If you haven’t heard much from your friends lately, you might start to wonder if they even like you.
Maybe you struggle to connect with co-workers, or people consistently brush you off or ignore you at events.
These experiences can pile up, snowballing into the feeling that everyone hates you.
Usually, this isn’t true. It’s far more likely that the people simply have a lot on their plate, which might prevent them from reaching out in meaningful ways.
But even when you know this on some level, worries can still outweigh logic, especially when you feel lonelier than usual or need a little social support for other reasons.
If you feel like everyone hates you lately, it may help to know this experience is pretty common — and it usually doesn’t mean people actually hate you.
This feeling usually passes before long, but it can still overwhelm you and cause very real distress. Here are a few tips to help you deal.
If you’ve heard of the mind-body connection, you might already know that emotional and physical symptoms can play off each other.
In basic terms, this connection means you might experience emotional symptoms, including anxious or fearful thoughts, when your physical needs go unmet.
Here’s one example:
You wake up feeling awful. Your partner didn’t reply to your texts the night before, and the upstairs neighbors played music late into the night. You couldn’t sleep, so you spent most of the night worrying.
You skip breakfast, not having much appetite, and drink a lot of coffee to combat your exhaustion. By late morning, you feel jumpy and irritable. You texted your best friend for advice but still haven’t heard back. You text a few more people, wanting to talk to someone.
When afternoon rolls around, your silent phone feels like an accusation. You’re convinced no one’s replying because they all hate you.
If your partner and best friend usually get back to you right away, it’s understandable to feel somewhat concerned.
But when you’re fed, rested, and feel otherwise well physically, you’ll likely find it easier to accept the situation and wait patiently without reading too much into their actions.
Cognitive distortions refer to irrational patterns of thinking that affect your perception of reality. Many people experience them occasionally.
The feeling that everyone hates you can happen as a result of a few different distortions:
- Catastrophizing. You don’t hear back from anyone for a day or two, so you start to imagine no one cares.
- Personalization. When people seem distant or short with you or leave you out, you take it personally. You worry they hate you, but really, they just have other things on their mind or made an honest mistake.
- Mind-reading. You assume other people hate you or harbor other negative thoughts, even though they’ve never said anything to indicate as much.
- All-or-nothing thinking. Extreme thinking can mean you assume the people in your life either love you or hate you. If they seem even mildly annoyed, with or without a reason, you take this to mean they hate you and want nothing to do with you.
The first step in challenging these distortions involves identifying them.
Once you know what you’re dealing with, try:
- Reframing the situation. Come up with a few alternate explanations for the concerning behavior. Try to give people the benefit of the doubt instead of making assumptions. Your partner may not have returned your texts because they felt sick and went to bed early, for example.
- Looking for evidence. Challenge yourself to come up with three pieces of evidence supporting the conclusion that everyone hates you. Then, find three pieces of evidence to refute this. Which list makes more sense?
Although your emotions can often provide helpful information, sometimes they get in the way of logical thinking.
When you’re worried everyone hates you, you might (understandably) feel pretty upset. But try to give yourself some space from this immediate emotional reaction and look at the facts instead.
Most people consider hatred one of the strongest emotions, if not the strongest.
It would probably take quite a bit for you to hate someone you care about, right? What about people you don’t know very well, such as co-workers or casual acquaintances?
Unless they’ve said or done something hurtful or offensive, you probably don’t have any strong feelings toward them one way or the other, since you don’t have a close relationship.
Now turn this back around: If nothing has recently changed in any of your relationships, and you haven’t done anything to cause harm or offense, chances are good that people don’t actually hate you.
A good distraction can help occupy your mind and redirect your focus from unwanted thoughts.
What’s more, distractions that involve spending time with others can open the doors to new interactions and social connections. This can make it easier to shake the feeling everyone hates you.
People sometimes confuse healthy anger and frustration with hatred.
Conflict comes up in even healthy relationships, and it’s important to handle things sooner rather than later.
Remaining “in a fight” can contribute to emotional tension and distress for everyone involved. It’s also worth noting that the longer conflict continues, the more likely other people will get drawn in.
Consider this example:
You and your partner consistently disagree on where you should settle down. They want to return to their hometown, while you want to explore a new big city. They enlist family and friends to help “convince” you that moving back to their hometown is the right move.
Taking sides generally isn’t productive, but it sometimes happens, and it can make you feel as if everyone’s against you.
To resolve this situation, all parties directly involved should have a chance to express their feelings. Then, work together to find a solution that works for everyone.
If you feel as if others have singled you out or treated you unfairly, bring this up. It may not have been intentional. Letting people know how they made you feel can reduce the chances of it happening again.
Negative self-talk and feelings of self-loathing often contribute to the belief that everyone else hates you too.
Do you often talk down to yourself? Maybe you feel like you can’t do anything right and wish you were a better (or different) person.
When you can’t let go of these feelings, they may begin to color your perception of how other people view you. If you don’t like yourself, you might reason, how could anyone else?
While worrying everyone hates you doesn’t always suggest an underlying mental health concern, sometimes it does relate to a deeper issue.
Many people who experience paranoia, for example, believe others hate them and have a plan to hurt them or ruin their lives. Paranoia can happen on its own, but it can also happen as a symptom of mental health conditions, including:
- psychotic conditions
- bipolar disorder
- certain personality disorders, including paranoid and borderline personality disorder
Social anxiety also involves extreme sensitivity to the reactions of others. A casual glance might seem like a glare, an honest evaluation like negative criticism.
If you see a group of people laughing, you might feel certain they’re laughing at you. And if no one seems interested in talking to you? Well, you might conclude they all hate you.
If you can’t seem to fight the thought that everyone hates you, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. A therapist can offer unbiased, compassionate guidance and help you explore these feelings.
If you’ve noticed other mental health symptoms, therapy offers a safe space to identify what’s going on and begin working toward improvement.
It’s wise to seek professional help when your feelings:
- spill over into your relationships
- affect performance at school or work
- last for more than a few days or keep coming back
- prevent you from enjoying life
You might know, deep down, that everyone doesn’t really hate you.
But knowing this doesn’t mean you automatically accept it, so you might still wonder, “But what if they do?”
If you feel neglected or ignored, it never hurts to start a conversation and share your feelings. More often than not, you’ll find the people in your life care about you just as much as they ever did.
Crystal Raypole has previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.