So, you want people to like you. That makes sense! Everyone wants to have friends and feel like they’re part of something — to feel liked, appreciated, and seen. When I was in high school, I couldn’t figure out how to fit in. That’s because I was trying too hard to be liked. I wish I’d had someone around to show me how to make friends and be included without seeming fake or like a poser. Because now that I understand, I realize it’s not that hard!
That’s why I’m writing this list. I want you to know the 15 major signs you’re trying too hard to be liked, and tell you what to do instead.
If you always try to be like the popular people, you will eventually fail. That’s because, when you’re desperate, you have a tendency to overkill your attempts at connecting with people. More often than not, you end up being your own worst enemy. But there are ways to get more people to like you without seeming fake or desperate. It’s all about being authentic.
So, if you notice people seem a little uncomfortable or that you’re pushing people away, it’s time to get real with yourself and make some changes.
1. You regularly advertise on social media that you are alone, single, and free to hang out.
Noooo! Don’t be that person! I’ve been that person and I can tell you that it doesn’t work. That “single and free” advertisement basically translates into “I’m alone and pathetic” in modern lingo. No one wants to be around a person who comes off that desperate for human interaction.
What to do instead: Show yourself having fun, doing things you like and are interested in, and just being you. If someone shows interest in what you’re doing, you can respond casually and invite them along for next time.
2. People have told you (in one way or another) that you freak them out.
Do you have a solid rep for “coming on too strong,” particularly when you’re interested in someone romantically? Well, this is the euphemism people use when they want to say that you’re going way too hard with your efforts to make friends.
What to do instead: Slow down, take a deep breath, and wait for a natural intro to conversations and situations. Then — and this is the most important part — watch their faces and body language. Are they opening up their circle to include you or turning their bodies toward you? Are they looking in your eyes when you talk? These are the signs that they’re ready to include you and get to know you. If not, try to naturally wrap it up and walk away to give them space and show them you’re receiving the messages they’re sending.
3. You’ve lied about what you like just to spark a conversation.
The problem with this isn’t just the fact that you’re lying. It’s the fact that most people can pick up on the fact that you don’t really know what you’re talking about. Even if you’re a really good faker, eventually you’ll be found out and that new friendship or relationship will be riddled with mistrust.
What to do instead: Instead of lying, ask them what they’re up to and then ask specific follow-up questions. For instance, someone may say they’re going to go mountain biking this weekend. Instead of faking that you are a big MTB fan (if you aren’t), ask how long they’ve been doing it and whether it’s hard to learn. Again, watch their body language and see if they’re interested in talking further about it. And, whatever you do, don’t nudge them for an invite along. Just be curious for curiosity’s sake!
4. You’ve flipped out at someone you’re dating because they ended things early, refused to commit, or canceled on you.
Please, for the love of God, do not be this person. This is called being a “Nice Guy” (different from an actual nice guy) or the female equivalent of a Nice Guy. Trust me, I’ve been there and I’ve flipped out at people, but it only makes you look unstable (and that’s not cute) — even if you have every reason in the world to be mad.
What to do instead: Sad as it is to say, it’s better to end that friendship or relationship completely than it is to turn into someone you don’t want to be. Take a deep breath and hang up that phone or walk away.
5. It takes you about 3 hours to get prepped to go on a date.
Despite the fact that the beauty and fitness industries will have you believe that everyone wants perfection and a Barbie or Ken doll looks, most people would rather see you for who you are. If you’re too dolled up or flexed and gelled to perfection, your date is likely to think you’re trying too hard.
What to do instead: I’m not saying you should show up in your ratty PJs with toothpaste in the corners of your mouth. Shower, clean yourself up so you feel cute and confident — whatever that means to you.
6. Your Insta and Snapchat are full of photos of you clearly trying to look cool or rich.
You know the kind of photos I’m talking about. The ones that basically scream, “You wish you were me!” while showing off your Gucci logo merch or fake-laughing behind your peace-sign fingers. Yes, we see through it all. We, of course, meaning everyone.
What to do instead: Share photos of yourself when you’re actually happy — whether you think that’s what people are into or not. Share a pic with your dog, your grandma, or a cute, authentic selfie while watching your favorite bad movie on the couch. No matter how unlikely it seems, when you’re authentic, your real life is more interesting than your selfie on Rodeo Drive.
7. You hate people who are in happy relationships because you’re secretly jealous.
Dude, this is not cool. This is exactly what you should never do. Especially if you’re a woman. Women already have a hard enough time dealing with all the pressures society imposes on us. We should not be making life harder on one another. Moreover, acting this way just makes you look desperate. Nobody wants to be friends with (or date) the desperate girl — especially if she’s also being mean. When guys do this, they just seem aggro and petty. Not attractive.
