Five Explanations for Hate at First Sight

You always hear about love at first sight, but disliking someone the first time you meet them is also quite common. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the rational reasons for those gut reactions.
Five Explanations for Hate at First Sight

Last update: 22 April, 2019

You’ve heard of love at first sight, but what about hate at first sight? First impressions can be positive or negative, and it’s certainly possible to instantly dislike or conflict with a person that you just met. Maybe you can’t quite put your finger on why you feel one way or the other, you just do. There’s no rational explanation.

People tend to think that that kind of issue can be summarized in one word: intuition. However, that isn’t always the case. You can love or be attracted to people who don’t deserve it at all. Or you feel hateful towards people who turn out to be wonderful. In these cases, your intuition is no guarantee that you are making an accurate judgment of someone.

It’s normal to feel hate at first sight for people who come into your life and immediately start causing harm. What isn’t logical is to dislike someone who hasn’t done anything at all. Why does that happen? Well, there are five basic reasons and we’ll discuss them here.

“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”

-Nicholas Machiavelli-

1. It’s not you, it’s me

Hate at first sight doesn’t always come from some aggression or spiteful behavior. Sometimes your feelings are informed by prejudice or certain filters that you apply to the information you collect that confuse you. In any case, it’s your own fault, and has nothing to do with the person that you “hate at first sight.”

Hate at first sight might be the cause of prejudice and discrimination. You let yourself be led by appearances and you associate certain characteristics with specific values. Long hair, tattoos, a disheveled look, anything like that can change your perspective. Don’t forget, however, that appearances can be quite deceiving.

two people with their backs to each other representing hate

2. They want to seem like someone they aren’t

Some people worry too much about the impression they make on other people. They spend a lot of energy trying to project a certain image. Other people are subconsciously aware of the act they are putting on, and that awareness can trigger rejection.

Their body language or the content of their speech might be what gives them away. For example, a person who is overly dressed for the occasion avoids direct eye contact, and raises their chin when they talk to people might be projecting a false sense of superiority. That arrogance tends to provoke dislike in others.

3. Feeling and hate at first sight

When two people are very different from one another, they often dislike each other from the get-go. However, the opposite could also be true. As the old adage goes, opposites attract. So what determines whether two people with contrasting personalities will get along or not? Well, your mood has a lot to do with it, as well as how the other person positions themselves with respect to the differences.

It also depends a lot on how committed you are to your opinion about a particular subject. If you care deeply about environmental issues, it’s unlikely that you’ll like someone who mistreats it. In some ways, it feels like the other person is mistreating something that belongs to you.

hate at first sight

4. Lack of social skills

There are plenty of wonderful people who don’t have very good social skills. That puts them at a significant disadvantage in a society that values extroversion. Not only that, but it means that they’ll probably make a bad first impression. They just don’t quite fit in. They might be clumsy, or extremely reserved, or simply rude. People who are socially inept have no idea how to form a spontaneous relationship with other people.

People often feel hate at first sight for people with poor social skills. Having a hard time with small talk can turn into a significant obstacle to making friends. It’s important to give socially-awkward people some time so you can see who they really are.

5. They remind you of someone else

Sometimes you wrack your brain to figure out why you don’t like someone, and you come up with nothing. Maybe you know objectively that they are a good person, but it doesn’t matter. It could be that this person reminds you of someone you had a bad experience with. Without realizing it, you’re associating this new person with the other one.

hate at first sight

We aren’t talking about just physical appearance. Sometimes even just a gesture or an accent can trigger certain memories. Little details make you think of another person with negative connotations in your mind. That could mean that you haven’t gotten over what happened in the past or dealt with your emotions and it’s affecting your present.

How many times have you felt hate at first sight and ended up loving the person? It happens to all of us. First impressions can be very deceiving. No one deserves to be loved or hated after just one look.

It’s important to give yourself the opportunity to get to know people more. Do that instead of rejecting them or accepting them based on a superficial interaction.

Editor’s note: In this article, when we refer to “hate at first sight,” we aren’t really referring to hate itself, but rather rejection. We used the expression “hate at first sight” to compare and contrast it with the concept of “love at first sight.”

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Huber, C. (2000). La primera impresión: tu cuerpo habla: técnicas para interpretar los mensajes no verbales y crear una buena impresión. Océano Ámbar.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.