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Is it possible that some people are just unlikeable?

(11 Posts)
aliceisahorse Thu 30-Jun-11 15:13:09

And by some people I mean me!

I don't really have any friends. I have plenty of opportunities to meet people because I'm reasonably sociable - so I've done/do the evening class/hobbies things and I find it relatively easy to strike up conversations with people, I just have real difficulty in sustaining friendships.

My mum has lots of friends but says things that are completely inappropriate at times. She offends people without having any idea she's done it - yet she still has loads of friends. I'm really fearful about being like her so I know that I hold back at times, but only because I don't want to be overbearing/offensive.

For example, I go to a choir. I've been in it for a couple of years. I have a couple of 'friends' in the choir, but I only speak with them at choir. I try to strike up casual conversations with people I say hello to there, but even then I am very much overlooked.

When I do make the effort, I just seem to be worse off in the end because the people I've made the effort with just 'go off' me. I'd rather be anonymous than disliked. But at the same time, I would like some friends.

I've no idea if I say things that put people off. But when I think about what I've said afterwards, I can't imagine what it was and even if I express an opinion different to theirs, I can't see why that would just put them off me completely.

I'm not judgemental, I don't try and buy friends, I do ask people about themselves, I empathise, I don't have particularly extreme views, I praise people and acknowledge their efforts when I see that they have worked hard, I don't like confrontation and I don't consider myself rude.

People just don't like me!

Sorry this is so long. I'm just really feeling it at the moment because it's happened with 2 people recently who organise another activity I'm involved in. I can pretty much pinpoint the moment when they 'went off' me, although I can't imagine what it was I said that caused such an extreme reaction. In fact, I can think of some pretty outrageous things another lady said and yet these seem to have passed without effect.

So the thing is, I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I've no idea how to change it, but I'm considering giving up this activity because I feel very self conscious that I'm now involved in something and the organisers don't like me.

I hope I don't sound whiney! I'm really not.

Anyway, sorry this is so long and thanks if you go this far.

pollyblue Thu 30-Jun-11 15:24:17

Perhaps you're trying too hard to be nice - give praise, not cause offence etc....

There is a fine line between being a bit thick skinned and just saying what you think and being downright rude, but at least if you do say what you think people know where they stand with you. Maybe by being so polite and conscientious, you're giving the impression that you're very sensitive so other people feel that they need to mind their p's and q's round you, or just aren't seeing the real you. Perhaps they feel you're putting up a front?

I might be completely wrong about all the above grin. It can be very hard to make friends, but i think if you want to make good long-lasting friends with people who will stand by you through thick and thin, you need to let them see the real you and that means saying what you really think and being what you really are - and not worrying too much about putting your foot in it. Because that happens to the best of us (bitter voice of experience!)

oldwomaninashoe Thu 30-Jun-11 15:29:17

Why don't you just ask these "people" "What have I done/said to offend you? It is evident that I have done/said something to upset you, and I would genuinely like to know what/why as I have no idea"

From reading your post it is very difficult to ascertain your true personality/character, approach the people you know and ask for an honest opinion.

And be prepared, and take on board the answer!

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Thu 30-Jun-11 15:34:57

Can you describe what you see as people "going off" you? Maybe they're not.

Do you like yourself? Could it be that you are a little shy about taking acquaintance-ships further because of a subconscious feeling that nobody could possibly like you anyway?

How often do you propose outings to people you meet at hobbies, groups, etc?

What standards do you have for friendships? Could it be that your acquaintances are in fact friends, but you don't see it that way because you expect a "friend" to be so much more: a bosom buddy? People really have very few of those in life.

aliceisahorse Thu 30-Jun-11 15:57:57

Mm!

pollyblue I suppose it is possible people think it's just a front. I don't want to offend and so I think I tend to be on eggshells a bit around people. I think I'm less like that now which is why I worry that now I am offending people and they're 'going off' me!

oldwomaninashoe I wouldn't ask them - I'd be too scared of hearing the answer! I think you have probably hit on something with it being difficult to ascertain my true personality/character. I'm very much myself with my husband and children but I suppose I have got into a habit of putting up a front so maybe other people feel like that too.

