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27 Signs of an Unhappy Person That Are Hidden Behind a Happy Smile

Life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Everyone goes through rough times, but some people don’t bounce back. Here are the signs of an unhappy person.

signs of an unhappy person

We all want to help our friends and family be as happy as they can be. But when you don’t know the signs of an unhappy person, how are you supposed to help or just know when to be there?

You may even be unhappy yourself, but could be in such denial that you don’t realize it. The first step to being happier is to know the signs of an unhappy person. Once you see it, you can move forward.

Why an unhappy person is hard to spot

You may think that noticing when a loved one is unhappy should be relatively easy. But when people are upset, disappointed, or just feeling mediocre, they tend not to show it off.

How many times have you felt down yet still told everyone you were fine. No one wants to be a burden or air their dirty laundry.

You can be unhappy due to personal issues, mental illness, money, your job, and the list goes on. But like most people, those feelings are often bottled up so that you can put a happy face on. But, even with all that effort to seem okay, unhappiness tends to sneak out in other ways.

Certain personality traits or behaviors are signs of an unhappy person. You just have to be aware of them in your life or someone else’s to point it out and hopefully move forward.

If you’re wondering why you’re unhappy in the first place, take a look at these most common reasons why people become unhappy with themselves before you read on.

The well-hidden signs of an unhappy person that are easy to miss

What a downer, huh? It is easy to spot a happy person usually. You know them when you see them. They give off a genuine and even calming vibe.

But the signs of an unhappy person can be easily missed. Everything from having a bad day to being clinically depressed can hide behind these actions and behaviors, so keep an eye out.

1. Insecurity

Someone who is insecure and lacks confidence may not be entirely unhappy. Self-esteem issues can carry into every aspect of life and spread unhappiness around.

An insecure individual who struggles with their appearance may be more nervous about a job interview or dating. That can lead to them not wanting to speak up in a meeting or draw attention to themselves. We all have insecurities. It is human nature.

But, if you notice you or someone in your life constantly struggling with insecurities and it negatively impacts their life, they may very well be an unhappy person. [Read: The 29 signs of insecurity and how to rise above]

2. Angst

Think about how you were when you were 13 or so. There is a good chance you hated the world, didn’t want to talk to many other people, and just always expected the worst.

An unhappy person reflects their unhappiness onto the world and everyone around them.

3. Irritability

Again, teenagers go through a lot and tend to be irritable, but as we get older, we tend to be a bit better at holding back in stressful or annoying moments. Someone who is unhappy may find it difficult to control themselves in times like these.

One of the signs of an unhappy person would be snapping at someone for a small indiscretion or mistake or constantly being annoyed. [Read: How to deal with the rude people in your life]

4. Indifference

Unhappiness is not a good feeling, so in order to avoid feeling it, many people try to stop caring. Unhappy people may answer every question with, “I don’t know,” or, “I don’t care.”

By not putting any meaning on things, someone who is unhappy prevents themselves from being even more disappointed, or even trying to look internally.

5. Disconnection

Similarly to feeling indifferent, they may disconnect themselves from those around them. They cancel plans, flake on friends very often, and avoid seeing or talking to people. They may want to dwell alone or they don’t want others to ask how they are.

If someone pushes you away and you cannot think of a logical reason for it, they may be begging for comfort silently. [Read: Is someone pushing you away? 23 reasons why they push, signs and what to do next]

6. Lack of effort

You know how after a long day you don’t have the energy to make dinner or do laundry so you plop on the sofa in your work clothes, order dinner, and just sit there until you fall asleep?

Well, stretch that out into everyday life. A sign of an unhappy person is a constant lack of effort with everything from work, to diet, to exercise, or even basic cleaning. [Read: 15 steps to stop being sad and alter your state of mind]

7. Fear

We all have a touch of fear about our futures, failure, etc. But someone who is unhappy already feels down, so they are in a position where the fear takes over and gets the best of them. They are afraid to live their life to the fullest and take risks.

They only see the bad things that could happen, not all the wonderful ones. Someone who is happy, on the other hand, would be hopeful for a positive outcome when taking a chance.

8. Jealousy

Jealousy is a bad look on everyone, but very often it is not from a place of hatred or anger, it just looks that way. Most of the time, jealousy comes from a person who is unhappy with themselves.

It is sort of like a grade-school bully. They don’t have control in their lives so instead of focusing on that, they put others down for being different. 

An adult who is unhappy with their position at work or the fact that they are single might spread rumors about a coworker that is up for a promotion or complain about their happily married friend out of bitterness. [Read: Why am I so jealous? The real reasons why we feel it and how to fix it]

9. Need to stay busy

Although some people that are unhappy roll back on work and socializing, others try to stay as busy as possible. They want to surround themselves with people so they are constantly distracted from their unhappiness.

It can be difficult for someone who is unhappy to be alone, even just overnight. So if you have a friend that is constantly out and about, they might be overcompensating.

