Why We Like Some People and Don’t Like Others

Human beings are naturally predisposed to categorize each other into different groups. This is an evolutionary holdover from our days in the wild when it was vital for us to establish social hierarchies so that we could avoid being eaten by predators. So, why do some people have a bad reputation while others are considered good?

“Why are people friendly with the person they don’t like?” is a question that has been asked by many. There are many reasons why someone may be friendly towards a person they dislike. Some of these reasons include: Read more in detail here: why are people friendly with the person they don’t like?.


Editor’s note: The following is an abbreviated chapter — “Why We Like Some People and Don’t Like Others” — from Dr. Donald A. Laird’s book Why We Don’t Like People (published in 1931). From the original, it has been condensed.

What can one do to ensure that he is not hampered in his life’s success by unintentionally making oneself disliked? How can one determine whether he is hated without putting himself in the position of having to ask his friends and associates? What can one do to better regulate his own behavior and attitudes in order to be liked?

All of these are practical concerns of the utmost significance to you. And until recently, there was no way to provide them definitive answers.

To discover answers to these and other comparable problems, the Colgate Psychological Laboratory conducted research in which the relative importance of roughly a hundred characteristics and habits in terms of their impact on human preferences and dislikes was precisely quantified. Only features and behaviors that we might fairly hope to be able to change for the better with some good old-fashioned willpower and self-development were investigated.

This research revealed that forty-six personality factors have a significant role in shaping other people’s emotional reactions to us. Approximately the same number of additional qualities, despite their apparent importance, were shown to have no discernible impact, either positive or negative.

These characteristics are insignificant.

You may dress flamboyantly as Mayor Jimmy Walker or Glenn Frank or conservatively like Herbert Hoover or Calvin Coolidge. It won’t make a difference to your friends. They’ll continue to like or detest you the same way they always have. What makes a difference is how nice and tidy your clothes are – but that’s getting ahead of our narrative.

It makes no difference whether you are constantly laid-back or always in a rush when it comes to your popularity. You may be a go-getter, a hard worker, or you might be laid-back, serene, and unfazed. But don’t be a slacker. Laziness makes a difference, as we’ll see later.

You may go into great depth about your health. You may sit and expand on your surgery or stomachache without provoking resentment. This is unquestionably lucky, since around a quarter of the globe enjoys boasting about its surgeries and other bodily issues.

We had hoped to discover that talking about personal problems was a major attribute. Personally, I find it difficult to listen to other people’s suffering. It irritates me to the point of profanity. That’s probably because I’m a Pollyanna who like to see the bright side of things. In any case, the findings revealed that my hate was a one-of-a-kind personal quirk.

It makes no difference whether you keep a tight eye on the pennies or not. Friendships are shared equally by tightwads and spendthrifts.

Religious issues may be debated from both sides.

You can swear just when you’re in a bad mood, or you may curse as much as you want.


You have the ability to make practical jokes.

None of these factors have an impact on how other people feel about you in general.

You might have a melodious or raspy tone to your voice. That’s another quality I was astonished to discover was unimportant. I have a strong hatred for certain people’s voices, but for the typical person, voices make no difference. It makes no difference whether a voice is high or low pitched. However, there are several aspects of the voice that are crucial, as you shall see shortly.

You can laugh and giggle at everything.

You may use large words if you want to. You are allowed to use slang. You have the ability to converse intelligently. You have the option of using an accent in your speech. You have the option of using foreign phrases. You may have a fondness for pet words like “I should say so,” and none of these behaviors will have an impact.

In the middle of a discussion, you may find yourself pausing and hemming in quest of the appropriate phrase.

You have the ability to create puns.

You may grab your auditor’s coat lapels or even put your arm over his shoulder.

All of these tasks may be done safely in general. However, it’s possible that the crucial guy who decides whether or not you get promoted is someone who, like me, hates individuals who speak about their personal problems or have raspy voices. If the approval of a single person is critical to your happiness or development, generic norms are unlikely to be sufficient. That person’s preferences are worth investigating further.

Keep an eye on these characteristics.

Now for the more crucial characteristics, the ones that make the vast majority of individuals like ourselves. These favorable characteristics have been assigned a weight ranging from one to three in order of their relevance. The first nine items in the list below all have a three-point weight.

You can be counted on to do what you say you’ll do. This feature may not be enough to make others like you if you have other traits in high quantities to balance it out, but it is one you may take a chance on. It has an impact on not just your relationship with your superior, but also on your relationships with almost everyone with whom you come into even brief touch. 

Make an extra effort to assist others.

Don’t brag about your expertise. Because of the nature of the job he is required to execute, the teacher, parent, or executive is likely to be detested. Those who wish to be loved must strive to earn popularity via other characteristics. They must, for example, have the two qualities mentioned above.

Allow yourself to not feel superior to your coworkers, and be wary of giving them the idea that you do. 

Do not chastise those who do things that you dislike.

Don’t go overboard with your claims. Despite the fact that telling tall tales is a widespread habit and seems to be harmless in most circumstances, it is one of the attributes that was shown to be the most significant as a source of hatred. We didn’t go far enough to see whether just sharing fantastic fish tales will cause a sportsman to lose friends, but a pattern of overstating will.


Make no behind-the-back jokes about others. Consider the following example. I know the general manager of a specific corporation, a guy who is socially astute in certain areas. His firm is the dominant force in the little town where it is based. They nearly got the brass band out to greet him when he arrived. He couldn’t have gotten a townie to give him a ride down the road without a scowl six months later.

This guy is a force to be reckoned with. It was nothing he did on the job that got him into trouble. It was something he did after work hours. He would tell embarrassingly funny stories about what had happened to fellow townmen while out on the local nine-hole golf course, in the post office while waiting for the evening mail, or to entertain guests in his own home, or he would imitate in hilarious fashion a fellow golfer’s manner of making a shot. It was entertaining, but it made everyone nervous that “he may be making fun of me tomorrow.”

