“Why Do People Ignore Me?” The 4 Potential Explanations

As a social confidence coach, I work very often with men and women who feel as if they are invisible to others around them, and they ask themselves: Why do people ignore me?

Maybe in conversations others seem to pay no attention to them, maybe nobody talks to them at a social event but they seem to talk to almost everyone else, or maybe when people they know go out they never invite them.

If you’re in such a situation and you’re asking yourself “why do people ignore me?” I’d like to answer this question for you from my perspective. In my experience, there are 4 probable explanations. In some cases only one of them will be valid; in other cases a few or even all of them will be valid.

1. Your Presence Doesn’t Grab or Hold People’s Attention

The truth is that most folks don’t put a lot of deliberate effort in trying to pay attention to someone or something. They simply pay attention to whomever or whatever naturally grabs their focus.

The people who grab their focus are the ones who stand out and project themselves with confidence. These are the ones who speak in a firm, easy to hear voice in conversation, hold good eye contact, use clear, convinced gestures, and move with poise through a social setting. This makes them hard to ignore.

Conversely, people who get ignored most of the time have feeble body language, speak seldom and in a very soft voice, and they pretty much blend into the scenery. This is what makes them nearly invisible.

2. You Are a Stranger to Others

Here’s a scene you can witness often at a party: a guy walks up to a group of 3 other guys and shakes hands with all of them, but when he speaks, he seems to only look at two of them, while mostly ignoring the third.

At times, when he walks up to the group he will only shake hands with the first two guys and skips the third one entirely.

Why is he doing this? Because the third guy is a stranger to him. He knows the first two guys well, he spoke with them before, but he never talked with the third one, even though he may have seen him before.

And when we deal with strangers, we are often inclined to ignore them. It’s not polite, it’s not very social, but most of us only do what feels comfortable to us, which is why we ignore people we don’t know very well. And unless the other person makes an effort to be social with us, we never get to know them, which creates a self-sustaining cycle.

It is possible that in your social environment, you are a stranger to lots of people. And since they don’t know you and they barely know anything about you, their natural inclination will often be to ignore you. It’s your job to break this cycle.

3. You Seem Unfriendly

LonelyAnother likely explanation is that some of the people around you have tried to be social with you in the past, but your response was less than welcoming. Maybe you didn’t say much, you answered their questions mostly with two-word statements, and you didn’t appear to enjoy talking to them.

I know that this may have been because you were feeling nervous and didn’t know what to talk about, and you really wanted to be more outgoing, but the fact is you weren’t. And others falsely assumed it’s because you don’t like them. So, after a short while they stopped trying to be friendly with you and they started ignoring you.

Another reason why if you often feel nervous around new people, it’s crucial to get this issue handled. And you can do so, because anxiety and shyness can be eradicated by making some tweaks to the way your mind works.

Check out this presentation I created to learn how to do this. In it describe the tried and tested formula for gaining social confidence, so I’m sure you’ll find it very useful.

4. You Haven’t Found the Right People

Maybe some people have interacted with you in the past, you were talkative, they got to know you, and yet they still ignore you. What gives?

The last plausible explanation and answer to “Why do people ignore me?” is that many of the individuals you’ve met simply don’t match well with you in terms of values and interests. You’re not the kind of person they wanna be best friends with.

Don’t get me wrong: this doesn’t mean you’re not likeable, it just means you’re not their type. Which means they’re not really your type either. Maybe you’re the kind who wants to talk about career and world events, while all they care about is fast cars and what’s on TV. We have a clear mismatch.

What this means is simply that you haven’t found the right people for you. You need to meet new people, perhaps in other kinds of environments, get to know them and allow them to know you. In time, this process will bring in your life people you match well with and who simply won’t resist from talking to you and paying attention to you.

Now you know why people ignore you. It’s one or more of these 4 explanations above.

The best news is that all of these are issues you can fix or circumvent. You don’t have to be lonely and have no friends. You don’t have to be ignored by others. You can change all of this.

If you haven’t already, I invite you to join my free social confidence newsletter, where I share weekly advice and techniques to help you achieve this. It’s the top resource you can find for enhancing your social confidence, skills and life.

Good luck and I hope to see you in the newsletter as well!

Image courtesy of Saint Huck


  1. i always wonder whats wrong with me and finally got the answer for that so thank you

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much. I have always been ignored by my friends and I’ve always wondered why. It helps so much that I can hear someone else’s perspective, so I can help improve myself. Again, thanks!

