acceptance and tolerance

Acceptance and Tolerance: 5 Best Ways to Know the Difference

Do you want the ability to spot the difference between acceptance and tolerance? These sure-fire indicators will tell you whether your friend group accepts you or only tolerates you.

acceptance and tolerance

If you are a target of bullying and you’ve made a few friends, it can be hard to know whether they really like you or not. As a former victim myself, I’m going to show you the difference between acceptance and tolerance. Also, I’ll use my own past experiences to give you the warning signs you need to watch out for.

You are going to learn about all the good and bad signs you need to be aware of in order to decide whether or not it’s time to walk away and pick better friends.

After you learn about all these indicators, you will be able to spot bad signals when you see them in the future. Then, you,ll be able to walk away without guilt and be more choosy of the company you keep.

The best part is that you’ll be able to avoid the pain fake friends can cause before it’s too late.

This post is all about acceptance and tolerance and the detailed behavioral differences you’ll spot in people who accept and in those who only tolerate you.

Acceptance and tolerance

How do they differentiate?

When people speak of tolerance, you should immediately cringe. Few people find the word very attractive because let’s be real here. The word itself has a rotten smell. To put it bluntly, it sounds downright gross!

Sadly, many targets of bullying are so afraid of being alone that they settle for friends who aren’t friends at all. The people the target associates with may keep the target under the impression that he’s being accepted when, in fact, they may only be tolerating him. And you can tolerate someone without accepting them.

I know a few who assume that acceptance and tolerance mean the same but they don’t.

here’s an example of tolerance

You’re in polite company. The guy sitting next to you, (who happened to scarf three huge bean burritos for supper last night, then put away three eggs for breakfast this morning) covertly eases forth a silent but deadly fart.

You catch the first nauseating whiff. However, you can’t hold your nose nor leave the room without seeming rude to everyone else in the room.

Therefore, you only sit there, trying to keep a poker face, while nonchalantly holding your breath until you’re sure the smell has dissipated. That’s what tolerance is.

Tolerance means that people allow the target to be around but secretly wish he’d go the heck away. And it has a way of seeping through in how they think of the person, how they act around him, and how they behave toward him.

So, what’s the difference between acceptance and tolerance? how do you know you’re being accepted and not tolerated?


1. people will invite you to their social gatherings if they accept you.

On the other hand, if they only tolerate you, they’ll exclude you.
Moreover, you’ll often hear the rest of the group talking about the barbecue or sleepover they had over the weekend. You know, the one that none of them thought to invite you to?

If people tolerate a person, they only permit having them around when there’s no other choice. In other words, they allow the person to be around because there’s no way they can make them go away or say anything without looking like a heel.

When the tolerated person is present, the rest just grin and bear it.

Show these morons you have a modicum of self-respect and walk away. You don’t need them.

2. if they accept you, you will be included in all group conversations.

On the other hand, if you’re only tolerated, you will notice the other members of your so-called friend group communicating with every other member except you.

Therefore, you will feel left out. And, to be brutally honest here, this is how they want you to feel. Why? Because these people are praying to the Good Lord above that you’ll take a hint and just get lost already.

You’d much rather be alone than to be lonely. Alone is when you’re physically by yourself. Lonely is when you’re among people, yet you’re still alone because to them, you don’t exist.

You can be alone but not be lonely and it’s okay to be alone. Realize that if you ever feel lonely and you’re in a group, that’s the time to tell them to go kick rocks and be on your way.

Here are other things to consider:

By continuing to be around people who tolerate you, you only decrease your value as a person. That’s right. Anytime you must crawl behind people who don’t give a crap about you, you make yourself look like you have no other options.

People who see this lose all respect for you and think you’re weak and worse, desperate. Therefore, your value will drop like a meteor!

Moreover, you’ll risk being used and abused.

Any time you’re desperate to have friends, you’ll settle for any crumb of human connection. You’ll be willing to put up with shabby treatment just to keep from being alone.

Users and abusers will take notice of this and hang around only to get something from you. And those who are decent people and would otherwise be good friends will want nothing to do with you because desperation is so off-putting and only repels them.

Tolerance just plain sucks! For both parties!

It sucks for the others because they don’t want you around but don’t know how to get rid of you without looking like jerks. On the other hand, it sucks for you too because you’re in a place you’re not welcome and in a situation in which they will mistreat and even abuse you.

It sucks for everyone involved because the energy in the room is bad. Therefore, anytime a person is only tolerated, everyone feels it.

Tolerance includes resentment.

Put simpler, it’s gritting your teeth, sitting there with contempt on your face, and drumming your fingers until the unwanted person finally leaves. Tolerance makes you feel crappy because it’s begrudging and there’s suffering on the part of the others.

So, your best bet is to head for the nearest door. Do you really want to sacrifice your dignity by continuing to crawl behind people who refuse to see your worth?

3. the difference between acceptance and tolerance: if they accept you, they will stop and wait for you to join them if you lag behind.

Whereas, if your friends only tolerate you, they will never stop for you.

You will feel as if you’re constantly tagging behind and can’t seem to keep up.

Again, if you continue to chase after these chumps, you’ll only embarrass yourself and further erode your self-esteem. If you don’t have respect for yourself, no one else will either. No one respects anyone they deem pathetic.

You need to muster up some pride and stay away from people who make you feel bad about yourself! Begin rejecting them and have nothing more to do with them. Then watch your value rise again and see how much better you feel about yourself afterward.

The Difference between Acceptance and Tolerance is huge!

Acceptance is sitting quietly and letting the person just be. It’s embracing her good qualities regardless of your dislike of him. Acceptance brings an understanding of the person though the others may not agree with them.

But tolerance is hatred turned inward. We accept those we merely dislike. However, we only tolerate people we find disgusting and abhorrent.

With that said, understand that you don’t deserve to be around the people who only tolerate you. Better yet, they don’t deserve the privilege of even being in your presence.

4. if your friends accept you, they see your value and would never talk trash about you… to anyone… period! Also, they would not allow other members to talk bad about you.

 In contrast, tolerance is when other members of the group will voice their hatred of you anytime you aren’t around to hear it or defend yourself.

But you will hear about it later.

If they stab you in the back, it’s time to ditch them. You’d much rather be by yourself than to simp yourself out for people who do not deserve a minute of your time.

5. if they accept you, they will welcome you and make you feel comfortable and at-ease.

On the other hand, if they only tolerate you, you will feel that sickening “elephant in the room” feeling.

Feeling awkward around people is a sure sign that it’s time to bow out gracefully. Understand that this is only your gut trying to warn you about these people. Listen to it!

Realize that there will be people who aren’t worth your time and do not deserve a seat in your life.

Never settle for fake friends who only tolerate you. It’s much better, not to mention healthier, to be by yourself until you meet people who will not only accept you but celebrate you.

This post was all about the differences between acceptance and tolerance to help you to better discern when it’s time to cut ties with people who are only harmful to you.

Related post you will enjoy:

1. Signs of Toxic People: 5 Tell-Tale Indicators

2. Sings of Gaslighting: 7 Signs You Must Know

3. Setting Boundaries: 3 Powerful Practices to Hold Your Ground