When People Don’T Like You
“How come people don’t like me?” It’s a question I hear often from my clients as well as friends on occasion. And the answer is always the same — “Because you haven’t found your niche yet.” What they mean by this is that there are certain things about themselves which make them unique or different from others in society.
For example, if you’re an actor/actress, then acting is your niche. If you’re looking at being a writer, then writing is your niche. A painter might have painting as his/her niche while a photographer might have photography as theirs.
The point here is that we all have something special about us which makes us stand out from the crowd. Something that other members of our culture may be able to do but only because we can do it better than they can. The difference between us and everyone else is what separates us into individuals.
But what happens when there isn’t anything unique about us? When we’re doing things just like everyone else does them? This is where we run into problems. Because now we look around and see how everyone else lives their life. We realize we aren’t so different after all.
We’re going through the motions every day. We go to school, work, eat dinner, watch TV, get married, buy a house, have kids…the whole 9 yards. No one stands out anymore. Everyone is the same. So why don’t people like us?
This is actually a very common phenomenon. In fact, it seems to occur more frequently today than ever before. Maybe it has to do with the way we live these days. There’s less time for living. Everything is scheduled down to the last detail. Every waking moment is spent moving from place to place doing things. So we feel disconnected from ourselves and each other.
So let’s say that you’re sitting at home watching television without any particular goal in mind. Then someone comes along who watches the same show you do. They also happen to like the commercials. But you don’t really care about them. You continue to sit back and zone out. After awhile, someone comes up to you and says “Hey man! Do you know what you’re missing out on!” You shrug off their comment and keep right on watching.
Or maybe it’s late at night and you’re walking through town alone. Suddenly, a car pulls up beside you and the guy inside rolls down his window and asks if he could talk to you for a minute. He explains that he saw you walk past his car earlier that evening and he thought that since you were heading in the direction of his house, you’d probably want directions.
You tell him that you weren’t interested in talking to him. He persists, asking you again if you wouldn’t mind taking a few minutes to chat. Now, most people would probably think twice about whether to accept a stranger’s invitation to talk at 2AM. Especially if that person was driving a strange vehicle and looked intoxicated. But somehow, you’re able to brush aside both of those concerns and decide to listen.
He tells you how much he loves baseball and how he used to play professionally. How he came to retire early and move to Florida. He even goes onto explain that he’s been thinking lately about getting involved in real estate investing. He tells you that he knows you’re busy, but thinks that if you took some time out of your schedule, you’d probably find yourself enjoying a new hobby.
Finally, you tell him thanks for stopping by, but you’re tired and you’re headed somewhere. He assures you that he’ll stop by tomorrow morning and give you another chance to meet. Somehow though, despite your best efforts, you end up sleeping at the same spot where he stopped to ask you the questions.
And the next morning when you wake up, he’s waiting for you. As soon as you open your eyes, he starts telling you about his idea to become a real estate investor. He shows you pictures of houses he owns. He talks about the money he made in his former career. All the while you’re trying to figure out why he showed up and kept pestering you.
Why did people suddenly start caring about wanting to spend time with you? Why didn’t anyone bother to approach you until two hours later? Where did this sudden interest come from?
I believe that this is happening because people don’t like you for reasons within themselves. Most times, they don’t even realize it. They simply don’t like you. Period.
Let’s face it, it’s pretty easy to dislike someone. Sometimes it’s because they’re annoying. Other times it’s because they’re rude. Still other times it’s because they’re selfish. Or sometimes it’s because they just plain suck.
If you don’t like someone, then why not tell them directly instead of allowing them to walk over you? Why put up with someone who treats you poorly? Wouldn’t it be better to tell them “No thank you, I’m already taken,” rather than letting them treat you badly knowing that you hate them anyway?
It’s not that you don’t care about others. It’s that you care too much. You love too many things in life and you allow others to dictate how you feel.
Some people are jerks to everyone they meet. Some people are jerks to people they hardly know. Others are jerks to people who are nice to them. Yet others are jerks to people who are nice to them.
What’s important is that you learn to recognize when you begin to fall prey to this kind of behavior. For example, if you notice that you’re giving someone more attention than usual, then perhaps you need to check yourself and see why you’re acting differently.
Sometimes we just need help figuring out why we feel bad about ourselves. We need someone to help remind us that we shouldn’t be feeling so low. Someone to tell us that it’s alright to be happy once in awhile. Someone to guide us gently toward self-improvement.
That’s why therapists exist. That’s why coaches exist. That’s why mentors exist. These are people who understand what it feels like to lose ground in life and will help you regain control. These are people who won’t judge you harshly for your mistakes and shortcomings. These are people who won’t try to change you. Instead, they’ll help you change your circumstances and help you grow into the person you deserve to be.
As long as you stay true to yourself, you’ll find someone who likes you just fine. Once you step outside your comfort zone however, the odds increase dramatically that you’ll encounter someone who doesn’t like you. Someone whose opinion you value. Someone who cares enough to reach out and touch you. Someone who wants to share his experience with you. Someone who understands that you’re human and therefore not perfect. Someone who knows what it’s like to struggle and still chooses to rise above it. Someone who sees your potential and tries to encourage you towards greatness. Someone who believes in you. Someone who likes you.
There’s nothing wrong with you.
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