I Hate People: Why You Feel This Way and What to Do

angry person

Verywell / Theresa Chiechi

It isn't uncommon to hear people say that they hate people. The reality is that no one likes every single person they’ve met. Most people can probably name a few people that they don’t particularly like. However, some people reach a stage where they get so annoyed, hurt, or frustrated with people or circumstances that they feel like they hate everyone. 

Feeling this way can make it difficult for you to go about your life and interact with people on a day-to-day basis. It can cause a lot of conflict in your relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and other people in your life. Hate is also an intense emotion that can take a toll on your health.

This article explores some of the reasons why you might feel like you hate people, how this emotion can affect your physical and mental health, as well as some coping strategies that may be helpful. 

Reasons Why You Might Hate People

What causes you to hate people? There are a number of reasons, but some possible explanations for why you might feel this way include:

  • Stress: Stress can make you feel overwhelmed, panicky, irritable, and even angry. Prolonged stress can lead to angry outbursts, which can escalate to the point where you feel like you hate everyone.
  • Social anxiety: Social anxiety can make it difficult for you to interact with people and lead to emotions like nervousness, fear, embarrassment, and distress. In some cases, people with social anxiety may even react to situations that make them uncomfortable with anger and hatred.
  • Introverted personality: While some people tend to be outgoing and gregarious, others prefer to keep to themselves. If you’re an introvert, socializing with people outside your immediate circle can be emotionally draining. Sometimes, this can lead to agitation and hatred of people and situations outside your comfort zone.
  • Ideological differences: Having different political, religious, cultural, or social beliefs and values as others can cause you to feel angry with, and perhaps hateful toward, others whom you feel are “against” you, says Kristen Farrell Turner, PhD, a psychologist and educator at Pritikin Longevity Center. Turner says an “us versus them” mentality can induce angry, hateful feelings.

If you feel this way, you might also wonder if it is normal to hate people so much. It is absolutely normal to dislike people or have negative feelings about them. Disliking spending time with others or just generally preferring to be alone can be signs of personality traits like introversion.

However, feelings of constant, pervasive, and intense hatred for others may be a sign of something more serious. If your hatred is causing distress, leading to isolation, and negatively affecting your mental well-being, it is important to take a closer look at the causes and consider talking to a mental health professional.

A person who hates people is sometimes called a misanthrope. While it is not a mental disorder, misanthropy may sometimes be a sign of a mental health condition, such as anxiety, depression, or antisocial personality disorder.

Consequences of Hating People

Turner describes how hate can adversely affect your mental and physical health. 

Impact on Mental Health

Hatred is a very extreme feeling that, compared with other often-related unpleasant feelings like anger or frustration, leaves little, if any, room for connectedness or empathy. 

Kristen Farrell Turner, PhD

Furthermore, feeling hatred toward others will rob you of enjoyable life experiences. Not only does hatred require a great deal of cognitive and emotional energy, it also inhibits you from connecting with others and enriching your life.

— Kristen Farrell Turner, PhD

Hatred may also involve the feeling of disgust, and if you are disgusted with everyone, you want nothing to do with them. When you take connectedness and empathy off the table, you definitely reduce your cognitive and emotional coping options.

Impact on Physical Health

Hatred is a distressing feeling that requires a lot of emotional energy. Distressing feelings often prompt people to seek unhealthy self-soothing behaviors, such as eating comfort foods or using alcohol or other substances to suppress and avoid their distress.

These feelings may also be combined with a tendency to withdraw from healthy activities such as exercising and spending time with supportive friends and family. 

Also, suppose one experiences the feeling of hate often coupled with the sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight response. In that case, that person might eventually experience some long-term consequences of chronic stress, such as systemic inflammation. 

So, whether through unhealthy self-soothing to cope with the feeling or long-term sympathetic nervous system activation, chronically feeling hatred toward others could adversely affect your health. 

Coping Strategies If You Hate People

What should you do if you hate people? It can be a distressing and often isolating way to feel, so it is important to take steps to improve your outlook on humanity. Learning to recognize cognitive distortions and negative thinking can help, as can learning to be more empathetic toward others.

Turner suggests some strategies that can be helpful if you feel like you hate everyone:

  • Avoid all-or-nothing thinking: If your hatred toward others is rooted in a disagreement with them about a specific issue, try to remember that you can disagree–and even be angry–with others without hating them. Just because you strongly disagree with someone else’s beliefs or behavior does not mean that person is all bad. This type of thinking is called all or nothing thinking, and it is irrational. Remind yourself that your feelings of hate are about the issue, not the person.
  • Avoid generalizing: If your hatred toward others focuses on a group of people, such as people of a certain race, region, or religion, your thinking is irrational because you are generalizing. You are lumping an entire group of people into one “bad” category and making assumptions about them based on a demographic characteristic.
  • Practice empathy: Nuance and empathy are antidotes to irrational thoughts. It’s important to understand that no one is all good or all bad. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, while not always easy, can go a long way toward increasing empathy and reducing hate. Just as you have your reasons for your beliefs and behaviors, so do others. 
  • Prioritize self-care: It’s important to prioritize your needs and take care of yourself. For instance, if you are stressed out, you may need to make changes to your life to better cope. Or, if you are an introvert, you may need to set boundaries that help make you more comfortable. 
  • Seek therapy: Therapy can help you explore your feelings and understand why you hate everyone. It can also help you be more empathetic, build healthy relationships, and develop alternative coping skills.

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A Word From Verywell

Frequently experiencing anger, frustration, or discomfort can make you feel like you hate everyone. These emotions can take a toll on your mental and physical health, and make life a lot less enjoyable for you. Practicing empathy can help you change your mindset and make things more pleasant for you.

By Sanjana Gupta
Sanjana is a health writer and editor. Her work spans various health-related topics, including mental health, fitness, nutrition, and wellness.