ItsMeAndMyPuppy Standards for friendships. You might have a point about the acquaintances.

I think I do feel quite unlikeable so yes I am shy about taking things further. I suppose I don't really feel like I know how to do it! How pathetic is that! I think that is also why I put up a bit of a front.

The recent thing was the organisers of the activity I'm involved in are running an event for children. I anticipated them needing a hand and so said I was available to help if they needed it which they accepted. Then last week, they issued a general "can anyone help" request and when I spoke to them to confirm that I could, there was a certain reluctance in their acceptance. I am CRB checked and work with children so that's not an issue either.

I know this all sounds really wishy washy. But I was there and there was just a coldness/distance whereas previously they have both been quite warm and friendly towards me.

I do worry constantly about putting my foot in it. Oh I'm pathetic and probably incredibly boring too! That's probably it!

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Thu 30-Jun-11 16:13:47

You sound fine; not pathetic at all. Maybe just a touch of social anxiety and low self-esteem, and neither of those are crimes. Many people struggle making friends, or think they do!

The event situation you describe does not mean that they dislike you; you might be reading too much into it.

Try to worry less about what people think of you, and invite nice people you meet at various groups for drinks, coffee, to shows or exhibits, and don't take rejections personally.

There's lots of on-line advice out there about how to make friends, if it helps to have a "how-to" list of action points.

dwpanxt Thu 30-Jun-11 16:29:32

I'm answering this in the spirit of helpfulness as you seem to really want to know what's wrong.

I wonder if you're hard work? You say you ask people about themselves-do you really listen to the answers and build a conversation from possible shared experiences?

When starting to make friends do you try to force your way in too quickly rather holding back for a short time so they can weigh you up.

Do you accept offers of meeting up at other times and places ?

If you do share personal stuff ,are you always bigger,better ,brighter than anyone else? Or conversely,so humble that you really don't deserve to be in such exalted company?

Im only putting these as points to ponder as people with these traits generally annoy me.

cybboid Thu 30-Jun-11 16:38:13

I think you are reading too much onto how other people react to you, and (without wishing to sound mean) you sound like you are a little self obsessed with how you seem to people and the reaction you might provoke in them, eg them being 'cold and unfriendly ' might have had absolutely nothing to do with you, it might just have been a bad time/bad day for them

Not everyone will like you, I'm sure you dont like everyone you meet. Stop worrying and thinking about everything and just get on with living <MN kick up the bottom>

FWIW most of the people I speak to on a daily/weekly basis arent what I woudlo class as friends. I ahve a couple of close friends that I see. But I dont want to have more than a chatting acquaintance with most people I meet

sobloodystupid Thu 30-Jun-11 16:45:28

I've pondered this occassionally. I have a few friends but I'm not a very sociable person and am quite private, I don't like exchanging a lot of my own information with colleagues for example. I was quite hurt wondering why I wasn't invited to a colleague's 30th as we get on well, until I realised that I don't speak to her as rule unless it's work related, I dont have her private number and I wouldn't have gone even if she asked! Since then, I've relaxed a bit, I'll hang around for a coffee for a bit whereas I would've left immediately. I prefer to be with my family and friends, I'm happy to make chit chat but I'd rather not and I hate the office politics so consider myself well out of it. hth

Tenacity Thu 30-Jun-11 18:18:15

sobloody i think you might have hit the nail on the head here.

aliceisahorse I think friendship is also about how much of yourself you give to others. If you hold back, and do not open yourself up to scrunity (therefore becoming vulnerable), people will never know the real you.

I think you need to relax a little, and stop worrying about what people think of you. I know it sounds like a cliche, but be yourself. Those who matter won't judge you, and those that judge you don't matter.

How is your self-worth on the whole? It sounds like it has been knocked a little, and might need a little building up. I think it's always important to remember you have a lot to offer other people, and you sound like you would make a good friend to some lucky soul.

Tenacity Thu 30-Jun-11 18:23:43

I also meant to add that the unlikeable people in any situation, at home or work, are those that are two-faced, manipulative, devisive and just plain nasty. People tend to to be unlikeable because of some negative characteristic they display.

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