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Reasons Why People Choose to Ignore Others


Reasons Why People Ignore Others


Why do people ignore other people? It is a very uncomfortable situation when people ignore you. The person who gets ignored, often, feels like that it is deliberate and other people are out to get them or they just don't like them. Although this is a "valid" feeling, this might not be always the case. There are many reasons (acceptable and unacceptable) why people ignore other people. Let's examine both, and start with the acceptable or non-malicious reasons.

Acceptable or Non-malicious Reasons:

  • People are worried and are in deep thought at the time that we have approached them. For instance, there may have been an argument with their spouse, a child not doing well in school or possibly dealing with a drug addiction, things not going well at work and so forth. It is possible that he/she did not realize that we were trying to get their attention at the time.
  • People are preoccupied. They were probably in the middle of negotiation with their boss/business associate, busy with paperwork or having a conversation (in-person or telecon) with someone else.
  • People are having health issues: The person might be feeling ill, which could range from a mere cold or flu to a more serious health issues such as cancer. He/she might not be in the best of health and did not feel like socializing.
  • Just simply did not hear you. It could be that the room was full of people and noise or they have their earphones on or they just merely did not hear you. This happens to everyone occasionally, but it does not mean that it is deliberate.
  • *People did not know how to handle a certain situation, so instead of acknowledging you, they have opted to ignore you. Sometimes, a person can be confused at the moment, and did not want to add any confusion to the current "chaotic" situation.
  • People have other priorities: This one refers to "e-mails." Sometimes, people have other priorities and reading e-mails is not on top of their lists, so they are unable to reply in a timely manner. You may try to call them on their land line or cell phone or even text them. Chances are they will get the message and will get back to you.

*Please Note:

'*'=this could neither be good nor bad. There are times that people are not quite certain how to handle a specific situation and ignoring you was probably the "best" thing to do at the time.

Unacceptable or Malicious Reasons:

  • When it is habitual: It happens frequently, even when you try to get their attention several times. To me, this seems to be something more personal, as if they are deliberately ignoring you.
  • When a person is "choosy" to whom to pay attention to. Let's just play this scenario: There are 3 to 5 people in a group. Person A tried to say something, but no one paid any attention to him. Then Person B tried to say something, and sometimes, it is the same thing that Person A said, then all of a sudden, Person C says, "Wow-what a great idea!" We can give Person C the benefit of the doubt that he/she did not hear Person A; however, if it is a recurring situation, this seems to be deliberate. Then it might be a "personality conflict" issue which we will reserve for another topic.
  • *When we are talking to a person whose reply is always "u-huh" or "right", and when you ask them if they understood what you're trying to say, their reply is, "Say what now?"

'*'=In this instance, it could be that it is unintentional. It may have been the time that the person had a lot on his/her mind; however, when this happens frequently when conversing with the same person that this becomes an issue.

  • Makes an effort to ignore you. Please, consider the two (2) scenarios below:

*When you are only a few feet away from them, but you still have to yell from the top of your lungs several times to get their attention.

*As you are entering a room, all of a sudden, everyone walks out like you are a "leach", which makes you wonder, "Do I smell or something?" even when you know that it is not the case. At least, we hope not!:-)


Step 1: Try to examine yourself if there is something that you've done that may have angered or felt made the other person uncomfortable. If after examining and reexamining yourself, and you are still unable to think of any reasons why the other person would ignore you, please, go to Step 2.

Step 2: If the same scenario repeats time and time again, try to ask the other person: "Is everything all right?" This will give the other person a chance to explain a certain situation such as "My son/daughter is not feeling well", or "There was a leakage in our bathroom this morning" or "An elderly loved one is ill" or they may be busy with work or something very important event such as an engagement party or wedding plans. If the other person continues to ignore you without any valid explanation, please, go to Step 3.

Step 3: Ask if there is anything that you've done to upset them such as "I really value our friendship/work relationship, and if there is anything that I've done to upset you, I would really appreciate it if you let me know." Most people would probably state some issues that they have been experiencing and might change their behavior towards you in the future. However, if no explanation was rendered and the same scenario happens over and over again, then it's time to move on. You have done everything you can to resolve the situation at this point. Although despite of your effort and they are still not willing to meet you halfway, the situation is out of your hands. I suggest that you forge ahead and be the best that you can be. Have a wonderful life:-).

In all fairness, we all have been ignored as well as being on the other side of the coin. Either way, it is an uncomfortable situation. With that said, I believe that most people do not make a "habit" of it. It is when a person makes an effort to ignore you it becomes an issue which needs to be addressed. In final consideration, most people are unaware of how their behavior affect other people. The one who feels "ignored" is who suffers the most. For the most part, when people are confronted how their behavior are affecting you, they will try to conduct themselves in a more positive and well-mannered ways in the future. More power to you and good luck!

