15 Tiny Behaviors That Indicate Someone Is Secretly Holding A Grudge Against You

15 Tiny Behaviors That Indicate Someone Is Secretly Holding A Grudge Against You Shutterstock

Have you ever felt a chill in the air, a sense of unease around someone, even though there’s no obvious conflict? It might be a grudge simmering beneath the surface. Grudges can be like silent landmines, ready to explode at any moment. But sometimes, they’re not so obvious. They hide in micro-behaviors, tiny clues that reveal a lingering resentment. Here are some of these subtle signs that someone might be secretly holding a grudge against you.

1. Their smiles don’t reach their eyes.

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A genuine smile involves the whole face, especially the eyes. If someone’s smile seems forced, tight-lipped, or doesn’t crinkle the corners of their eyes, it could be a mask hiding underlying resentment. It’s like a polite facade that doesn’t quite convince you of their warmth or sincerity.

2. They subtly exclude you from conversations or plans.

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Have you noticed that they suddenly change the subject when you approach, or conveniently “forget” to invite you to gatherings that you’d normally be included in? This subtle exclusion can be a passive-aggressive way of expressing their grudge without directly confronting you. It’s like a silent cold shoulder that leaves you feeling ostracized.

3. They give you backhanded compliments.

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A backhanded compliment is a seemingly positive statement with a hidden barb, Harvard Business School explains. For example, they might say, “You look great for your age,” or “That outfit is surprisingly flattering.” These comments might sound complimentary at first, but they leave a bitter aftertaste, like a spoonful of sugar mixed with vinegar.

4. They avoid eye contact.

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Eye contact is a powerful form of nonverbal communication. If someone avoids your gaze, it could be a sign of discomfort, guilt, or resentment. They might be unwilling to face you directly because they harbor negative feelings. It’s like a silent standoff where they refuse to engage with you on a deeper level.

5. They’re quick to criticize or correct you.

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While constructive criticism can be helpful, someone holding a grudge might use it as a weapon to undermine you. They might nitpick at your every mistake, exaggerate your flaws, or offer unsolicited advice in a condescending way. It’s like a constant drizzle of negativity that dampens your spirits.

6. They subtly undermine your achievements.

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When you share good news or accomplishments, they might downplay your success, change the subject, or offer a half-hearted congratulations. They might even try to one-up you with their own achievements, as if to diminish your shine. It’s like a subtle attempt to steal your thunder and keep you in their shadow.

7. They bring up past mistakes or conflicts.

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Someone holding a grudge might have a long memory for your past transgressions. They might bring up old arguments, rehash past hurts, or remind you of your failures. This can be a way to keep the wound fresh and prevent you from moving on. It’s like constantly picking at a scab that refuses to heal.

8. They withhold information or support.

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If they know something that could be helpful to you, they might deliberately keep it to themselves. They might also refuse to offer support or assistance when you need it. This withholding can be a way of punishing you or making you feel isolated. It’s like a silent sabotage that leaves you feeling unsupported and alone.

9. Their body language is closed off.

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When someone is harboring a grudge, their body language might reflect their inner turmoil. They might cross their arms, turn away from you, or avoid physical contact. Their posture might be rigid, and their facial expressions might be tense or guarded. It’s like a physical barrier that they erect to keep you at a distance.

10. They’re overly polite or formal.

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Sometimes, excessive politeness can be a mask for hidden resentment, The Los Angeles Times warns. If someone is overly formal, using stiff language or avoiding casual banter, it could be a sign that they’re trying to maintain a distance. Their politeness might feel forced or insincere, like a thin layer of ice over a frozen lake.

11. They gossip about you behind your back.

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While gossip is never a positive trait, it can be a particularly hurtful sign when it comes from someone holding a grudge. They might spread rumors, exaggerate your flaws, or share your secrets with other people. This can be a way of tarnishing your reputation and isolating you from your social circle. It’s like a whisper campaign that undermines your relationships and creates a toxic environment.

12. They make jokes at your expense.

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Humor can be a great way to bond with people, but it can also be used as a weapon. If someone constantly makes jokes that target your insecurities, highlight your flaws, or make you feel uncomfortable, it could be a sign of underlying resentment. Their laughter might seem forced or insincere, and their jokes might leave a sting rather than a smile.

13. They dismiss your feelings or opinions.

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If you express your feelings or opinions, they might brush them off, minimize them, or even mock them. They might interrupt you, change the subject, or offer unsolicited advice in a condescending way. This dismissal can be a way of invalidating your experience and making you feel unheard or unimportant.

14. They compare you to other people (and not in a nice way).

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Someone holding a grudge might constantly compare you to other people, highlighting your shortcomings and emphasizing their own strengths. They might point out how other people are more successful, more attractive, or more likable than you. This can be a way of undermining your confidence and making you feel inadequate.

15. They’re quick to anger or frustration around you.

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If their patience wears thin quickly in your presence, or if they seem easily irritated or annoyed by your actions, it could be a sign of underlying resentment. Their anger might be disproportionate to the situation, and they might lash out or become defensive without provocation. It’s like a simmering volcano that’s constantly on the verge of eruption.

Sinitta Weston grew up in Edinburgh but moved to Sydney, Australia to for college and never came back. She works as a chemical engineer during the day and at night, she writes articles about love and relationships. She's her friends' go-to for dating advice (though she struggles to take the same advice herself). Her INFJ personality makes her extra sensitive to others' feelings and this allows her to help people through tough times with ease. Hopefully, her articles can do that for you.