Signs You’re Trying Too Hard To Be Liked And It’s Backfiring

Signs You’re Trying Too Hard To Be Liked And It’s Backfiring

We all want to be liked, but sometimes our well-meaning efforts can have the opposite effect. Ever feel like the harder you try to fit in, the more people seem to back away? Below are some subtle signs that you might be overcompensating, and how to build genuine connections instead of accidentally pushing people away.

1. You agree with absolutely everything everyone says.

As Forbes highlights, a little healthy debate is good! Constantly nodding along makes you seem like you either lack opinions or are too afraid to voice them. Embrace your own thoughts, even if they differ from someone else’s. People are way more likely to be interested in someone who brings a unique perspective to the table than someone who’s just a human echo chamber.

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2. You’re always the first to offer help, even when you’re swamped.

Being helpful is admirable, but spreading yourself too thin is a recipe for burnout. It’s okay to say “no” sometimes! People will respect you for setting boundaries and taking care of yourself. Besides, constantly being at everyone’s beck and call can sometimes make people take your kindness for granted.

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3. You laugh extra hard at everyone’s jokes, even the bad ones.

Not everyone’s a comedian. Forced laughter is awkward for everyone involved. A genuine smile and a kind word go a lot further than a fake guffaw. Remember, you don’t have to split your sides laughing at an awful pun to be considered a good friend.

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4. You ditch your real friends to hang with the “cool” crowd.

Trying to fit into a group that doesn’t appreciate the real you is a losing game. Your true friends already love you for who you are, quirks and all. Plus, what’s the point of being part of the “cool” crowd if you have to pretend to be someone you’re not just to hang out with them?

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5. You constantly bring up your accomplishments.


Nobody likes a bragger. Let your successes speak for themselves. People are more likely to be impressed if they discover your talents organically, rather than you shoving them down their throats. Remember, a little humility goes a long way.

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6. You change your opinions based on who you’re with.

Being a chameleon is exhausting! People appreciate consistency. It’s okay to respectfully disagree with someone rather than pretending to agree just to be liked. If your opinions change over time because you learn and grow, awesome! Just don’t pretend something is your favorite just because the person next to you loves it.

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7. You apologize for everything, even when it’s not your fault.

Over-apologizing diminishes the value of a real apology. Take responsibility when you mess up, but don’t feel obligated to say “sorry” for simply existing. Seriously, stop apologizing for bumping into tables – they attacked you first.

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8. You buy things you can’t afford to impress people.

Material possessions won’t buy you genuine friendships. Most people are far more interested in connecting with the real you than whatever designer labels you’re wearing. Plus, constantly worrying about keeping up appearances is stressful. Wouldn’t you rather have money for things you actually enjoy instead of a closet full of stuff you don’t need?

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9. You morph your personality to fit whoever you’re around.

It’s exhausting trying to be everyone’s everything! People crave authenticity, as points out. Embrace your quirks – they’re what make you unique and interesting. Sure, adjusting your tone to suit the situation is smart (aka, don’t talk to your boss like you talk to your bestie), but ditch the act completely.

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10. You talk trash about others to try to look good.

Young couple in shopping center using phone

This just makes you look insecure and mean. If you don’t have something nice to say, it’s often better to stay silent. Focus on lifting others up, not tearing them down. Remember, the way you talk about others says a whole lot more about your character than theirs.

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11. You’re constantly checking social media for likes and comments.

woman reading texts at christmas market

Seeking validation online is a slippery slope. Remember, your worth isn’t determined by a number of likes. Focus on real-life connections and experiences. Besides, spending too much time chasing virtual approval can be seriously depressing when you realize those likes don’t mean all that much in the grand scheme of things.

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12. You pretend to like things you secretly hate.

You don’t have to love everything that’s popular. It’s totally fine to have your own interests! You’ll attract like-minded people when you’re true to yourself. Honestly, faking enthusiasm for something you despise is exhausting and ultimately pointless if it’s just in hopes of winning people over.

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13. You desperately try to one-up everyone’s stories.

businesswoman talking on phone outside

Nobody likes someone who always has to be the center of attention. Learn to be a good listener and genuinely celebrate other people’s successes without feeling competitive. Sharing the spotlight shows you’re confident and kind, which are way more attractive qualities than always needing to be the “most amazing” person in the room.

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14. You feel drained after socializing.

If trying to make people like you leaves you feeling exhausted, it’s a sign you’re putting too much effort in. Relax, be yourself, and the right people will naturally gravitate towards you. Socializing should be fun or at least somewhat fulfilling, not something you dread because it involves too much emotional labor.

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15. You stress over every interaction.

Overthinking everything is a recipe for misery. Most people aren’t judging you as harshly as you judge yourself. Take a deep breath and try to have fun! Life’s way too short to waste it worrying about whether someone secretly dislikes your outfit choice.

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16. You lose track of who you really are.

The biggest disservice you can do is abandon your true self to chase approval. The greatest gift is to accept and love yourself for who you are – that’s what will attract genuine, lasting friendships. Plus, if you’re constantly pretending to be someone else, how will you ever figure out who you’re truly meant to be?

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Sinead Cafferty is a writer who has authored four collections of poetry: "Dust Settling" (2012); "The Space Between" (2014); "Under, Under, Over" (2016); and "What You Can't Have" (2020). She's currently working on her first novel, a dystopian romance set in the 22nd Century, that's due out in 2024.

Sinead has an MFA in creative writing from NYU and has had residencies with the Vermont Studio Center and the National Center for Writing.