7 Tiny Micro-Habits That Make You Less Likable

There are subtle ways you're driving people away from you.

Last updated on Jun 01, 2024

woman thinking about her likability fizkes / Shutterstock

When people tell you that you shouldn't care what others think of you, they're wrong. Because the complexity of social dynamics cannot be resolved with such oversimplified advice.

You shouldn't pay too much attention to what a single person or people think of a single decision or action of yours. However, you should care about the overall general opinion people have of you.

Here are 7 micro-habits that make you less likable to others

1. You break promises

woman turned away from friend Liza Summer / Pexels

In day-to-day life, we make a lot of micro-promises to each other, like "I'll return your car by 7 p.m.," or "I'll meet you at the coffee house at noon."

People often break those tiny promises thinking that it's harmless. They'll return stuff later than promised or they aren't punctual.

But it's anything but harmless. These broken micro-promises build up and, cumulatively, people respect you less because you don't keep your word. They grow a subconscious grudge against you because breaking promises feels deceitful to them.

A simple rule to follow? Don't make promises you can't keep. And if for some reason you're unable to keep the promise you made, inform the other person and apologize.

RELATED: 7 Tiny Habits Making You Emotionally Fragile, According To A Psychologist


2. You lack a sense of humor

man not laughing Fernanda Latronico / Pexels

When you are going through a tough time in life, whether it's a tough breakup or a job loss, you don't want the business from the people closest to you. But the ability to take a joke makes you appear way more likable to others.

Being able to take a joke means you understand that the people ribbing you care for you, and they joke because it's something you are comfortable with.

Sometimes, however, people are often not able to take a joke at their own expense. They have thin skin and get offended easily whenever someone makes even mild fun of them. This makes such people less likable, as it shows that they're less secure with themselves.

The solution is to develop a thicker skin and learn to steer into the skid. When someone makes fun of you, join them and laugh at yourself. This shows people you're secure and it makes you more likable.


3. You find faults in everyone

woman criticizing man talking John Diez / Pexels

We've all met that person who claims nobody is as smart as them. They're like Sherlock Holmes when it comes to finding people's flaws. And often, these people criticize others for having a flaw that they possess as well. It's ironic.

It usually happens because of our egos. When we criticize others for something, we subconsciously tell ourselves, "I'm better than them in this area. I do not have this flaw," even if that's false.

That's why highly insecure people criticize everyone over everything. They think everyone else is flawed.

And the truth is, we all have a tendency to find flaws in others. But there's a good way to counter this.

First, try not to point out people's flaws. Even though we all end up finding flaws no matter how hard we try not to, if you find yourself pointing out a flaw, follow it up with the statement, "But that's okay. We're all very young, and I shouldn't expect people to be perfect."

This reinforces that everyone has flaws and they don't need to be pointed out over and over again. People who do this are extremely likable, as their minds have been rewired to be less judgmental.

RELATED: Fascinating Harvard Study Reveals The Secret To Being Likable


4. You overstep your power

stressed woman being told what to do Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

We're all part of hierarchies. Let's say you intern at a hospital. That means you work under junior residents, senior residents, assistant professors, associate professors, and the HOD. So, all of these people are in a position of power over you.

And they can exercise that power to some degree. They can ask you to do work in the hospital. However, at times, they may ask you to complete their personal chores. And if they asked it as a favor once in a while, that would be okay.

But they overstep their power by asking you to do stuff that isn't part of your job description, and they do it often, knowing full well that it's difficult for you to say no.

It's not nice and it's not a good feeling when it happens. You may also even feel resentment towards the people who do this. And if the roles were reversed, your subordinates would feel the same.

So, if you're in a position of power over someone, don't overstep it. People will like you a lot less for it.

5. You give unsolicited advice

friends having a serious talk RDNE Stock project / Pexels

Giving advice is tricky. If someone asks for it, it's okay to offer your opinion. But when you aren't asked, more often than not, advice is not taken in good faith.

And that's for two reasons: 1) It's taken as criticism even if your intention was to help, and 2) Any advice is a proxy statement for "I know better," and the person you're giving advice to doesn't want to acknowledge or accept that you know better.

That's why my rule is to not give advice unless the person asks for it. Only very rarely — when you know that the person will take your advice in good faith, for example — should you give advice.

RELATED: 6 Rare Traits Of People With A Winner's Mindset Who Actually Succeed In Life


6. You're glued to your phone

man glued to phone Eren Li / Pexels

When out at meeting friends, people often take out their phones and remain glued to it the entirety of the event. They don't realize that this is annoying to the person or people they are with!

When you have your phone out in a social setting for any other reason except for a genuine need to, you subconsciously convey that your phone is more interesting than others. And that stings!

But people who are likable make it a point to put their phone or electronics away, tucked away in their pocket, so they can give due attention to the person in front of them.

7. You constantly one-up others

female friends having serious conversation Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

We're all storytellers. And we all have a competitive nature.

That's why, when someone tells a story, we feel the urge to tell a better story. And it can take truly silly forms as well.

For instance, one might say, "I saw an accident on 4th street. This and this happened," and the other might say something along the lines of, "That's nothing. I saw an even bigger accident last week."

The person who tells a story has the spotlight. When you tell a better story, you try to steal that spotlight. You take attention away from them. Everyone likes attention from time to time, but no one likes the person that steals it.

Even if you have a better story, keep your thoughts to yourself and save them for another time. Let the fellow storyteller enjoy the spotlight for now.

RELATED: 15 Signs You're Trying Way Too Hard To Be Liked

Akshad Singi, M.D. is a writer whose work has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, Medium, and more.