  3. Some people are just assholes! People do it on facebook all the time because they are behind a screen and can indirectly make some feel like shit, they do it on purpose. Woman do it to woman they are jealous of! This article doesn’t go to other reason!

    • I know this is an old post buy I had to chime in. Your absolutely right Melissa. Girls ignore girls that are prettier than them and are often times rude making conversation with the girls they are speaking with and talking about the girl that’s being intentionally left out. It’s something that is a HUGE problem in our society nowadays. I am 32 yrs old and I have not one girlfriend I have never been able to make Friends easy and definitely not with other girls as the jealously factor is always at play. I am stared at and commented about by other women all the time but it’s rude, catty, snotty comments and remarks due to jealousy. I will say it’s a very lonely place to be. I am a very nice person and probably too passive which has made it easy for people to walk on me. I always try to make Friends but still at my age cannot. The girls always get jealous and it ruins and friendship we could of had. I’ve Noticed That Other Females Get Even Worse If their Husbands Are around. But the worst time is groups of other women at my daughters school…I dread going to pick my daughter up and always wait in my car until I see the kids have been let out to avoid the groups of other women that stand at the front doors talking. I’m never included, I’ve never been talked to by any of them yet when I walk up they all go silent then the whispers and stares start in…it hurts my feelings tremendously and it’s again a very lonely place to be. I am pretty yes, but I’m not conceded and I’m a nice person if these women would give me a chance. But based on my looks I’m automatically outed and excluded. It’s a form of discrimination that’s not brought up and out often enough in today’s society. Yet I know there’s tons of other women that go through the exact same format of “discrimination” that I have encountered my entire life.

      • Katerina Searle says:

        Hi, I feel that I understand your situation. I am 40 years old and have two beautiful children but I hate the school runs. I feel so excluded and no one talks to me. I had mental break down because of this, luckily I have managed to pull myself out of the dark hole. I have lost all my confidence therefore I find extremely difficult to speak to people and make friends. Once I was confident girl with a lots of friends. So when did it all go wrong? I understand how you feel as I am in the same situation. I hate all the bullying and nasty gossip from some of the mothers at school I am just a human with feelings! I fear that it will have an impact on my children’s life. Thank you for your letter as it gave me the confidence to reply and speak openly about my feelings.

      • I understand your point completely. I’m 45 yo. And I’m going through this at my new job. At work I’m a treath because I’m pretty and being of a different cultural background I stand out. I’m treated very differently than others and even get looks. I have also been told ‘ not to go there with …. (him)…. ‘ but it’s ok for them to be FRIENDS with them. If I’m pretty is not my fault. I’m a very honest person and too kind to others that I suffer and keep to my self. And I have feelings too. Not to mention the backstabbing as well. You are not alone unfortunately in today’s world. It is very sad. I get judged easily by my looks everywhere I go. But if these people open their heart to others just a little bit, it would make them pretty as well. Thank you for your time.

  4. I know I’m introverted but always make an effort not to come of as standoffish or rude but I always feel like I’m invisible when in a gathering of more than three. I feel like I could say anything like “I just killed my family” or something equally ridiculous and still get no reply. I am at that age now where I don’t care about other people’s opinions and don’t really want to impress people just to get them to talk. I have noticed that most gregarious people are insincere and seem to be wearing a mask. I now subtly people-watch at parties and I feel as though I can see through the disguise people wear.

  5. So the funny thing is, I’ve always been quiet and introverted, but people were drawn to me nonetheless. Now, people avoid talking to me or just blatantly ignore me, both online and in real life. Like, people that I considered my friends will just not respond to messages. What the fuck is going on? Maybe depression has eaten up my soul to the point where I’m an empty shell that no one wants to talk to? I believe I’m a relatively kind and sincere person, so what is happening?

    • I don’t know…and I feel like I’m going through much of the same situation myself. I’ve always had a good group of friends and quite a lot of people I could talk to as I walk through school. But I’ve always been on the shy side, although I’m pretty good at holding a conversation (not necessarily starting one). But suddenly, I feel like I’m invisible even though I’m much the same person as I was before. It could just be because of the circumstances and the people. Hopefully, we both find the right matches for us and find some real life-long friends

  6. I feel the same. I’m not dumb or anything. I’m just really oppressed and want out. I think people ignore me because I’m always planning on how to get ahead instead of having fun. I don’t care anymore though. They can do whaever they want. I might be depressed but at least I’m trying to get somewhere with my life.

  7. I’m always ignored in company. When collegues meet they always talk to each other, not with me. If I give it a try I get a little response but it’s never natural. No, I won’t try anymore. I just care for my family my kids and just get through life. No energy to be social. It didn’t work for forty years. It’s too late.