Don’t use sarcasm. This tendency, like the habit of making fun of others, is likely to have an effect on other people’s mental responses.

Don’t be overbearing. 

This brings to a close the list of attributes for which I have assigned a score of 3. These alone provide a fairly accurate picture of human preferences and motivations. Exaggeration, unreliability, and the guy who will not go out of his way to assist others are all things that people despise. They are well aware of these bigger characteristics. The underlying moral code reflected in the character of these dislikes is unquestionably good. Needless to say, it’s a code that runs far deeper than small flaws in the areas of alcohol, gambling, and dubious tales, among other things. They have no influence on other people’s feelings toward us on their own.

Before moving on to the features with a weight of 2, it’s a good idea to explain the psychological ideas that arise so that the remaining traits may be examined in light of them. According to our research and conversations with people who have contributed to the project, we detest someone for one of three reasons. We may detest them as a result of our fear of them. They’re snarky, or they’re making fun of us behind our backs. They may annoy us because they deflate our egos. They control us, are bossy, know more than we do, or make us feel tiny in some manner. We may detest them because they do trivial things that irritate us in some way. The features with a rating of 3 or 2 are the ones that are most likely to deflate our ego or make us fearful. Positive features of comparable worth, on the other hand, are those that offer enjoyment and emotional thrill to individuals with whom their owners come into touch. The qualities of lesser significance, those with a value of just one, are more irritable.


The qualities having a value of 2 are listed below.

Maintain a nice and tidy appearance. Cleanliness is still considered one of the most important values. It’s nearly as popular as reliability and friendliness.

Do not laugh at other people’s blunders. Never laugh at a guy who wears a strange costume to a social gathering, uses the incorrect fork at the table, or walks down the street with his shirt tail hanging out. The movies, a comedy show, even the pages of Judge or Life may all provide you with a good chuckle. In real life, don’t take it out on other people.

Don’t have a sexist attitude toward the other sex. Although most individuals are unconcerned by dubious tales, they are often offended by a disrespectful attitude toward the opposite sex.

Do not be prone to pointing fingers at others. This feature, like many others that encourage hatred, tends to develop a bit with age, particularly in severe cases. This increase in unfavorable characteristics with age explains why young people believe that older individuals are more difficult to get along with.

Don’t fix other people’s faults. Don’t attempt to be your pals’ grammar teacher or etiquette guide. They are fully capable of asking for feedback or learning from an authoritative source if they wish to receive it. It’s not a good idea to provide such unpaid advise.

Make no jokes at the expense of those who are listening. The feature of making fun of individuals behind their backs is comparable to, but not identical to, the trait of making fun of people in public. 

Don’t attempt to impose your will on others. This isn’t the same as being bossy! If your superior advises you to do something a specific way, don’t insist on doing it the same way you’ve always done it because you’re stubborn.

Don’t lose your cool.

In a dispute, don’t take the initiative.

Make a charming smile.

Don’t speak incessantly. It doesn’t matter whether you speak in a high-pitched or low-pitched tone, if your voice is raspy or melodic, or if you use pet phrases, foreign terms, or slang. All of these behaviors have a neutral impact, but constant chatting does not. Although this impairment seems to be more widespread in women than in males, we have discovered in certain trials that, contrary to popular belief, young men speak more than young women. Furthermore, young ladies dislike this quality in their male friends. 

Do not eavesdrop on other people’s affairs. 

The attributes listed below have a value of 1:

Do not rely on others for assistance.

Do not lose tolerance with current concepts.

Don’t bring up your personal problems. You may speak about your health, but not about your other problems, such as financial setbacks, family feuds, or the cruel things others have done to you.

Don’t propagate rumors. Even among their own kind, gossip is unpopular.


Keep a positive attitude.

Don’t be sluggish; instead, be excited.

Do not pronounce words incorrectly. In his drama “A Kiss for Cinderella,” James M. Barrie utilized this trait as a smart technique to make the audience loathe one of the characters, a police officer who made frequent grammatical errors.

Do not be suspicious that someone is attempting to deceive you.

Do not be a slacker. You may be a high-pressure worker or a laid-back one without affecting your popularity, but you will be hated if you are lazy. 

Don’t take anything from other people.

Don’t fix other people’s faults.

Do not attempt to persuade others to share your beliefs. This behavior is comparable to that of taking the lead in a debate.

Make no attempt to be a political extremist.

Don’t speak too quickly. Continuous talking has a value of 2, whereas speaking quickly has a value of 1.

If you want to be loved, act like it.

In one part of the study, participants were instructed to write down as quickly as they could the initials of all the persons they could think of that they despised. We came to a halt after a half-minute. Some people could only think of one person they disliked intensely in that half-minute. Others suggested as many as fourteen. As quickly as they could put down initials, some thought of persons they despised.

The individuals who voiced the most disdain for the greatest number of others also exhibited the greatest number of widely despised features, according to this study. This gives us the confidence to say that if you despise a lot of people, you’re probably disliked by a lot of people. Similarly, if you like a lot of people, you’re probably liked by a lot of others.



We all have a “Why certain people don t like you” story. We may not be able to change the way that other people feel about us, but we can learn how to make them like us more. Reference: why certain people don t like you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we like some people and not like others?

A: We like people who we perceive as having a lot of value for us. If someone does not have the same values and priorities that you do, then they become less attractive to you.

Why do we not get on with certain people?

A: Sometimes, its just something that you have to learn to live with. Please remember not everyone will get on with each other and some people are simply more introverted than others. If this is a pattern in your life or you feel constantly rejected then please reach out for help from friends or family members who seem more understanding of the situation

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