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Why people hate you (5 most common reasons)

Having haters sucks, but it’s part of life. In this article I not only tell you why you have haters, but what to do about them.

Ed Latimore
Ed Latimore
Writer, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

No matter how well your social interactions go, how much you accomplish, or how much good you put into the world, you will always have haters. An unfortunate aspect of life is that some people hate when others do well.

It’s just a way of life.

What is a hater?

A hater is someone who discredits, devalues or downplays your accomplishments.

It doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t matter if you do nothing. Someone is going to say something negative about you. You can’t do anything about these people. All you can do is give them something worth talking about.

These types of people are fueled by jealousy and contempt. Your failures make them happier than their own success. To them, everything is a zero-sum game and they only see scarcity and limitation.

Is hate the same as jealousy?

A hater is no different than a jealous person. In fact, the same reason that people are jealous is the same reason why they become detractors of anyone’s accomplishments. If you do well, they feel like something was taken from them–and no one can ever be happy when they feel like something has been taken from them.

When you do what makes you happy, you’ll always have people who are unhappy simply because you aren’t.

Even though it’s all in their head, jealous critics imagine that every bit of progress you make sets them back. For anyone looking to improve their life and make progress towards big plans, the reactions and responses you get from envious people can be a huge downer

People will always project their insecurities onto you. Haters gonna hate, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

That’s ok because today I’m going to tell you why these people are the way they are and give you some helpful hints for dealing with them.

Why do haters exist?

I’ve had a lot of haters in my time. Some of them are justified, and some of them seemingly hate without reason. But after looking back and reflecting on my experiences, I’ve come to realize that all haters have a few things in common.

[Read my original quotes about haters—>Ed Latimore’s 18 quotes about haters]

The Four Confidences is a little guide that’s big on advice for building confidence

This is a short book that answers the burning question of our time: “How do I build confidence?”

The Four Confidences is based on cold, hard experiences. Not theory. The same way I got confidence in my athletic, academic, and social abilities is what I share here. When I wasn’t confident enough to stay sober, I relied on these techniques to help me stop drinking.

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Haters gonna hate: 5 reasons why you have haters

This list is not exhaustive, but if you’re experiencing unexpected hostility—especially from people you once or still do consider friends—these are the most likely reasons.

  1. You improved. Haters hate when people get better
  2. You’re doing well. Haters are over jealous
  3. You surpassed them. Haters can’t stand winners
  4. You didn’t fail. Haters wanted you to
  5. You evolved. Haters didn’t

Summaries are great, but if you really want to understand why people don’t like you—for no reason at all—I’ve put everything I’ve learned about dealing with haters below.

Self-improvement: People hate you because you improved your life

Everyone wants the good life. Few people are willing to do the work necessary to get a good life. If that’s you then learn how to get your life together here.

Rather than elevate themselves to your level, haters would rather waste time trying to drag you down to their level. The quickest way to get haters is to succeed.

My boxing coach always told me, “If you want a bunch of friends, be unsuccessful.”

How many times have you seen someone become successful and thought to yourself “man, they’re so lucky.” In reality, you don’t see the years of hard work that went on behind the scenes, but that doesn’t register to a hater.

You see, to the average person, becoming rich, successful, or famous, is so out of reach that their first thought is to discredit anyone that has those things.

By telling themselves that X person got lucky, they’re justifying the impossibility of such a thing happening, so they can feel more content with their less-than-ideal lifestyle.

Now, it’s one thing to see someone become an A-list celebrity and find huge success in their life, but for one of their friends to achieve great things? That’s even more unlikely.

You were their friend, their equal. And by improving your life you’re signaling to them “I’m better than you, look at everything I’ve done that you’ll never do”.

Obviously, that isn’t your intention. But to a hater, rational thinking isn’t a specialty.

1973 advertisement for Ayds Weight Loss Plan, "Casanova's Dream Girl"
Self-improvement always makes someone jealous.

Jealousy: You have haters because people want what you have

Your improvement may bother people who are used to you existing below their level. They may openly campaign for you to get your life together, but they secretly relish their superiority over you.

If you spend most of your time around people who care about you, you won’t have this issue. Close friends and family genuinely want you to succeed. Your casual peers will not because change disrupts the social order they rely on for their self-esteem.

When you move past them on the social ladder, they’ll feel a need to pull you down. Progress on the social ladder is almost always the result of progress in other areas of your life. Not only are you reminding them of what they aren’t doing, they will also feel beneath you.

This—more than anything you actually do—will inspire resentment, envy, and hate.

They will constantly remind you of things you did or ways you thought once the roles are reversed. Their hope is to put you back where you were so that the balance of power is restored.

