Therapists Share The Small Habits That Demolish Your Likeability

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woman talking to therapist

You're a good person. You almost never lie, you always do good work, and you donate money to good causes when you can.

You smile at people and say "please" and "thank you." You volunteer at the food pantry and the animal shelter, and you make pleasant conversation with cashiers at the grocery store.

What's not to like about you?

Well, now that you mention it ...

There are these small habits that can seem ... off-putting.

You know, little things about your personality that might cause some people to dislike you no matter how nice you really are.

There've been plenty of studies about this phenomenon of instant anti-charisma.

Why does anyone like anyone else, anyway?

But listen, you be you. No one ever said you have to be liked by everyone you meet. Maybe you even want it that way sometimes.

Still, it would be nice to know if there's something you're doing that might cost you in the relationship department.

So, in case you might be wondering why some people just don't seem to enjoy knowing you — nice, loveable, likable you — we reached out to our YourTango Experts for their insight into the little habits that might cause people to dislike you.

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Here are the small habits that demolish your likeability, according to therapists:

1. You complain too much

Complaining is a habit that often makes it difficult to like someone or be liked.  

Misery loves company is a common saying and true for some. However, it is not usually a trait that we like, admire, or respect in ourselves or another person.  

Habits of complaining, negativity, and fault-finding are many times unconscious and are just that, habits that we are unaware of.  

One way to counteract this habit is to notice what it feels like to be around people who complain and choose to focus on the negative in every situation.  

Complainers defeat enjoyment. They can steal or dim our light.  

Many times you may even feel a lump in your throat or a pit in your stomach that indicates a physical anxiety response to the person’s complaints or your own.  

Begin to choose to see the good in all situations and work through complaints to find solutions in lieu of talking about them and thinking about them if you want to be liked and be around others with likable traits.

Dr. Susan Pazak, clinical psychologist and life coach

RELATED: 8 Ways To Break Bad Habits That Interfere With Your Life & Career

2. You act superior and never listen

There are numerous subtle things that can cause one's likability to plummet. 

Here are a few habits that are the most damaging:

  • Righteousness — when a person constantly judges the behavior of others, while making their own opinion the only one that’s acceptable.
  • Poor listening skills — there is little that is more off-putting than when a person lacks the ability to listen and inquire. One immediately feels unimportant or simply used as a listening post by the poor listener.
  • Lack of eye contact — when someone talks or feigns listening while never making eye contact, this leaves little to like about the person. They give off the impression of being untrustworthy or simply disinterested, or they have other things on their mind and lack the ability to honor and excuse themself from the conversation. Bottom line: With no eye contact, the doorway to likability is closed.

If we rarely feel seen or heard by a person or notice that someone lacks the ability to empathize with others there simply is no foundation for friendship or likability.

Larry Michel, founder of the Institute of Genetic Energetics

RELATED: 4 Bad Micro-Habits That Drain Your Cognitive Battery

3. You fail to give your full attention to someone in conversation

What may seem like a small habit to you, but it can be a major reason why others find you annoying: not making eye contact with the person you’re speaking to.

As a psychologist, patients will recount why they are merely annoyed, or annoyed to the point where they’ve ended a relationship, due to the person they find interesting not finding them “worth the effort to be looked at when they are speaking.”

Instead of looking at them, the person they’re speaking to is looking at their phone, gazing out the window, distracted by the TV, or even picking up a magazine.

They look anywhere but at them. 

Why is this habit so annoying? Because it leads to the other person feeling dismissed, discounted, and not appreciated.

Now it may be that the person looking away is doing so not to send a message that the other is not important, but perhaps they are looking away due to feeling tired, feeling overwhelmed by commitments, meetings, and deadlines that they trying to keep straight in their head.

Or maybe they're tired and just trying to stay awake. 

Unfortunately, the reason for looking away is often not shared. That leaves others to interpret the lack of engagement as a personal statement of their importance. 

This leads to being disliked by others, having relationships end, and maybe even gaining a reputation for being a bit of a snob.

- Patricia O’Gorman, Ph.D., psychologist, and life coach 

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Carter Gaddis is the senior editor for experts and wellness with YourTango.