20 Traits, Habits, and Ways of Thinking That Make People Less Likable
You could make a good argument that it’s much easier to identify traits that make people likable than unlikable. That’s because all of us have absorbed so many TV shows, movies, comics, and fairy tales that have characters in them that we’re supposed to identify with or admire that it’s not that hard to figure out what makes people likable. Just spend a few minutes thinking about why you like Spider-Man, Hermione Granger, Forest Gump, Indiana Jones, Moana, and James Bond and you will probably be able to come up with a pretty solid list of things that make you like someone.
On the other hand, the villains in our entertainment often aren’t shown in depth. They’re usually portrayed as evil for evil’s sake and even if they’re not, we usually don’t get to see a lot of their irritating personal habits. What is Jason Vorhees like at parties? Is Voldemort a bad boyfriend? Was the Big Bad Wolf a good friend? Who knows, right? So, our entertainment tends to leave us hanging on this point. That’s too bad because these are things that people need to know. As my father used to say, “One rat turd can spoil a whole gallon of ice cream,” so you may be likable in a lot of ways, but it doesn’t take much to ruin it.
That’s where this article comes in. As someone who has had the privilege, and sometimes the excruciating pain, of meeting an enormous number of people over the course of my life, I am here to help you ferret out those parts of yourself that you should want to treat like Jeffrey Epstein when the cameras are off outside his jail cell. If you find yourself looking at something on this list thinking, “Wait, a second. That can’t be right because I do that,” it may be worth considering whether you’ve been blowing it. All of us, me included, have flaws that we may not notice until someone points them out to us. If something on this list pops out at you, that’s a good thing because it means you can change it.
1) Laziness: Back in the day, they used to call people like this ne'er do wells or say that they were just “no damn good.” It’s hard to respect someone who just doesn’t want to work.
2) Entitlement: The world does not revolve around me, you, or anyone else and if you act like you deserve special treatment without earning it, it will breed resentment.
3) Expecting charity: It’s one thing to get charity, but it’s something else entirely to EXPECT charity and show a lack of appreciation for it.
4) Drama queens: It’s not considered politically correct to say this, but when you’re talking about women, a little bit of emotion, drama, and crying come with the package. For some women though, it’s ramped up to an 11. They’re emotional trainwrecks, they’re always getting into conflicts or outraged about something that happened to them. It just never stops because they love drama.
5) Effeminate men: Men who are cowardly, cry in public under anything but the most horrific of circumstances, or that are generally wimpy are just contemptible. Being disgusted by them is a natural reaction.
6) Negativity: Listen Eeyore, nobody wants to hear how bad you have it, how rotten the world is, and how nothing is ever going to work. People have enough things to worry about without you sucking all the sunshine and energy out of the room with your bad attitude.
7) Long-winded: It’s a blessing to meet someone so fascinating you can talk to them for hours, but those people are rare. What we’re talking about are people who will blather on endlessly, with zero awareness of any social cues that the person they’re talking to might be bored. You end up avoiding these people because not only are they dull, they’re time sinks who waste your day.
8) Misogyny/Misandry: If you dislike a whole gender, the problem is obviously you, not that gender.
9) People who define themselves by their sexuality: There is nothing less interesting about a person than their sexuality. Only really boring people make that a focal point of who they are.
10) Turning everything political: I’ve been working in politics since 2005 and as a general rule, most people who incessantly turn every conversation to politics are not only tedious, they don’t know what they’re talking about a lot of the time. You just end up nodding along, thinking they’re an idiot because it’s less of a hassle than trying to correct them.
Culturcidal by John Hawkins is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
11) People who define themselves by their race: If you're black, you don't get to take credit for things MLK or Booker T. Washington did. If you're white, you don't get credit for Shakespeare's writing or Caesar’s military victories. Get some accomplishments of your own instead of obnoxiously trying to sponge off things other people accomplished or suffered.
12) Turning everything religious: I’m a Christian, but the last time I started talking to a stranger who asked if I was saved 30 seconds into the conversation, I wondered what was wrong with him. That’s because it’s weird to come across as obsessive about anything, including Christianity. I totally understand being excited about Christianity and the Bible, but you should still have a personality and topics of interest outside of that to carry a conversation.
13) Argumentative: Some people just like to argue. Whether that means they pick some molehill they disagree with and turn it into a mountain or just act like a contrarian, it’s grating. You don’t get an, “I won an argument” trophy as compensation for annoying whoever you’re fighting with.
14) Untrustworthy: If you’re a liar, you can’t be trusted and if you can’t be trusted, how can anyone rely on you enough to get close to you?
15) Being needy: Here’s a lesson in human nature. The second you start treating another person like a celebrity who’s doing you a favor by being around you, they will start to feel like a celebrity who’s doing you a favor by being around you.
16) Being obsessive about children’s things: It shouldn’t be illegal for a grown man to be obsessive about children’s things like My Little Pony, comic book conventions, or Star Wars, but it’s definitely cringe. In fact, in most cases, it’s almost like a flashing neon sign saying, “I am pathetic.”
17) Poor listeners: It’s really annoying to talk to someone who doesn’t pay attention to what you say because they’re always formulating what they’re going to say in response. Besides, 99 times out of 100, there’s nothing you can possibly say about yourself that’s going to make a better impression on the person you’re talking to than just paying rapt attention to the words coming out of their mouth.
18) Being weird: If you are a rock star or a popular influencer, you may be able to get by with being strange, but there’s a big difference between what people will cheer for when it comes to singing a song they like from stage and what they want living on their street. If you’re way outside the norm in the way you dress, think, and act, people are going to assume, probably correctly, you may be way outside the norm in a lot of other potentially creepy ways and that it’s best to steer clear of you.
19) Complainers: It can even be a little flattering to ask people for help about how to fix your problem, but no one wants to just hear you complain. That goes double if you’re complaining to people who are in a similar situation but aren’t whining the way you are about it. “I’m hot!” “Are we there yet?” “How much longer do we have to do this?” Even though I’m just imagining someone saying this, I want to tell the imaginary person to, “shut up.”
20) Easily offended: It’s absolutely fine to put boundaries in place and insist on being treated with respect, but no one in the real world gives a damn about microaggressions, cares about you claiming trivial things offend you, or wants lectures from the sensitivity police. People may suffer through it out of a misplaced sense of politeness, but they’re going to be thinking, “Oh, piss off” the whole time.
Lots of truth here. Cheers John!
At the risk of violating habit #10, the reason I vigorously agree with this list is that it describes my progressive acquaintances to a "T". Everything is race, or climate disaster or this ism or that phobia- when you can't have a conversation without feeling like you're walking on egg shells, that person will lose time with me until it's completely gone. If I could add one trait, it would be "Constantly ignoring reality and engaging in magical thinking." Thanks, John.