When we think of unhappiness we often think of people who are alone, depressed, or financially unstable. True, these things can definitely affect someone’s happiness. But those aren’t the only signs of deeply unhappy people. It could be that someone close to you is unhappy, and you simply haven’t recognized the signs. It could even be you who is exhibiting these behaviors but has never stopped to acknowledge them for what they are.

Here are the top 10 habits of deeply unhappy people you should keep an eye out for.

unhappy woman sitting in a corner in the dark
Image by Xavier Sotomayor



We often search for bigger and better things because the things that surround us now no longer satisfy us. While this attitude is important to keep our society from growing stagnant, it can be harmful to our overall enjoyment of the world. Losing the ability to appreciate even the small things destroys our willingness to enjoy life and drags us into the pit of unhappiness.

Not being impressed by anything and an utter lack of motivation are clear symptoms of this negative attitude. Depression is well known for inducing these feelings of indifference towards the world, and if someone has depression they may very well be in need of support


Cutting all ties with friends and family is an instinct for some who are in their darkest moments. Unfortunately, this only serves to accelerate the downward spiral of negativity. Studies have shown that maintaining quality relationships improves our mental and physical health. If you or someone you know takes days to reply to your messages, makes excuses to stay home instead of going out, or always avoids talking about their situation – then a call for change may be necessary.

Blaming others

Putting the responsibility of our own failures on other people can be an easy way to relieve the pressure on ourselves. But, justified or not, focusing our shortcomings elsewhere than ourselves keeps us from addressing the real reason we failed. Without recognizing our flaws, we can’t take the necessary steps to turn them around. So when you find yourself pointing the finger at someone else, remember that you’re also pointing one at yourself. 

Need to control everyone

Wanting to orchestrate the lives of others is a reflection of how out of control we feel we are in our own lives. Inevitably, you will find that despite your efforts, not everything can remain under your control, which can lead to frustration and sadness. Try to refrain yourself from telling people how to do even the tiniest things ‘your way’. 

Always criticizing

While criticism may be a good thing to ensure that what we do is up to snuff, constant judgment can simply be tiresome for those who receive it. Mixing in a compliment is typically more useful in building healthier relationships and raising your happiness meter.

Jumping to worst-case scenarios

People who counteract your big announcement of a change in your life with a negative scenario are only looking to dampen your spirits. As they say, unhappy people like to make others unhappy too. If you’re the one doing this, don’t focus on all the ways it could possibly go ‘wrong’, but on how it could be beneficial instead. 

Too eager to impress

We all like people to like us. In some cases, we may go the extreme towards gaining the admiration of others by buying fancy jewelry or expensive clothes. Sadly, it’s impossible to impress people with every single thing that we do. At the bottom of all this is what we truly think of ourselves outside of the opinions of others. If you feel the need to make yourself the center of attention, there’s a good chance that you may be uncomfortable with yourself. You wont change this mindset overnight, but as you adjust other areas in your life and become happier overall, you’ll find other people’s opinions don’t control you anymore. 

Surrounded by negative people

Misery loves company. But making it a habit to surround yourself with people who produce negative energy is self-destructive. You may be forced to develop a personality of pessimism. Instead, make an effort to be around those with a more positive outlook on life and who inspire you. It may amaze you how much lighter you may feel without the deadweight of negativity chained to you.

Failure at setting goals

Looking forward to things and achieving goals powers our drive to live. Doing the same things over and over with no sense of expectation can trap a person in a spiral of mundaneness and negativity. Every day, write down three goals for the day. Once you start achieving these short term goals, you’ll find that your long term goals seem more attainable too. 

Fear of change

While we may have the desire to try new things, it is often the case that fear keeps us from taking the first step.  Fear in some cases can be a good thing because it may keep us from making foolish decisions. But there are many cases where fear only gives way to regret for missed opportunities. Over time, the weight of missed opportunities can bring a variety of negative emotions like shame, anger, loneliness or despair. There is no success without the risks that preceded it. Behind every success story is a story of overcoming fear. So whatever it is that you’ve been wanting to do to improve your life but haven’t out of fear, start planning how to do it. Once you have a step by step, it becomes easier to start. 

Whether you saw yourself in these habits or thought about someone else, it’s a good step to recognize what you’re doing so you can begin to improve on them. Keeping tabs on your happiness is not difficult once you’ve learned to avoid falling victim to negative behaviors. While for the most part, you can’t change who you are, you can change what you do to make it more likely that you can reach your happiness goals.