:

  • ‘I will go out and do my hair and nails at least once a month. Not all money should go for the children. ‘
  • ‘Every Saturday, me and my significant other will go out to eat at a restaurant of my choosing’
  • ‘I will stand up to my boss every time he attacks the project I really believe in’

Pro tip: To get out of your comfort zone, you can try and cause a harmless argument. Strike a conversation about politics, or the economy, or recent events. Explore how your feelings change when things get heated. Soon you will find yourself more secure in your opinions.

10. YOU ARE YOU

There are many reasons why people may not like you and not all of them are fixable.

People like each other normally based on being relatable to each other and having similarities. And obviously, you cannot be similar to everybody, you are different.

You will be disliked or even hated for things that make you you.

For example, the music you like, the movies you appreciate, your political views, your sense of fashion… Anything from your character and your personality that is unique, that makes you an individual, could be disliked or attacked.

The answer is not to become a spineless blob of wasted human matter. The answer is to be unapologetically yourself, and be accepting of others who are unapologetically themselves.

Try being open to others!

Being you is only a problem when you want others to be like yourself, too, and to always like you.

First, you need to accept not everybody will like you and that is okay. You do not need to hate them for it.

Second, be open to differences between people. Embrace other tastes, other cultures, other opinions.

Third, find the balance. No, not everyone will like you, and yes, you can be yourself, but you still want to be a part of the group. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this article. Find a balance in your behavior and attitude and try to be the best version of yourself.

CONCLUSION

There are many reasons why people may not like you. You might look funny, smell funny, talk funny. People may not like you because of the color of your skin or the colors on your national flag.

You cannot stop living your life if you are never accepted. It is important, it is a good feeling, but it is not the be-all and end-all of your life.

Concentrate on the things you can change. It is always a noble effort to try and become a better person. And if it works, that is great. And if it doesn’t, that is okay too.

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