10. Lack of fulfillment

Someone constantly wanting more or expecting more from their life will never be happy. And if you know someone feeling unfulfilled with their job or home life but isn’t doing anything to change, they are likely unhappy. [Read: 20 unique ways to draw happiness from within yourself]

11. Excessive drinking

Sometimes you just get a little nuts. Maybe your team won the Super Bowl or you got engaged, but if heavy drinking is becoming a regular routine, not only is unhappiness likely the answer, but if it isn’t dealt with soon, it can become a serious problem.

If you have noticed yourself or a friend drinking more than usual, say something. Offer or ask for help. Drinking to numb the pain of unhappiness may feel good at the moment, but in the long run, even by the next day, it does more harm than good.

12. Chronic fatigue or pain

Yes, chronic pain and fatigue can be due to actual medical conditions. If you see some of these other signs of an unhappy person along with someone always saying that they are tired or in pain that can be another sign. [Read: What it’s like to love someone with depression]

13. Weight gain or loss

Once again, noticeable weight gain or weight loss in a small period of time can be a sign of a medical issue, but it can also be a sign of unhappiness when combined with other signs on this list.

14. Judgmental

Someone constantly looking down on other people or is close-minded is likely unhappy. Someone who fears being judged by others may judge as a defense mechanism.

15. Always waiting

People that are happy don’t wait for good things to come along, they make them happen. If they want a better job, they go and look for one. But, someone who is unhappy may dwell in their unhappiness. They are always waiting for happiness to find them.

They may complain about their life, their job, or their relationship, but they never do anything to change their life. They are just always waiting for something to happen to them.

16. Pessimistic

Not everyone is always cheery and optimistic all the time. So, it’s not unusual to not always look on the bright side of life.

However, if a person is literally incapable of seeing anything good in their lives, then that is definitely one of the signs of an unhappy person. [Read: How to be more positive – 24 steps to a happy and dramatic life shift]

17. Excessive sleeping

Everyone likes a good night’s sleep. But there’s a difference between liking to get 8-10 hours of sleep a night and sleeping all day. If someone is sleeping way into the afternoon or even misses school or work because they can’t get out of bed, that is an unhappy person.

18. Constant complaining

There are always going to be things about our lives that we don’t like. But most normal people will either try to make the best of things or ignore them.

At worst, they might complain about something that is really important. But an unhappy person complains about everything – and very frequently. There is nothing that they find alright in their lives. [Read: How to think positive and reprogram your mind to stay positive]

19. Hopelessness

When something bad happens to a normal person, they have a feeling of despair for a short time and then just get on with life.

But when someone has a general, lingering feeling of hopelessness in their lives all the time, that is because they are unhappy.

Life is never hopeless, but someone who is depressed will always think it is. [Read: Feeling hopeless – How to stop feeling overwhelmed and see hope again]

20. Fallen out of their routine

If you notice that someone stopped doing what they used to do, then they are probably unhappy. It could be something as simple as not brushing their teeth or putting on pajamas before they go to bed.

Or, it could be that they have stopped going out with their friends every Thursday night like they used to. A change in routine is one of the signs of an unhappy person.

21. Avoidance behaviors

Some of these avoidance behaviors can be subtle at first like canceling plans at the last minute, or a usually on-time person showing up late. They might even offer excuses of why they can’t or won’t do something that they would normally enjoy.

22. Hiding in their clothes

While this might sound like a silly sign of unhappiness, it happens a lot. If they are wearing big sweatshirts with the hood up all the time, big jackets, or their hats pulled down, then they are trying to “slip away” and go unnoticed in the world. [Read: Loving someone with depression – Why it’s not your job to fix them]

23. Bad decisions

Not everyone makes good decisions all the time. But there are accidental bad decisions, and then there are monumentally bad decisions.

It could be anything from using drugs, excessive gambling, or shopping too much. If you see that their decision-making skills are particularly dangerous, then they are probably unhappy.

24. Withdrawal

This can mean either emotional or physical withdrawal. If someone doesn’t talk to you like they used to or share feelings anymore, then they are emotionally withdrawing from you. Physical withdrawal includes things like not coming out of their room or basement for hours or even days on end. [Read: Emotional numbness – How you could slip into it and ways to get out fast]

25. Lack of eye contact

Looking someone in the eyes shows that you are connecting with them. As they say, “the eyes are the window to the soul.”

So, an excessive lack of eye contact shows that they are trying to disconnect from people. They want to be left alone and not be emotionally involved with anyone. [Read: Dating someone with depression – 25 signs and truths you must know]

26. Not answering texts or phone calls

If they’re not answering emails, texts, or returning phone calls, then that is also one of the signs of an unhappy person.

It’s not unusual if it happens once in a while, but complete avoidance of these activities means they are trying to isolate themselves from other people.

27. Alone time

Similar to what we mentioned above, if they are physically withdrawing on a regular basis in favor of having alone time, it’s because they don’t feel happy enough to engage with other people socially. And if you have a feeling that they would never see people again if given a choice, then this is a huge problem.

[Read: The rules of life – 22 secrets to never be unhappy ever again]

These are all subtle but very dangerous signs of an unhappy person. Being able to tell if you or a friend is unhappy is a great way to make happiness that much more attainable. Please remember, you are not a therapist. If you think a friend is in trouble, offer to listen, but always seek advice from a licensed professional.

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