Are you unsure whether or not someone wants to be your friend? Or perhaps you feel that your existing friends don’t like you anymore and you aren’t sure what to do about it?
Most people will never say, “I don’t want to be your friend,” so you need to pick up non-verbal clues that suggest they’d prefer to keep their distance. In this guide, you’ll learn how to spot the signs that someone doesn’t want to be your friend.
- Signs someone doesn’t want to be your friend
- What to do if someone doesn’t want to be your friend
- Common questions
When someone wants to be your friend, they will want to learn more about you. As a general rule, if a person asks you few or no questions about your life, opinions, or feelings, they probably aren’t interested in building or maintaining a friendship.
Pay attention to the other person’s body language when you’re around them. If they are sending negative signals, it’s likely that they don’t see you as a friend.
- Look at their feet. If their feet are pointing away from you during a conversation, they may want to be elsewhere.
- Consider if they are making themselves too busy or unavailable to talk when you’re around. For example, they may keep their eyes on their phone or suddenly say they need to talk to someone else.
- They keep their distance. People prefer to stay around 90cm away when talking to a stranger, and often get closer over time when they feel more comfortable with a new person. If someone prefers to keep their distance and backs away when you move closer, they probably don’t feel at ease around you.
However, don’t be too quick to decide that someone doesn’t like you. Look for ongoing patterns if you want to decode someone’s body language; don’t rely on occasional signs.
If you’d like more help understanding body language, check out the best body language books.
A friend who never wants to hang out is probably withdrawing from you. If your friend rarely or never invites you to social events, but they often invite other people, or if they keep declining your invitations, they may not value your friendship.
They might make excuses that you know aren’t true, or you might discover later that they were lying. They may also give vague, noncommittal answers when you suggest hanging out, such as:
- “Sounds great. We should do that sometime.”
- “Yeah, for sure.”
- “That sounds good. I’ll get back to you.”
This applies to online friends too. For example, if they used to enjoy playing online games with you for hours at a time but no longer seem interested, it’s likely that they are pulling back from your friendship.
It’s normal for a friend to cancel plans occasionally. But if it’s becoming an ongoing issue in your friendship, it may be a sign that they are distancing themselves from you, especially if they don’t try to reschedule. In some cases, they might cancel plans to hang out with other people or call you to make last-minute plans when someone else has canceled on them.
Giving and getting emotional support is an important part of a good friendship. A real friend will listen carefully when you tell them about your challenges and give you thoughtful advice if you ask for it.
A person who doesn’t want your friendship might be indifferent to your problems and successes, or they might only make a few polite, generic comments like “Great, glad to hear it went OK” or “Sorry to hear that you’re having issues.”
If someone only talks to you about trivial things or doesn’t talk much, they probably do not want a meaningful friendship. They may be happy to make casual conversation if they see you as an acquaintance, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they want to be friends.
Some people are slow to trust others, but in general, someone who wants to be your friend will want to share things about themselves with you and get to know you better at the same time.
People who are indifferent to you don’t usually reciprocate when you support them. They may appear uncomfortable when you try to console them because they don’t want to open up about sensitive topics.
If someone wants to be your friend, they will be pleased when they discover you have things in common. But if someone doesn’t want to know you any better, they won’t be eager to bond over your shared interests. Or if you and a friend used to spend a lot of time doing or talking about a hobby, but they now seem unbothered, you may be drifting apart.
Not everyone uses social media regularly, so this isn’t always a reliable clue. But if you’ve met someone recently and added or followed them, but they haven’t reciprocated, they might be reluctant to move from acquaintance to friend.
If one of your friends used to interact with your posts or feed but has recently stopped leaving comments or likes, it could be a sign that they are no longer invested in your friendship.
Some people prefer to talk in person or on the phone rather than via text, so if someone only sends occasional or brief messages, it isn’t necessarily a sign that they don’t want to be friends with you.
If you’re already friends with someone and are worried that they are pulling away, watch out for big changes in how they communicate with you. If your friend has recently sent you fewer messages than usual or they are slower to respond, they may be distancing themselves from you.
It’s natural to reach out to your friends when something significant happens in your life, such as a promotion or engagement. When someone doesn’t get in touch with big updates, they probably don’t see you as a friend, especially if they used to rush to share their news.
If you have to rely on social media or other people to tell you what’s going on in your best friend’s life, it might be a sign that you aren’t best friends anymore.
Some people don’t bother to stay in touch most of the time but will suddenly act friendly when they want or need something from you.
For example, they might only reach out when:
- They want to borrow money
- They are visiting your city and need somewhere to stay for the night
- They want to vent about their problems, and no one else will listen
- They want you to introduce them to someone who could be useful to them, e.g., a business contact or someone they want to date
If someone behaves like this, they don’t really want to be your friend. They are using you when it suits them. You may find it helpful to read our guide on how to stop being treated like a doormat if people often take advantage of you.
By definition, friendship is voluntary and goes two ways. You cannot force someone to want your friendship.
If someone doesn’t want to be friends, you don’t need to say anything in particular to them. Be polite to them if you have to spend time together at work or in a social situation, but don’t invite them to socialize with you if they have already made it clear they aren’t interested.
If you are trying to rekindle an old friendship but the other person doesn’t want to reconnect, respect their choice. They might prefer not to be reminded of their past, or they may not want to expand their social circle at the moment.
Social rejection does not mean that you aren’t worthwhile as a person, and it doesn’t mean you won’t find other friends in the future. It isn’t pleasant, but rejection is a sign that you took a healthy risk instead of remaining in your comfort zone.
It can also help to realize that you might have rejected people in the past because although they were nice, you just didn’t “click.” If someone doesn’t like you, it doesn’t mean you won’t find other people who will.
If you feel upset because someone doesn’t want to be your friend, it generally isn’t a good idea to look at their social media, especially if they make posts about their social life. Unfollow or mute their content. Use social media to interact with people who make you feel positive about yourself and your life.
Invest your time in meeting new people who want to spend time with you. Our guide on how to meet like-minded people who understand you may be useful. You could also check out our article on how to build a social circle.
If your friend has started to back away for an unknown reason, it may be worth having a frank discussion about what has changed. You might have accidentally offended your friend. If you clear up the misunderstanding, you might be able to save the friendship.
For example, you could say:
“I feel that over the past few weeks, we haven’t talked or hung out much, and our text chats have been very short. I get the feeling that something has changed in our friendship. Could we talk about it?”
Try using “I-statements” to explain how you feel. Do not make accusing statements such as “You don’t care anymore” or “You never want to see me” because they can come across as aggressive.
Ideally, you will be able to have a conversation about how and why your friendship has changed. If your friend can’t or won’t give you an answer, give them space and focus on your other friends.
We have some tips on what to do when your friend is mad at you and ignoring you that may be useful.
If your friend has stopped messaging, calling, or making plans to meet up with you, they are probably trying to distance themselves. They may also stop opening up to you, and when the two of you do speak, it might be about trivial topics rather than personal issues.
If you have reached out twice and received a minimal response or no response at all, it may be best to give your friend some space. If you’d like to continue the friendship, tell them you will be happy to hear from them in the future if they want to reconnect.
You cannot have a healthy friendship with someone who doesn’t want to be around you. Focus on meeting new people who would like to be your friend instead of trying to force a friendship with someone who isn’t interested.