    • I was so happy to find this site I to always look nice and try to say something nice or I will even agree to things in a conversation thinking they will like me but no I’m either given a strange look or ignored its a really sad feeling I have even tried to be a very positive person speaking positive thoughts I’m trying to smile more and to pay attention to the conversation but nothing helps . I now go and have lunch alone because I am never included in the conversations. Like the other day we were four coworkers talking and one was showing pictures of something and she held her phone so the other three people could see and never once showed me I even said can I see and she quickly showed me and then turned back to ignore me.

  8. Charlotta Yvonne smith says:

    I feel that even when I try to relate and talk, they ignore me. The sad thing is that one of those people happen to be my sister who thinks that’s okay. It’s sad how disrespectful people have become.

    • My sister does the same thing. She will often just walk away from me when I’m still talking to her or she will interrupt me to talk to someone else. If I confront her about it she gets mad at me and denies it. I, honestly, don’t have a person in my life who doesn’t ignore me of brush off what I say as unimportant. I started crying one day because I was having a really bad day and my mom’s reply was “don’t even start that”. That hurt me a lot but she didn’t care.

  9. I think it’s number 4 that answered my question thought it is very strange that I was in a BIG group of friends who I was always sweet with, I had always been sweet to them and never did anything wrong , but all of a sudden they completely ignored me and avoided me. In facebook I always do my whole bloody efforts to entertain them with my talent, but they ignore it. I don’t have a physical or mental problem either. I tried to ask and stay in touch but they don’t tell me any answers they just act strange and distant. Now I don’t care I am busy creatinng my own life of success that I need to accomplish since I haven’t accomplished anything after college and find friends who will support me the way I support them, who will never treat me like some GHOST.

  10. It’s saddening when the people you truly care for ignore you. I honestly don’t know the reason why, but a friend of mine just… well, ignored me. I tried to extend my hand but to no avail. New motto: shut down systems that aren’t productive anymore.

  11. People ignore me or act like they want something because I have it when I’m happy. Usually I dont have anything but they think Im happy. And they pick up on this and irritate me because of it. If I project myself with confidence I get lots of unwanted attention if any people don’t say hello to me and want to get to know me they start talking about me instead. When I feel like I need people I seem to attract them when I am around the people at place who will talk to me. Usually people sympathize with me or talk about every day stuff that I dont give a damn about or they don’t want to include me in their activity and if I am invited its just cause they can have another person. Positivity helps in getting the right attention from the right people at times.

  12. I’m sad that people I want to talk to and care for seem to ignore me…I’m always first to take the initiative to write or call them, they won’t even respond me…Maybe I should cut the ties off from them…

  13. I’ve been struggling with this problem my whole life. I have Social Anxiety Disorder.
    And I have been ignored by people I know, and from people I don’t know.

  14. Hi, I came here by googling “why people avoid me”, how desperate and sad has been my days all this while. I’m not young, but i feel this is how i have been treated all my life and its has been a lonesome life. I have no best friends whatsoever since childhood, more of acquaintances, by circumstances i was separated with some good ones, and when rejoined in adulthood i have been avoided despite attempts to rekindle those early friendships. Friends coming only during times of need, pushing me to the forefront when theres no one else willing, then leaving me alone when everything is done. Regular scenarios of my life. When attempting to reconnect, messages ignored, calls not returned, when in online groups, invites for social gathering I will regularly be excluded out even when i am nearby, why the heck they invited me to the group anyway. My opinions would not even be acknowledged, am i cynical or condescending? It has been frustrating and heartbreaking.
    Family has also ignored me in general and would prefer other siblings when offering for travel or companionship, i have always been the last choice. I used to take it personally of their attitude as such, maybe i’m with the wrong company as i consider myself as a pretty nice, kind hearted guy but uninteresting I admit. But when the treatment has been rather generalized wherever i go in my career, i understand it is definitely me. By no means I’m a slouch, I’m a medical professional, married, but separated from my spouse by career post. We have yet to be blessed with any child after years of marriage and that has also deepen the loneliness that i felt, and even straining our relationship. She has been my only friend who enjoys my company, and even now, we are been separated by distant workplace.
    Its rather comforting to hear i am not alone in facing this problem, i hope together we can find true friends, change our perceptions and habits to get out of this glut of loneliness and sadness. Lets change for the better.

  15. Rika mamdy says:

    Thank you so much. I have always been ignored by my friends here in Luxemburg. Now I have better understanding of how to deal with it. Relationships with others is important and chasing (stealing?) money is not everything in life.

