12 of the Most Unlikeable Character Traits

You might display these traits sometimes; everyone does. But people with high Emotional Intelligence (test your EQ here) tend to avoid these traits, earn more money, have better relationships, and bake a better lasagna than those who don’t.


Sarah McMahon

3 years ago | 4 min read

“Why don’t you just get on a dating app?” my friend asked me. I was driving home from the desert after climbing a notoriously difficult mountain with some of my friends. “I’m tired,” I repeated, “and I’m annoyed.”

We laughed together and she spent the next hour filling me in on her most recent dating horrors. By the time I arrived home, I was crying from laughing so hard. “I’ll just live vicariously through you,” I told her before hanging up. “I love you.”

What I told her was true; I am tired. I’m tired of stroking men’s egos, I’m tired of boring dates, I’m tired of making an effort to look nice and be nice only to be confronted with drywall personalities and exasperating monologues. No amount of whiskey can dull the sharp edge of a bad date.

After an especially gruesome conversation with a man not worth mentioning I mentally thumbtacked an unlikeable trait onto my frontol lobe, and that is: arrogance. But then I started thinking about what other traits are the most humanly unlikeable, and here we are with another numbered list.

You might display these traits sometimes; everyone does. But people with high Emotional Intelligence (test your EQ here) tend to avoid these traits, earn more money, have better relationships, and bake a better lasagna than those who don’t.

So, without further ado, here are ten of the most unlikeable character traits: 1. Humble-bragging. Closely associated to humble bragging are conceitedness and arrogance. We all know those people who like to brag about themselves behind the mask of self-deprecation. We all know this is insincere and yet. And yet. Brag if you’re going to brag, but don’t pretend not to.

2. Being too serious/boring. I’m not sure why I’m bothering to state something so obvious but boring people aren’t likeable. Being passionate about life and being funny are statistically two of the most likeable traits so it stands to reason that their opposites are not. (Take a test to see if you’re boring here haha.)

3. Being overly emotional. Emotional extremes have their time and place but for the most part, people trust a level-headed, emotional neutral person more. Furthermore, controlling your emotions keeps you in control of any sort of confrontation with an overly emotional human.

4. Being glued to your phone. I was on a date once with a man who could not put his phone away, and nothing was more of a turn off. When you commit to a conversation, focus all of your energy on the conversation. You’ll find that conversations are more enjoyable and effective when you immerse yourself in them.

5. Name-dropping. This seriously never looks good, and probably has the opposite of it’s intended results. Instead of making you look interesting, you look insincere and concerned with how people view you. People are a wee bit repulsed to those who are desperate for attention, and trying to prove that you’re important usually tells people that you’re not.

6. Gossiping. Gossiping is guaranteed to make you look negative and spiteful, full stop.

7. Oversharing. Sharing too much about yourself right off the bat comes across as self-obsessed and insensitive to the balance of the conversation. Think of it this way: if you’re getting into the nitty gritty of your life without learning about the other person first, you’re sending the message that you see them as nothing more than a sounding board for your problems. Build trust and rapport first, then divulge the dirty stuff.

8. Complaining/Pessimism. We all know someone who is always complaining about something: their job, their boss, their partner/kids, being busy, being bored. etc. etc. Complaining is a waste of time and is tiresome to be around. Cheer up or change something, but don’t complain.

9. Being Condescending According to the Cambridge Dictionary, condescending means “treating someone as if you are more important or more intelligent than them.” This is so obviously unlikeable that it doesn’t deserve an explanation, but I’ll just say this: you’re not as important or as intelligent as you think. Bon voyage.

10. Unreliability/Flakiness/Lateness. If you’re chronically late or cancelling plans, you’re sure to ostracize yourself or upset some people. If you don’t respect other people, they won’t respect you back.

11. Passive-aggressive behavior. Passive-aggressive behavior is a definitive relationship breaker, and occurs when internal hurt causes you to lash out in subtle ways: with muttered insults, sullen or stubborn behavior, or deliberately failing to complete tasks. It’s also just not necessary: addressing problems head on is a much better way to handle problems.

12. Always needing validation. This can stem from a lot of places: insecurity, trauma, attachments, codependency, etc. But relying on the attention and validation of others is unfulfilling and exhausting for those around you. Being happy on your own will enable you to be happy with others.


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Sarah McMahon

Sales Professional | Poet | Freelancer |Blogger IG: @mcmountain email:







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