“Lately, I’ve felt like I hate my friends. I don’t feel like I fit in with them, but I have no one else. What can I do if I don’t like hanging out with my friends?”
Have you ever started feeling annoyed or even hateful towards people you used to like? It’s normal to feel annoyed by people we care about, but how can you know if you truly dislike your friends or if it’s a passing phase? And if you do like them, why?
There are many reasons why you may begin disliking your friends. Sometimes, these are feelings we can learn to move past and save the friendship. On other occasions, we may decide that the best thing to do is to move on.
It can be a very confusing experience to feel like you dislike someone you are meant to feel close to. You may wonder if your experience is normal and if your feelings are justified.
Here are some common reasons you may start disliking or hating your friends and what you can do about it.
Sometimes, as we move through life, we grow apart from people we were close to. One typical example is friends from high school and college who used to hang out a lot. After leaving school, they find that when they don’t see their group of friends regularly through shared activities such as classes, there isn’t much holding the friendship together.
You may even find that you have nothing in common with the people you used to hang out with every day. Perhaps you used to have shared interests, but one or both of you have changed. Sometimes our friends will get into politics or groups we oppose. Maybe you used to party or play video games together, but those things no longer appeal to you. This can lead to a sense of outgrowing your friends due to different values in life.
As we grow up, our hobbies, interests, and values change. We don’t always go in the same direction as our friends. We can often stay friends with people even as we grow to be different people. Other times, it may be too difficult.
It makes sense that you will stop liking your friends if you feel like your friends don’t care about you anymore. If your friends purposely exclude you or put you down, being around them won’t feel good.
You don’t have to end a friendship just because someone did something to hurt you. In long-term relationships, hurt and conflict are unavoidable and unintentional. We can learn to overcome some differences. We have a guide on dealing with flaky friends if you find it difficult to make plans with your friend.
However, if your friend hurts you purposefully or doesn’t seem to care if and when they hurt you, it makes sense that you would start to dislike them and stop wanting to be their friend.
How can you decide whether to work on the friendship or end it? We have an article that will help you tell apart real friends from fake friends.
If you have a rude friend or a friend with traits that don’t align with your values, you may start disliking them.
Sometimes, it takes us some time to realize we don’t like our friend’s personalities because they are nice to us and we have a good time together.
For example, you can have a great time hanging out with someone one-on-one, but after a few months of friendship, notice that they are rude to service people when you go out. Maybe you see that they gossip a lot or treat their partner unkindly. As a result, you may start to feel like you dislike them, even if they are a good friend to you.
When we spend a lot of time with someone, we notice all their annoying habits. We all need some alone time, and some people are better at recognizing when that is. Also, different people need different amounts of alone time at various times. Your friend may be happy to talk to you nonstop, while you may need more space.
If you spend a lot of time with your friend, try taking some distance by spending time alone or with other people. Telling someone that you don’t want to hang out isn’t easy, but in some cases, it can save a friendship.
Finding your friend boring may come from being friends for a long time and getting stuck in a rut.
You may feel like your friend is always talking about the same thing. They may be going into detail about things you don’t find particularly interesting, like their job, hobby, or partner’s life. Or perhaps you feel like you’re “carrying” the conversation while they don’t seem to have much to say.
Maybe you wish you could do more exciting things with your friends, like going out to clubs or traveling, but your friend(s) don’t seem interested.
While finding your friends boring may point to an incompatibility between you, it doesn’t have to be the end of the road. Your “boring” friend may be a good friend you decide to keep around, and you can look for additional friends you can do different activities with. For example, you may decide to keep meeting your “boring” friend for coffee while searching for other friends you can go hiking with.
If disliking your friends is a pattern in your life, you may be stuck in some unhelpful ways of thinking.
For example, you may tend to see things in black-or-white, good or bad. You might like a friend until they do something that hurts you or that you didn’t like.
