Tell-Tale Signs Your Friends Actually Don't Like You - Exclusive

We've all had those Charlie Brown moments of self-doubt where we wonder whether our friends really care for us. Most of the time, those worries are unfounded; as the old "SNL" skit said, "You're good enough, you're smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you!" Still, there's something to be said for gut feelings. If you're getting the sense that you might be in a one-sided friendship — one in which the other person isn't as invested as you are — paying attention to their faces and gestures can help you determine whether your instincts are spot-on.

To find out what our unspoken cues can say about the health of a friendship, The List spoke exclusively to body language expert Darren Stanton, speaking on behalf of the online casino SpinGenie. "Like the combination to a lock, when we find someone else in our life that has a similar combination, we begin to establish rapport," he explains. "Rapport ... is the essence of all human connection and development." He adds that it takes just a few seconds to form a first impression of someone and feel that bond. But the opposite is true as well. The appearance of a certain smile, the position of the feet, or a twitch of the nose can all be a quiet way of saying, "I think our relationship has run its course." Stanton offers his insights on how to tell when a friend doesn't appreciate you for the awesome person you are.

Their smile is phony

Do you ever get the impression that a friend isn't genuinely happy to be with you? To get a clue, look at the way they smile. A sincere grin stretches both sides of the mouth equally, whereas someone who's faking happiness will unconsciously raise one side higher. "By displaying a one-sided smile, they are almost leaking the emotion of contempt," Stanton says. Another giveaway of a fake grin is the eyes. According to Business Insider, when we're truly happy, the muscles around our eyes stretch, causing wrinkles to appear at the edges (we may not like our crow's feet, but at least they're a sign of a happy life!). When our joy is just a put-on, the eye muscles stay relaxed. 

Of course, context is everything. A friend going through a hard time, like a divorce or a layoff, may not be able to put their heart into a real smile. You're also likely to see that half-grin after you've told a groaner of a joke. But if your pal flashes that pseudo-smile almost constantly, take it as a warning. Stanton puts it more bluntly: "[I]f you see this in your relationship or friendship, it is pretty much doomed."

They can't be happy for you

In addition to their delight at being with you, a true friend is concerned with your own happiness. They'll celebrate your big and little victories alike. On the other hand, Stanton points out, some friends may find this difficult because they're not thrilled with their own lot in life. "Despite the close friendship and deep rapport you may enjoy with another person, sometimes they do not want to accept your success, as it makes them feel bad about themselves," he says.  

Think about the last time you shared some good news with a friend. Did they seem excited and press you for details, or did they try to change the subject as quickly as possible? And was this a one-time incident, or is it an ongoing issue? If a pal seems uninvested in your well-being, it's time to reevaluate the relationship. Ditto if the friend seems happiest when you're miserable. These types of people can rob you of your joy by making you feel as though you don't deserve your earned success.

Beware the subtle nose-wrinkle

Respect is key in any important relationship, and life is too short to hang out with people who don't hold you in high regard. One warning sign to look for, says Stanton, is a friend wrinkling their nose around you as though they smell something bad (think of Disgust in "Inside Out"). This subtle gesture signals that the person literally finds you unpleasant to be around. "It can be very fast, and you need to be super observant to see it," he adds. "[But] if you do see this in a friend, the friendship is pretty much over." 

Disgust often manifests itself in one's general attitude as well, according to Public Words. Though you may not be quick enough to see a friend's nose scrunching up, you can hear it in their tone of voice and sense it in the way they treat you. If being with a certain friend makes you feel unappreciated or drained, don't wait until you actually see a disgusted expression; bid the friendship goodbye.

They never have time for you

Author Brad Turnbull is credited with the quote "You will always have the time for the things you choose to put first in your life." Those "things" include friendship, too. Feeling like you're not a priority in your friend's life is another clue that the relationship has run its course. "Another way of spotting a fake friend is whether they always make excuses as to why they cannot meet up for lunch or coffee, especially when they are usually readily available," says Stanton. "Unless they have a new job or relationship, this behavior is a clear red flag that something is not right."

You can opt to confront your friend about the situation, and be honest: "I've noticed that you don't seem to have time anymore to get together with me. I'm getting the sense we're drifting apart; how do you feel about our friendship?" This may spur your friend either to become more accessible you or to admit they'd rather take a break. But again, actions speak louder than words. If your friend keeps canceling get-togethers even after promising to find the time, you're better off spending your time with people who don't put you last.