A special type of hater: Internet trolls

You see this often with online haters a.k.a. internet trolls. Any time you try to produce anything of value, internet trolls are quick to give you negative feedback.

I’ve got a lot of Twitter followers and a great social media presence, and even I’m not immune to negative commenters when I give value. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a podcast, blog post, tweet, or Instagram post, these online haters will attack you because you’re doing something they can’t or won’t do:

You live your life, help others by giving value, and you make money while doing it. This is enough to incite the online mob to try and burn you down.

By the way: I wrote the book on not caring what others think about you. Read more about it here (opens in a new tab).

You moved on: Their life remains stagnant, yours doesn’t

You often see this in the romantic realm. Once upon a time, you were interested in a person. This person did not return the interest.

If they’re nice, they friend-zoned you. If they’re savage, they ripped your soul to shreds. You got over it, and if you didn’t then you need to read this.

George Clooney, Cindy Crawford, and Rande Gerber at the 68th Venice Film Festival
How many of the women who passed on George Clooney are now hating on him?

In the meantime, you improved into an attractive person. Now they want to give you attention.

But you aren’t interested because you’re capable of attracting higher-quality people now. You also remember that they snubbed you.

You’ve elevated yourself to someone worthy of their time, but you don’t want them. Since they missed the opportunity to have you, they get sour grapes syndrome now that the situation is reversed.

They invent reasons why you aren’t worthwhile. This makes them feel justified in hating on you. After all, there must be something wrong with you since you’re no longer interested.

Defying the odds: You weren’t supposed to become successful

If your life is on a downward spiral, people will write you off. I don’t condemn this because there’s no point in going down with a sinking ship if the captain is determined to destroy it.

If you manage to turn things around after the ship’s been abandoned, some interesting things happen.

Some people will be angry that you didn’t drown. They’ll hate that you’ve acquired a better life. You were supposed to be nothing. Instead, you became something.

This sounds similar to the “surpass people” motivation for hate. The difference is that you don’t have to surpass the person. You don’t need to fly higher; you just have to not crash.

Leonardo di Caprio as Jay Gatsby
Jay Gatsby wasn't a bad guy. That didn't stop Tom Buchanan from hating on him though.

These toxic personalities only feel satisfied when others suffer. If you come back to life after being left for dead, they need a narrative to explain why they abandoned you.

Rather than explain that you were a mess and wish you well, you have to remain the bad guy. It’s always easier to despise the bad guy.

Above it all: You stepped away from the nonsense, your haters didn’t

Maybe you weren’t the captain of the ship, but you were the first mate. Still, it was destined for disaster. One day, you got smart and jumped ship.

For the rest of your days, you’ll be the worst type of human being to the individual or group you abandoned. Even though you acted in your best interest and became a better person, all they can see is that you’re now a traitor.

This is another reason why people remind you of what you used to be or where you came from. This is said to hold you down or to pull you back. If where you came from was trash, the other rats will resent you for escaping the sewer.

How to respond to someone that doesn’t like you (for no reason)

The quickest solution for dealing with jealous critics is simple: ignore them and keep doing what you do. If your critics can directly influence your plans, then your plans aren’t ambitious enough and you haven’t even earned the privilege of having haters.

That’s right. You can usually just dismiss them. If you’re bored, you can harass them. If you’ve got nothing better to do, they’re great fun to troll. But I don’t recommend wasting your time or energy on these people because it will also drag you down. Read more about what to do when someone hates you for no reason here.

There is no magic wand to get rid of haters. There is no secret spell to win them over to your side. Some people won’t like you regardless of what you do. That’s alright. The world is a big place and negativity loves to make itself known.

For every 1 person who makes their dissatisfaction and disappointment known, there are 100 who are silly supporting you and everything you do.

If you liked this article, I would love it if you signed up for my newsletter. Once per week, you’ll receive a short email with practical information about how to develop stoic street-smarts.

The Four Confidences is a little guide that’s big on advice for building confidence

This is a short book that answers the burning question of our time: “How do I build confidence?”

The Four Confidences is based on cold, hard experiences. Not theory. The same way I got confidence in my athletic, academic, and social abilities is what I share here. When I wasn’t confident enough to stay sober, I relied on these techniques to help me stop drinking.

Download the Free Guide
Ed Latimore
About the author

Ed Latimore

I’m a writer, competitive chess player, Army veteran, physicist, and former professional heavyweight boxer. My work focuses on self-development, realizing your potential, and sobriety—speaking from personal experience, having overcome both poverty and addiction.

Follow me on Twitter.