Suddenly, intense feelings may come up, and you think: “They don’t care about me. I hate them. This friendship was a waste of time.”
You seem to forget all the good times you’ve had together and the nice things they did for you.
Black-and-white thinking is a defense mechanism people use that limits their ability to connect to other people. Being overly judgemental or closed-off and unwilling to be vulnerable are different ways people unconsciously use to try to protect themselves in relationships.
No one is perfect, so ending friendships whenever you discover someone’s flaws is a surefire way to avoid intimacy. It’s unlikely that you will find someone who always understands you and knows how to support you. Sometimes we need to learn to accept people as they are (and work to build a relationship that suits both people). Our guide on building trust in friendships will help you develop healthier relationships and learn when it’s better to walk away.
If you struggle to set boundaries with friends, you may resent friends who cross them, even if they don’t mean to annoy or hurt you.
For example, if you don’t clarify that you need plenty of notice before having guests over, your friends may unintentionally offend you when they drop by without warning.
On the other hand, your boundaries and preferences might be too rigid. You may be unintentionally controlling and get upset when other people disagree with your ideas of how things should be. If you have unrealistic standards, you will quickly become annoyed by most people. Let’s say you get annoyed when you suggest a restaurant and your friend wants to go elsewhere. You can ask yourself if it’s more important to get your way or to get along.
8. You’re unhappy in your life
Sometimes people find themselves unhappy without knowing exactly why. As time passes, the brain looks for explanations, and it’s easy to latch on to the people and things closest to us. It’s as if your brain is saying, “there must be a reason for me feeling this way, and this is the person closest to me. They must be the ones making me feel this way.”
It’s tricky because it can be a chicken or egg situation. The environments we are in affect our well-being. Yet how we show up in our life also affects our relationships. Just like you aren’t as productive when you come into work exhausted and unmotivated, being generally unhappy in life will negatively impact your friendship. For example, if you’re depressed, you may be so caught up in what you’re going through that you’re unable to see your friends’ needs. They may start to feel uncared for and resentful and pull away as a result, even if they want to support you.
9. You have incompatible needs
When two people have very different needs or styles of communication, it can make a relationship feel extremely difficult and eventually lead to feelings of resentment, anger, or disliking each other.
For example, one person may have a strong need for clarity, structure, and communication, while their friend needs freedom, spontaneously, and communication on a sporadic basis. Over time, these personalities may clash as they try to make the other person fit their needs. Sometimes, it is possible to accept each other and compromise. However, sometimes people struggle to do so, and the friendship suffers.
You’ve figured out that you dislike your friends, and maybe you’ve already figured out why. The question is, what should you do about it?
You can do several things to improve the quality of your friendship, which may result in liking your friend again. If that doesn’t work, you can figure out ways to distance yourself or end the friendship. Here is what you can do if you don’t like your friends anymore.
Try to dig deep into why you started disliking your friend and what you truly want.
Sometimes, we may need some time apart from an annoying friend. We may decide we still want to be friends but only see them in group settings (or only one-on-one).
Perhaps it used to feel good to see your friend weekly, but now you may discover that you need to see them less frequently.
You may discover that you don’t want to be friends with them anymore at all. It can be hard to admit we don’t want to be friends with someone anymore.
We have an in-depth article on what to do if you feel lonely even if you’re with friends, that may help you figure out where the problem lies and what you can do about it.
If your friendship feels stale or boring, it’s not necessarily a sign to part ways. Sometimes, taking direct action, like doing new activities or talking about new things, can make a friendship look completely different.
Working on boundaries and communicating your needs can save your friendships and even make you like your friends more.
For example, if you say “yes” every time a friend invites you somewhere, you may feel overcrowded and resentful without your friend doing anything “wrong.” Learning how to say “no” can save a lot of resentment.
Sometimes we assume someone will know why we’re upset, but they don’t. It may be helpful to remember that everyone comes with different expectations regarding friendship, and everyone has different communication skills. Your friend may struggle with some aspects that are important to you in a friendship, but they may be willing to work on it.