  16. I’m often ignored. I read someone mention that people walk away form them and I thought, ” some people just don’t stop talking, or let me get a word in edgewise. Or, if they don’t value my opinion or i know they are looking to start a fight”, and then i would walk away. so i suppose ive been seen as ignoring sometimes too. in the end i talk to my cats and thats my companionship.

  17. jayna renee says:

    I can relate to this big time! Women are very cruel to me and ignore galore is my life story. In movies it’s always the “sexy woman” whom is usually protrayed as popular and as the stuck up twit who cuts down the plain looking women… but I can tell you first hand that it’s not the case for me. I get treated like scum when I go to a party…. not by everybody (of course not all people are vicious) but is definitely obvious; the eye rolling, shrugging, whispering about me, and ignoring when I try to converse and be polite.

    I also get treated worse by women if their husbands happen to glance at me. I have seen wives punch their husbands on the arm for just casually and innocently saying hello to me. Then god forbid I say hello to them.. I end up getting the death stare by the wives.

    Went to a party recently for my husband’s niece. Both my sister in laws were catty with me when I talked to them and their men. I was wearing a very modest outfit. Yet that didn’t stop them from angrily glaring at me as if I were in a thong bikini and six inch heels. Ridiculous and hurtful. And highly unfair considering my inner beauty is wonderful and I just want to make new friends. My husband finally noticed the rude catty women targeting me this time and concluded that I was indeed not exaggerating in the past.

    I’m lucky enough to have some girlfriends, but have noticed they don’t invite me places where they plan on receiving male attention. As if I would take their men…. i’m happily married but they act like I’m in some corner awaiting for my opportunity to take their boyfriends or husbands to the nearest hotel.

    Sorry to you and all the other people who get ignored and judged for no valid reason other than for being above average in external genetics. And thanks for reading my rant. I know I sound nutty, but I am depressed from the hurtful social exclution. I tried to wear unflattering clothes to take attention off myself but that only seemed to make it worse. Then I heard someome reffer to me as ” the Barbie bitch who got dressed in the dark”. Not kidding.

    They assume pretty women get handouts in life or that we don’t go through the hardships of life like losing a loved one or not being able to eat until next payday. Most people deserve love… I don’t think the issue will get any better. The battle of the bitches is impossible in my opinion. Lol. By the way I am nice to everyone no matter of their size or looks… I would be friends with literally anyone who had a kind heart.

    Also, if anyone feels the urge to be snotty or mean to someome for being fat, skinny, ugly, or pretty; just don’t… you never know what kind of internal or personal hell someone may be dealing with. Kindness is key to happiness.

    • I think handsome and beautiful people have it harder than average people. Yes they get a lot of attention and probably get dates and Friends easier however, many times the people’s motives are not genuine. They’re also used a lot. Not just by individual people but by industries seeking financial gain and then when they are starting to wear down a little they throw them away.

  18. I just try to have a normal conversation with a group of people and they just ignore me. I dont know what i am doing. I am not socially awkward, i don’t talk too much, and i dont act wierd. But for some reason people just…ignore me for no reason. I dont know what it is my friend said its because of my race but idk.

  19. sad sandy says:

    I have a friend who has been neglecting me. I try to express myself and stress that I hate feeling this way, but he CONTINUES to neglect me. I thought about seeking a counselor , but I feel as if he would not put his pride aside to accompany me to the sessions. I have only been knowing him for about 3 and a half months, but I feel like our relationship has flourished since our first encounter. Hopefully he realizes that I should be not kicked to the curb and somewhere deep in his heart he will find a friend in me.

  20. What hurts the most is I always get cold shoulders from my housemate and I am the only one getting it. It’s not even weird anymore. She is friendlier to others, unleashing her jokes and laughing out loud. I could literally see her smile disappeared if I’m the one talking to her. I have tried so many times to get closer to her, sharing anecdotes, telling jokes. Sometimes, our mutual friends invite me to something, I’d bring her along so she would not be alone, but she would end up isolating me during the outing. On bad days, I would just hide in my room and cry silently because I don’t want my other housemates to know. I don’t want to create a dark mood in this small house (even though she treats me coldly as if I’m a wall, even in front of others).