By: Caroline G. Vestuto Copyright 2012

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Natassja Phillips on June 18, 2019:

I have been ignored by my boss, she sees ever one else as she best friend, I must admit that I come off as a little shy, but once I get to know someone, I'm well relax and can be as opened and social with anyone, no matter who they are. But as for my boss she is a different story. Her name is Edna Brown, she's a cook I work in dietary with her as a co-worker. She's not a bad person at all, in fact she can be quite funny and kind when she's in a good mood, other time you never know what you're going to get. I see how the other co-workers communicate to her and she is as friendly as can be, but when I try to share something with her or just talk to her about anything, I kind of get the cold shoulder and no responds, I usually don't take this personally, but today it was weighing heavy on my heart so I felt like I needed to say something to her. Once she was in her office I asked her, "Do I make you feel uncomfortable?", she questioned that as if I said something crazy then responded, "Why because I choose not to give you the time of day?", which was beyond what I was thinking, I just wanted to understand why she was giving me the silent treatment for no reason, so what I said was, "No it's just when I try to talk to you; you get quiet!", I mainly said this so she would ponder over her actions, and I wanted to see if she would tell me the truth or not, so she said, "You don't make me uncomfortable, I just choose who I want to socialize with, I socialize with people I have something in common with!" I'm not going to type here and lie and say that those words didn't burn, they stung worst than a bee sting, but afterwards, I was kind of relieved, relieved to know that my presents didn't make her feel some type of way, I'm just not the type of person she sees herself socializing with on a daily bases, it could probably have something to also do with my age and my looks, I'm 30 years old but I look 20, so she's probably judging by my appearance as well, and I done nothing for her to be this way towards me except do my job and treat her with the up most respect as my boss. So I really do feel in all it is time to move on, and I can finally not walk on egg shells around her for her respect she'll either respect me or not in her own time, I how ever have no hard feelings towards her because she is a good person, but also not perfect.

William on February 01, 2018:

It is also a possibility that the person being ignored is a targeted victim of the gang stalking program. A disruption psyops program of slander and lies against the targeted victim to spread rumors and cause others to ignore or dislike the person. Go to to see what this "under the radar" program is all about. It is a covert program that needs to be exposed because it is ruining innocent people's lives!

Mick on December 27, 2017:

Australia's cruel people and towns:

St Lawrence Qld

Jacquie on December 22, 2014:

I am being ignored by my partner. I have never understood this behavior. how do you get thru this when the person ignoring keeps more things in than to communicate to you. I understand we have communicate in our own way. But I have apologized as I voiced my opinion about something that had hurt my feelings and he did not like what I had to say. Again, I apologized and fessed up that I was in the wrong but he won't talk to me. I have reached out, but nothing! Any suggestions as to what I should do or not do. He has done this before and he usually needs a few days, but I am one that wants to clear the air and move forward. We share a life together and he does this more times than none.

Luna Gutierrez from San Antonio, Texas on December 08, 2014:

I Ignore my cousins son. He is 17 yrs old, but I never really talk to him.

I believe it is connected to a past life. I choose not to resolve it either. He sometimes does weird things on purpose, but I think he does this just to see how I react or to see If I care about him since he notices how I constantly avoid him. I know teenagers sometimes do dumb things, but I think what he does is childish. I don't like that he does those things. He did stop doing those things because he figures I might have more of an issue with him. I don't dislike him, but I do have an issue with him that is possibly past life connected.

CarolineVABC (author) from Castaic on January 08, 2014:

Hi! I am sorry to hear that you are ignored a lot, UNID! Not sure how to address you since there is no "name" attached to your comment. I can relate to that, though. I am not a psychologist, but I have read some books that if you are an introvert, you are ignored more frequently than an extrovert would be. In my humble opinion, try to restate your viewpoint in a kind manner and see if you get a reaction. More often than not, people would be forced to listen to you as to not to appear rude or ill-mannered. Thanks for commenting and visiting my page!

UNID on December 16, 2013:

Feeling really unlikable right now I get ignored a lot.

Matthew Lee on December 13, 2013:

hi i am annoyed

CarolineVABC (author) from Castaic on October 27, 2013:

Hi again Josh!

Just want to include that after you have done what you could, and there is no response, try not to feel bad about the situation, and just leave it at that. By doing so, you become the "bigger" person and it shows that you have more self-respect. Best wishes to you!

CarolineVABC (author) from Castaic on October 27, 2013:

Hi Ann!