Our article on maintaining friendships may help you develop the skills to make friendships last, including good communication.
It’s difficult to like your friends and feel comfortable around them if you are afraid of opening up. If you’re scared to get close to people, practice connecting with them on a deeper level beyond superficial chats.
- Share something personal that’s relevant to the current topic. For example, if your friend is talking about their vacation, you could share that you went to the same place as a teenager, and it was the best vacation you ever took with your parents.
- Use “I statements” to make the conversation more personal. For example: “I personally feel that news channels just try to scare us.”
- Share feelings as well as facts. For example: “I’m getting a new kitten next week [fact]. I’m so excited because I haven’t had a cat since I lived with my ex-partner [feeling].”
Working with a therapist can also be effective if you often feel wary or distrustful of others and it’s getting in the way of your social life. Therapy can help challenge destructive beliefs (e.g., “I can’t trust anyone) that could undermine your friendships.
It’s easy to dislike your friends if you tend to focus on their faults or criticize them.
The next time you catch yourself making a judgment, consider these questions:
- “Am I leaping to conclusions here? Am I assuming I can read their mind?”
- “What evidence do I have that my friend is stupid/boring/shallow/etc.?”
- “Would I want someone to make a similar judgment about me?”
- “Am I expecting my friend to be perfect? If so, how can I adopt more realistic standards?”
When a friend annoys you, it can help to remind yourself of their good points and the happy times you have spent together.
Our article on what to do if you don’t like people may help if you struggle to accept and understand others.
If you decide that the best thing for you is to distance yourself from your friend or end the friendship completely, start making new friends to hang out with. You don’t have to wait until your friendship is officially over. It’s good to have several friends!
You don’t have to wait to make new friends to distance yourself from your current friends.
If you have friends that never call you or make serious efforts to see you, not initiating contact with them may be enough to let the friendship die down on its own. Stop reaching out to them. Start sharing less about your personal life. Spend more time by yourself.
We have a guide on how to cope with having no friends.
Sometimes we must be honest and tell our friend that we want to end the friendship. Ending a relationship is difficult, and we may wish to avoid the conversation. But our friend deserves an explanation if they ask for one. We should all strive to treat others as we would like to be treated.
You don’t have to directly tell your friend that you don’t like them anymore. That’s harsh and unnecessary. But once you’ve worked out why you dislike your friend, you can use that reason to give them a more helpful, diplomatic answer.
For example, perhaps you feel that your friends are shallow. Instead of saying that, you may instead choose to say something like, “Lately, I’ve felt that we have different interests. It doesn’t seem like we’re enjoying our meetings, and that’s no one’s fault. I think it would be best if we stopped spending time together.”
Read our in-depth guide on how to be honest with friends.
It’s normal to change and want different things for ourselves. Sometimes we grow in different directions, and people who fit into our lives don’t anymore. Other times, our friends may have done something that makes us see them differently.
Reflect on your feelings and what has happened between you. How long have you been feeling this way? Have they done something unkind? Could you talk about it with your friend? You may need to distance yourself, make new friends, or have an honest conversation about your friendship.
If you don’t want to continue a friendship, sometimes you can let the friendship fade away by not initiating contact. If your friend asks for an explanation, be kind but honest. You can say that you value the time you have spent together but feel that it is no longer beneficial for you.
Sometimes when someone hurts us or breaks our trust, we feel intense anger that can feel like hate. The feeling may be temporary and may pass, but it can indicate that something in the friendship needs fixing.
Signs your friend dislikes you include canceling plans regularly, ghosting, rolling their eyes or sighing with annoyance when you speak, giving fake smiles instead of genuine smiles, and making snide comments.
It may be time to end a friendship if you have more bad times than good and your friend doesn’t change when you tell them your concerns. Friendships are a two-way street; if your friend won’t or can’t take your needs into account, walking away may be the best thing to do.