Why Is Everyone So Mean to Me? Understand The Negative Treatment from Others

Last Updated
March 3, 2023
Rude people in the same social group

Have you ever felt like people are being mean to you even when you have not done anything wrong? You are not the only one. Many people have this experience at some point in their life. It can be hard to understand why this happens.

In this blog post, we'll explore some possible reasons why others may be treating you poorly. We will also provide some tips on how to cope with these negative experiences.


Remember that seeking professional help, such as online therapy, can provide you with the tools to cope with mean people and the emotional consequences of their behavior.
People tend to blame a single person and it's shown in the image

The Impact of Social Media on Mean Behavior

Social media platforms can inadvertently encourage mean behavior due to their design and the way they foster communication. The nature of these platforms often rewards attention-grabbing content, which can include controversial or inflammatory comments.

Additionally, social media allows people to engage with others without the social cues and immediate feedback present in face-to-face interactions, making it easier for users to post hurtful comments without considering the consequences. The algorithms used by these platforms can also create echo chambers, where users are exposed mainly to content that aligns with their existing beliefs, further polarizing opinions and increasing the likelihood of mean or aggressive behavior. [1]

Helpful tip: To combat social media addiction, set boundaries. Schedule designated screen-free time, limit usage, and engage in offline activities. Prioritize real-life connections and self-care.

A woman who's overcome her own insecurities

The Role of Self-Esteem and Personal Perception

Low self-esteem is closely linked to an individual's self-perception and interpretation of the actions of others. When a person has low self-esteem, they may have a negative self-image and tend to view themselves as unworthy or unlikable. This negative self-image can create a cognitive bias known as "negative filtering," where individuals focus on negative aspects of a situation while discounting or ignoring positive elements.

For example, when facing the question "why is everyone so mean to me," it's essential to remember that not everyone in your own life shares the same opinions or behaves in the same way. People treat others differently based on various factors, and personal power lies in recognizing these differences and responding accordingly.

By understanding the role self-esteem and personal perception play in interpreting social interactions, you can develop a more balanced perspective and avoid falling into the trap of negative filtering. This mindset shift will help you recognize that not all social encounters are inherently mean or negative and provide you with the tools needed to navigate these situations more effectively.[2]

Important: Online therapist influencers can provide valuable mental health insights, resources, and support. Follow them for helpful tips, relatable content, and to destigmatize seeking therapy.

An example of a girl with good self esteem

People are mean to you because of your own behavior

  • Poor communication skills: Ineffective communication can lead to misunderstandings, frustration, and negative reactions from others.
  • Rude behavior: Being impolite or disrespectful can provoke others to respond in a similar manner.
  • Persistent negativity: Constantly focusing on the negative aspects of life can drain those around you and make them less inclined to be kind.
  • Past mistakes: People might hold grudges or be influenced by your previous actions.
  • Selfishness: Putting your needs above others can create resentment and hostility.
  • Lack of self-awareness: Failing to recognize how your actions impact others may result in unintended negative consequences.

Emotional Factors

  • Anger: Directing your anger at others can trigger a mean or defensive response.
  • Insecurity: Your insecurities may cause you to act in a mean or aggressive manner.
  • Anxiety and panic: Experiencing anxiety or panic may lead you to lash out at others as a coping mechanism.

People are mean to you because of their own issues

  • Low self-esteem: People with low self-esteem may belittle others to feel better about themselves.
  • Mental health issues: Conditions like depression or anxiety can contribute to negative behavior.
  • Personality disorders: Some personality disorders, such as narcissistic or borderline personality disorder, may cause people to act mean or manipulative.

Environmental Factors

  • Coping mechanisms: People might use mean behavior to cope with stress or difficult emotions.
  • Self-centeredness: Some individuals prioritize their own needs, leading them to disregard the feelings of others.
  • Rough upbringing: A difficult or abusive childhood may result in unhealthy behavioral patterns.
  • Emotional immaturity: Emotionally immature people may lack the tools to express their feelings appropriately.
  • Dislike: Personal preferences or biases might cause someone to be mean to you.
  • Poor social skills: A lack of social skills can lead to unintentionally offensive behavior.
  • Bad mood or bad day: People may be mean due to temporary factors, like having a bad day or being in a bad mood. [3]

Helpful tip

Understanding the differences between coping vs defense mechanisms can be key in dealing with people's negative behavior.
A young woman feeling uncomfortable because people are mean to her

Things you can do to improve your social interactions

Self-Reflection and Improvement

  • Acknowledge your behavior: Recognize that your actions can impact others and strive to improve any negative behaviors.
  • Boost self-confidence: Cultivate a positive self-image and personal power to better navigate social situations.
  • Express negative feelings healthily: Learn how to share your emotions in a constructive and non-confrontational manner.

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries with mean people is essential for maintaining a healthy and positive environment in various contexts. Here are some detailed examples of setting boundaries in different situations:

At work:

  • If a coworker is consistently making derogatory comments or belittling your ideas, calmly and assertively tell them that you expect to be treated with respect and that their behavior is not acceptable.
  • If your boss is excessively demanding or frequently criticizes your performance, request a meeting to discuss your concerns and clarify expectations. Clearly communicate your boundaries regarding work hours, workload, and feedback.
  • If a coworker is constantly interrupting or talking over you during meetings, politely ask them to allow you to finish your thoughts before they respond.