What to do instead: Process your jealousy by journaling or talking with someone you trust intimately like a parent, sibling, or a life-long best friend. Or, even better, a therapist or counselor. It’s totally OK to be jealous and even to feel mad at someone for what seems like their “perfect” life. But it’s not OK to be a jerk.
8. You’ve said, “I can’t believe that person is in a relationship and I’m not,” then quickly detailed why you’re better than them.
Look, I’ve been there. I don’t personally understand why guys usually pick total train wrecks over me, either. But vocalizing it is not helping you and it might show that you’re trying way too hard to get guys’ attention.
What to do instead: Keep it to yourself.
9. You’ve tried to bribe your way into a person’s heart.
This happens when you find yourself paying their bills, buying them dinner all the time, and showering them with gifts… even though they told you they don’t see you as “long-term” material or keep saying things like “you’re such a good friend” or “you know I’m not the relationship type, right?” Nobody has ever bought their way into love or real friendship. Even with good intentions, resentments and obligations can build.
What to do instead: Be generous with your time rather than your credit card, and pick up the check from time to time — but not all the time.
10. You put up with a lot more than you should, and you’re aware of it.
You keep thinking that, maybe, if you just bend a little more, they’ll realize your worth, right? Wrong. People will treat you exactly as you let them treat you. No, it’s not your fault when someone treats you badly, but you do have the right to say “no” and end that relationship.
What to do instead: Talk through what your authentic boundaries are with someone you trust or write it out in a journal. Ask yourself: What feels right to you? What secretly makes you feel like you’re dying inside? Make a list in a journal of things that don’t feel right to you and then read them again a day later to see if you still feel that way. Then have a conversation with whoever in your life is taking advantage of you and just say it plainly. Something like, “When ___ happens, I feel ____ and I really don’t want that to happen anymore.” Someone who can’t respect that boundary doesn’t deserve your time. Move on.
11. You’ve literally begged people to date you or guilted them into hanging out with you.
I’ve been there, too. So trust me when I say nothing good comes of it. The only thing you do by begging others to be around you is turn them off to you, which sucks because you don’t know how to make things better. And no one likes a pity party.
What to do instead: Find things that make you happy and concentrate on doing those. Look for the people in your life who actually like being with you and give them your time and energy. They’re probably there, being overlooked by you right now!
12. You feel like you need to brag about your life and quirks to get people to like you.
Most of the time, people who try too hard will brag about every little thing they do or own to get others’ attention. All that bragging does is make you look arrogant at best, and desperate for attention at worst.
What to do instead: Observe how the people around you talk about themselves. Try to objectively observe the amount of time and energy they spend on talking about their own lives vs. asking questions about others. Try to find a natural balance of talking about yourself vs. making other people feel like they matter.
13. You’ve been known to pull crazy stunts just to get attention from someone you want to have like you.
This one happens more often with guys trying to get women’s attention, but it certainly isn’t a men-only behavior! I once knew a girl who climbed 30 feet up a pine tree to sneak onto the apartment patio of a guy she’d just started seeing. It’s amazing she didn’t fall, that she wasn’t shot at or arrested. Instead, the guy just never called her again. He did not think that was cute.
What to do instead: Give that person a genuine compliment and then leave it at that. Or maybe bring them a (very) small gift, like their favorite drink from the vending machine or a cookie from the cafe where you work. Despite what you’ve seen in rom coms, you don’t need to spray paint their name on a wall or crash into a fire hydrant to get someone’s attention. In real life, these things are creepy.
14. You stop taking “no” for an answer — verbally or with body language.
“Creep” vibes often start happening when people don’t take no for an answer, even though signals are clearly telling them “no.” When you’re trying too hard, you can often feel yourself stepping over people’s boundaries — you just keep hoping they’ll change their minds or see what’s good about you. If you’re being told you’re getting creepy on people, that’s a sign that you’re trying too hard and that you’re not respectful of boundaries.
What to do instead: Slow down, take a deep breath, and evaluate your motivations when interacting with other people. Are you using them for validation? Emotional release? Something worse, something physical? At the very least, that’s unkind. At worst, it’s a crime. If you want friends, if you want a relationship, you can’t be that person. This is a great opportunity to seek therapy and grow as a human being. Getting people to like you has to start with being likable.
15. You’re always saying yes, even when you should say no.
This is a sign that you’re trying way too hard to be liked to the point that you refuse to enforce any boundaries. You run yourself into the ground doing errands and little favors for others. If you’re not resentful yet, you will get there.
What to do instead: Pause for a moment before saying “yes”. It’s great to be generous with other people, as long as it comes from the heart. Do you really want to help them or do you only do it to feel needed? If that’s the case, it’s not genuine. What’s more, you’re not being generous with yourself. You’re likely to end up depleted, resentful or both. You deserve better!
Getting people to genuinely like you doesn’t have to be hard. Just follow these small steps and avoid trying to hard. Be yourself — the right people will fall right into your life!
Previously published on YourTango