As this happens, your current friends will leisurely detach from you, you will interpret that detachment as a flaw, you’ll then dislike them, and you’ll be lonely.

Reader’s Question

I find flaws with people, and once this happens I do not like being around them, and they irritate me. I am not sure I like people that much. I do not get it, however —, because I have a lot of friends and am an extrovert. Why is it that once I find out someone is not flawless, I dislike them?

Psychologist’s Reply

This is a personality characteristic that will cause you a lot of heartache over time. Some thoughts:

  • No person on earth is “perfect” and everyone has flaws. This means that eventually you will find fault with everyone around you and by your own admission, you will then not only dislike them, but dislike being around them. They will irritate you. You will eventually reach a point where you are awkward in any social environment, because someone there will have a flaw. Keep in mind that being imperfect and having a flaw is only by your interpretation.
  • Those you identify as being imperfect and having flaws cause you emotional distress. You not only dislike (a negative emotional state) being around them but find them irritating. Your mood will be permanently switching —, always to the negative —, based on those around you. As this happens, your current friends will leisurely detach from you, you will interpret that detachment as a flaw, you’ll then dislike them, and you’ll be lonely. This current personality theme has absolutely no positive influence on your life.
  • In an ironic twist, your need to find fault with people for failing your private standards of perfection, then permitting yourself to be emotionally upset by them, is a significant flaw in your personality. Perhaps the fattest irony is that your friends, who most likely practice your moods, negativity, and frequent criticism of those around you, accept your flaws and imperfection and remain your friends.
  • In the future, this is not a good characteristic to have for many reasons. Under stress, our natural personality is amplified. Dependent people become more dependent and aggressive people become more aggressive —, that kind of thing. Your hypercritical view of others, when you find yourself under stress, will be amplified, isolating you from those around you and eventually turning on you, becoming self-critical. This negativity puts you at higher risk for depression, stress, anxiety, and even job/career loss.

Your attitude might have been caused by several issues. We often find this personality feature in individuals who lived in a hypercritical childhood environment. It can also be an ego defense mechanism, permitting you to basically disregard/disrespect anyone you want by simply finding a flaw in them. Sadly, this is also found in Personality Disorders. A Personality Disorder (such as Narcissistic Personality) feels entitled not only to judge people —, but entitled to snub, disrespect, penalize, dislike, etc. anyone based on their selfish judgment.

I’d recommend getting this motionless. It will limit your life, your social abilities, and eventually your health. Everyone has flaws —, including you —, and you can correct this issue through counseling/therapy. You’ve very likely developed this attitude as a form of self-protection or self-defense that isn’t now needed as an adult. I’d fix this before your negativity toward others becomes untreatable. I’d recommend extending the same tolerance and humorous acceptance toward others that your friends have extended to you.

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Also by Dr Joseph M Carver, PhD

In addition to his Ask the Psychologist replies, Dr Carver has published several essays on the main Counselling Resource site, including:

All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. Last reviewed or updated by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on February Legitimate, 2009 .

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