At school

  • If a classmate is mocking or teasing you, firmly tell them that their behavior is hurtful and unacceptable and that you expect to be treated with respect.
  • If a group of students is spreading rumors or gossiping about you, avoid engaging with them and distance yourself from their negativity. Focus on building positive relationships with supportive peers.
  • If a teacher is unfairly targeting or belittling you, request a meeting with the teacher, a school counselor, or an administrator to discuss the issue and establish appropriate boundaries.

Within family relationships:

  • If a relative frequently makes critical or demeaning comments, calmly express your feelings and let them know that their words hurt you, and you would appreciate their support rather than judgment.
  • If a family member is overly intrusive or controlling, establish boundaries regarding your personal space, decision-making, and privacy. Communicate your needs and expectations clearly.
  • If siblings or relatives frequently argue or engage in negative behavior during family gatherings, set a boundary by excusing yourself from the situation and explaining that you will only participate in positive and respectful conversations [4]
A woman going for a jog to help release negative emotions

Develop a Healthy Lifestyle and Support System

  • Incorporate a daily routine: Engage in regular physical exercise, maintain a balanced diet, and practice relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation.
  • Prioritize self-care: Set aside time for yourself to unwind and recharge.
  • Get enough sleep: Ensure you're getting sufficient rest each night to support your physical and mental well-being.
  • Reach out for support: Connect with trusted friends or family members when you need to talk or seek advice.

Cultivate a Positive Attitude

  • Focus on the good: Train your mind to look for positive aspects in every situation.
  • Practice gratitude: Regularly express appreciation for the people and experiences that enrich your life.
  • Surround yourself with positivity: Build a supportive social circle and engage in activities that bring you joy. [5]
A woman meditating about her own behavior and managing her own anger

Strategies for Building Resilience and Emotional Strength

Building resilience is essential for effectively dealing with life's challenges and overcoming adversity. By developing emotional strength, individuals can better cope with difficult situations and maintain a sense of well-being. Here are specific techniques for building resilience:

Cognitive-behavioral strategies

These techniques involve identifying and challenging negative thought patterns, which can help to develop a more balanced and positive perspective. Cognitive restructuring, for example, involves recognizing irrational beliefs and replacing them with healthier, more rational thoughts.


Practicing mindfulness meditation can help to cultivate self-awareness, acceptance, and emotional regulation. By focusing on the present moment and observing thoughts and emotions without judgment, individuals can develop a deeper understanding of their emotional responses and learn to manage stress more effectively.


Writing about emotions, experiences, and thoughts can provide a healthy outlet for processing feelings and gaining insight into one's emotional state. Journaling can also help to identify patterns in behavior and emotions, which can be useful for developing coping strategies and building resilience.

Engaging in hobbies that promote well-being

Participating in activities that bring joy, relaxation, or a sense of accomplishment can help to build resilience by fostering positive emotions and reducing stress. Examples of such activities might include exercise, spending time in nature, practicing a creative hobby, or volunteering.

Building a strong support network

Cultivating relationships with supportive friends, family members, or professionals can provide a crucial source of emotional support and encouragement. Sharing experiences and feelings with others can help to normalize challenges and foster a sense of belonging and connection.

Developing problem-solving skills

Learning to approach challenges with a proactive and solution-focused mindset can help to build resilience by increasing confidence in one's ability to overcome obstacles. Developing problem-solving skills might involve brainstorming possible solutions, evaluating their potential outcomes, and implementing the most effective strategies.

Emphasizing self-compassion

Practicing self-compassion involves treating oneself with kindness and understanding during difficult times, and recognizing that suffering is a natural part of the human experience. By fostering self-compassion, individuals can cultivate a more resilient and compassionate response to adversity.

Benefits of building emotional strength

  • Improved self-esteem
  • Enhanced emotional regulation
  • Increased resilience
  • Better problem-solving skills
  • Effective communication
  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater well-being [6]


It's important to remember that dealing with mean people can be challenging, but seeking professional help, such as online therapy, can provide you with the tools to cope with the emotional consequences of their behavior. By understanding the reasons behind mean behavior, setting boundaries, and building resilience, you can improve your interactions with others and feel more confident in yourself.


Why do people always seem to be mean to me?

Sometimes people who are mean to others have their own feelings of insecurity or lack of self-worth that they are trying to cover up. It’s important to remember that being subjected to someone’s rudeness does not make you a bad person or deserving of negative treatment.

What can I do to make people stop being mean to me?

Try not to take their words or behavior personally. It might help to remember that they may be dealing with their own issues and lashing out at you as a result. You could also try talking to them in a calm and respectful way to try to get them to see things from your perspective. It's also important to take a stand for yourself by speaking up when someone is mistreating you.


  1. Why Do Bullies Bully? - The Mazziotti Group
  2. Social Psychology Factors in Traditional Bullying and Cyberbullying
  3. Union Collage: Causes and Consequences of Bullying
  4. University of Washington: Violence in the home leads to higher rates of childhood bullying
    Boston Collage: Enhancing Social Interactions
  5. Loss, Trauma, and Human Resilience: Have We Underestimated the Human Capacity to Thrive After Extremely Aversive Events?

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Jamie Armstrong
I have a passion for writing. I work as a Senior Marketing Manager for Islomania LLC. I have developed a strong interest in writing articles and website management during my time here. I enjoy both article writing, poetry, and story writing. In my role as a marketing manager, whether I’m writing an article, or a story, or improving other writers’ content, I always try to engage my readers and give them something to think about.
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