Despite reading The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck multiple times and encouraging myself to do exactly that… not give a fuck, I’ve still found myself being a people pleaser. If you were to ask me, I’d nonchalantly say that I’m not to save face, but for the majority of my life I’ve been a massive over compensator and my need to be liked has often overshadowed my relationships with others. Surprising really considering my infamous resting bitch face that has got me into many a sticky situation. Throughout my adult life I found I was always trying to prove myself and adapt my personality to receive validation from others, which quite frankly is exhausting.
I’ll let you in on something that changed the way I looked at my relationships with others, be it casual acquaintances, work colleagues, someone you once went to school with or your next door neighbour. It’s a simple way of thinking but the kinda the wisdom that comes with gaining an extra year (and a few more fine lines around the eyes). Ready?
Not everybody is going to like you.
Not exactly a revolutionary thought process I know, but a hard fact to swallow, ESPECIALLY if like me you find yourself going out of your way to try and make people like you. From an early age we’re told to be nice, to share, to treat other people the way we would like to be treated with the aim that people will a) like us and if we’re lucky b) be our friend.
There may be a number of reasons why people dislike you. It may be because you have opposing views, you might not have gotten off on the right foot, someone may have entirely the wrong impression of you based on something that so and so heard about you from their best mates neighbour or they may just have a “gut feeling” about you. Sometimes people even have legitimate reasons to dislike you, we’re not all angels after all. Whatever the reason for the dislike, it can be really hurtful and cause a lot of sleepless nights if you allow yourself to beat yourself up and obsess over why they dislike you. Ready for the next part?
It’s totally fine if they don’t.
After all, does it REALLY matter? Ask yourself what impact that person disliking you has on your personal or work life. None? If they have no impact on either, it’s worth deciding why you want to be liked or even respected by this person. If it’s nothing more than your pride having taken a bit of a dent then it’s best to just let go.
Not everyone you come into contact with is going to want to be your BFF (imagine how expensive Christmas shopping would be if they did) and chances are that if they do, you’re probably going out of your way to make these people like you anyway, you little people pleaser.
Hey, I get it! We’ve been pretty much conditioned to MAKE people like us but putting yourself out there time and time again to make someone like you for them to still wanna stick pins in their eyes rather than be your buddy? It just isn’t worth it. Worse than that, the only reason they’ll like you is because of the over compensated version of yourself you’ve put out there, not the authentic person the people that matter see.
When an acquaintance, colleague or someone who has met you once or twice doesn’t like you, yeah it may be a little unpleasant and cause some awkward stand offs in the office, the streets or at drinks gatherings with friends but it’s not going change the opinion of those who do think you’re rad and dope. Now I’m not saying to stick the middle finger up to anyone who doesn’t gel with your sense of humour immediately or go on the defensive but it’s important to prioritise yourself and it can often mean its time to accept the old age dating notion that it’s not you, it’s them.
Disengaging rather than engaging in the reasons why is the healthiest thing you can do to get over it.