  21. Thank you for the post. I have the similar issue, which is somehow annoying me. The question I often bring to the table is either ‘What is wrong with me?’ or ‘What is wrong with you people?’. I have friends, they like me and respect me because I care for them and I’m pretty funny. In average most people I know are likely to keep relationship with me even in a long distant physically, but for a small group of them actually break my heart by totally igorning me despite the fact that I really enjoy their company and always the one who opened up the subject. I told myself that I should let them go, that they are no match for me, but that won’t help me feeling better blat all. They are not mean people, but their such behavior is mean. I’m done with them.

  22. I was completely ignored by a old friend of mine. Nothing like being ignored by someone you thought was a good “friend” 😒

  23. Well my family in Devon dont even invite me. Im ok to visit in the winter when they lonely or have problems. They think becsuse they live by the sea i want a free summer vacation. I always pay for my food and drinks. Anyway this year i changed my number and im going away later on in the year. On my own.

  24. Destiny Sanders says:

    I’ve came across this Website and was reading some of these and I really started crying because I thought I was alone but I try really hard to stay in contact with my family and friends and now I don’t have any because either their mad at me because I spoke my mind on Facebook and I cuss a lot but who cares because everyone sins that shouldn’t give anybody a reason to start ignoring you or just constantly leaving you on “seen” but it’s been happening lately and people always use the excuse I’m busy or I forgot like I understand if you’re busy and can’t reply but since I’ve been getting ignored I can’t tell the difference but when I leave people on “seen” they call me a fake friend but can someone please reply to this and tell me how can they get mad at me if their doing the same thing? Shouldn’t we both be mad at each other ?

  25. What I’m trying to figure out is whenever my wife and I go anyplace like a restaurant, or grocery store, or anyplace where there is any human interaction, the person will only speak and make eye contact with my wife. Even if it is me who is inquiring about something. It doesn’t matter if it is a man or a woman. Any ideas??

    • You might make them awkward if you stare at their eyes too long. I happen to look away from people who deeply stare into my eyes. Or maybe your wife is so beautiful that they want to stare into her eyes 😉

  26. Thank you. I hate when people just ignore me especially when I thought they liked me. I’d like to think of myself as someone that’s not easily forgotten but the truth is, lots of people prabably find me boring. I never know what to say when family asks me about my close friends….

  27. I wonder if there is such a thing as being too nice. I often feel that I’m looked at strangely when I act really friendly. It’s sincere and just part of my personality but more than not I don’t get reciprocated. I never felt that I had difficulty in my teens, 20s with making friends, it was always effortless, but what I have noticed is that as I have gotten older, less interesting, and less in tune with “what’s in” or the drama of the day for the sake of trying to raise my young children and focusing mostly on that, I’ve lost practice socially or people have changed much…I’m now surrounded by a large group of young and single professionals at work who I now have nothing in common with. Get ready girls and boys, it gets harder later in life.

  28. I always feel I am being left out. Just recently, a group of us were out, and my ‘good’ friend spent the whole evening talking only to another woman we don’t know so well…no eye contact with me from either of them. I gave up trying to join in and this was unnoticed. Mentioned this to her when she contacted me saying I seemed upset, had she done something? But in denial. Even though it must have been obvious that I was excluded from the conversation.

  29. It’s not surprising to me that most of the people who commented are women. Kinda sad really. Women aren’t taken seriously or respected in most social setting.

  30. I’m a 35 year old guy who has been ignored by others my entire life. I am very shy and extremely introverted, and have had perhaps 2 or 3 friends in my entire life. I have been told I have a great sense of humour by the few people I am close to. I am quite intelligent – I went to university at 16 and got my PhD when I was 24 – and was fortunate to secure a well paying job (6 figures) immediately after graduation. Unfortunately I didn’t have any friends at all when I was at university or grad school because I was at least 2-3 years younger than my classmates, and being introverted and quiet, was rejected by everyone. As such, I spent my entire time in the library or the lab. Socially I’m a complete and utter failure, and this pains me because I who very much like to have a girlfriend – but I cannot even take early steps to realize this. To this point I have never asked a woman out because I believe rejection is always guaranteed. I would be grateful for any advice / appreciate any thoughts anyone might wish to share.

  31. So I’m an artist and since childhood I have struggled to make any friends. I have a very sweet wife but I still struggle to hold onto the friendships I have. It’s always usually been me that has had to make the first move in calling or texting but I’ve gotten bored with being someone else’s lapdog. Since I left my job 7 months ago due to stress, social isolation and depression I have been going through a period of slow gradual change. I feel I’ve lost 4 friends of mine recently due to me not contacting them anymore and my social life is now practically non existent. I fear this total lack of social stimulus could bring on dementia in old age as it did my mother. What the hell am I to do? Why do I keep losing friends??

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