It seems like you have a very interesting situation. I believe there could possibly be a misunderstanding or something going on between the children (yours and the other mother's) that you are not probably aware about. If so, it might be a good idea to try to confront the child's mother in a nice way: "Hi! Just wondering if there is anything bothering you? I couldn't help to notice that you have been trying to avoid me lately. I would appreciate it if you let me know if there is anything that I've done to offend you in any way?" At this point, if they say 'no,' then try asking regarding the children; however, if they still dismiss the situation like nothing is bothering them, then I believe you have done what you could and leave it at that. It would still be a great idea, though, to still continue to be nice and friendly whenever you see them. They may or may not come around, but at least, you are trying your best to be the better person. Hope this was helpful. Good luck and best wishes. God bless!

CarolineVABC (author) from Castaic on October 27, 2013:

Hi Josh!

First of all, I would like to thank you for your kind words. Just want to let you know that I understand your frustration regarding the situation and I admire you for trying to reach out to Person A for as long as you could. The only thing that I could say (if I may) is to give them the time and space that they need. It could be that they are preoccupied with something and would rather not deal with anything else right now. If, however, Person A has not contacted you for over a month, try to drop a "friendly" note stating how they are doing and hope that everything is going well. Then see what happens. I believe, after this, the ball is on their court.

Also, sometimes people like the attention that they are getting (positive or negative). If you leave them alone for a while, they might wonder and try to contact you in the future. Hope this was helpful. Thank you, again, for visiting my hub, Josh! All the best. God bless!


I apologize for the very late reply. I have not been checking up on my hubs recently. Hope to hear from you again in the future and I will try to do the same favor. Thanks again for visiting!

Ann on October 25, 2013:

What do you do when an acquaintance actively ignores you? Example: picking up my daughter from school, I was talking to a mother. Another mother came over to talk. When the first mother had to go talk to the teacher, the second mother turned her back on me and slowly started wandering looking for someone to talk to. I won't even go into how that mother's daughter invited all the girls (except mine) who were playing together to go over her house for a playdate.

Josh on October 09, 2013:

I find this article very interesting as I have had first hand experience of this for some time now. The problem I have still is that I get completely ignored by Person A, but when you tell Person B (Mother), she always finds excuses and I find it demeaning like its normal that Person A is continuously ignoring me. I know as Person A is always on Facebook and would see message notifications but chooses not to read them or reply if they have read them. I havn't verbally spoken to Person B for 20 months and 14 Months by computer. I can't confront the person as they live in another country, and by typing or verbally asking them what's the problem isn't the same as face to face, as they can take what you type as you being cranky. I keep trying and trying, but I feel like giving up as being ignored is worse than being hated. Anyway I really like your article and is a confidence booster..

CarolineVABC (author) from Castaic on December 02, 2012:

Hello Agnes,

Thank you for sharing and commenting on my hub. Just to let you know that I do not have a stepson. I believe that you're referring to peedoffstepparent who also commented on my hub. I agree that people who ignore you intentionally may think highly of you in a way, but they are trying their best to ignore you to make you feel bad. This is actually almost an everyday occurrence with me with other people. I'm used to it though and I try not to take it to heart anymore because once I do, I know that I've let them won and I'm not about to let them feel that way over me.:-).

Thanks again for taking your time to comment on my hub! Have a wonderful and blessed holiday/Christmas season!

Agnes on November 29, 2012:

I found this and I would love to share it with you about your stepson...

I started to search because at work I have a horrible coworker is not talking to me...and I try to find ways to comfort myself to know, it is not me...and this copied adn pasted part of one article helped me. I hope will help you too:

Feeling bad when others ignore you

We can summarize all of the previous information into two points. People can either ignore you on intention or without intention.

1)In case they are ignoring you on intention then make sure that if you weren’t important to them they wouldn’t have cared to take extra actions to make you feel bad.

2)In case they were ignoring you without intention then know that being interested in someone else doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with you, it only means that these people are prisoners of their past which forces them to be with certain people.

Hatred is always good: A person only hates someone if he harmed him and if in the same time he didn't know what to do to defend himself. Jealousy, resentment, stored anger and lack of self confidence could all be very strong reasons for hatred. Hatred is sometimes expressed in the form of ignoring the other person or trying to show him that he is worthless.

CarolineVABC (author) from Castaic on November 19, 2012:

Hello peedoffstepparent !

I get that you have a stepchild? I know it can be difficult living with blended families. You need lots of patience; I'm sure you're aware of what I'm talking about:-). Thanks for commenting!

peedoffstepparent on November 16, 2012:

unless the person ignoring you is a stepkid

CarolineVABC (author) from Castaic on August 12, 2012:

Hello cat on a soapbox! Thank you very much for commenting on my hub! I'm very much humbled by your kind words. I appreciate you voting it up!!! Take care and God bless!!!

Catherine Tally from Los Angeles on August 12, 2012:

Hi Caroline,

This is an excellent hub! No one likes to be ignored, yet sometimes the reasons for it are not deliberate or ill-intended. You have fairly examined both sides of the coin and the offered great suggestions in dealing with the problem. Thank you! Voted way up!

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