Why People Don T Like Me
When I was in high school, my English teacher would often remind us about how we should all strive to make our writing “interesting” even if what we were saying wasn’t very interesting. In other words, she wanted us to try to inject some interest into our essays so that people might actually want to read them. If someone didn’t like your essay, then maybe there was something wrong with your writing or your ideas or maybe they just weren’t interested enough in your topic to read beyond the first paragraph.
I believe this same idea can be applied to life itself. When you’re trying to do anything at all — write an article, start dating someone new, get a job, go back to school, etc. — you’ll feel as though you need to have people liking what you do or else you won’t succeed. You may also worry that if people aren’t impressed by what you do, then perhaps you’re doing something wrong or not good enough. And if this happens, then, well, who cares?
While the desire to be liked is normal, feeling that it’s necessary that everyone likes you and experiencing anxiety and stress when they don’t isn’t. The reality is that most people are not going to love everything you do or approve of every single thing you do or say. Even if one person does like everything you do or say, there will always be another person out there who doesn’t. This means that sometimes people will dislike you. It’s unfortunate but true.
So why do people dislike you? Why do some people seem to bring down their moods whenever they interact with you while other people remain happy no matter who they talk to or see? There are several reasons why people dislike you, including personality traits (e.g., introversion), personal history (e.g., childhood abuse), past mistakes, current problems, and more. But whatever the reason, here are three things you can do to help improve your chances of becoming less disliked and more accepted by those around you.
1) Be aware of your own feelings toward others. Do you find yourself comparing yourself unfavorably to others? Are you quick to assume that certain people don’t like you simply because they haven’t expressed any outward signs of it yet? These types of thoughts and behaviors can lead to low self-esteem which can further feed your sense of unworthiness. To overcome these tendencies, take time to reflect on your relationships with others. Consider whether you’ve made assumptions about people’s opinions of you without asking directly. Make sure you understand the difference between someone judging you negatively and someone genuinely disliking you. Remember, it’s possible to be judged unfairly by others, but few people could ever legitimately hate you.
2) Become aware of your own negative emotions. Do you tend to overreact to situations where you think people are judging you harshly? Do you overanalyze events and conversations in order to determine if someone thinks less of you than you deserve? Negative emotions such as jealousy, anger, shame, and embarrassment can cause us to act rashly in ways that hurt ourselves and others. For example, many people who experience these emotions become overly aggressive, hostile, competitive, or jealous. They may also react by making derogatory comments about the object(s) of their envy, or by taking actions against the source of the emotion.
If you notice yourself engaging in any of these behaviors, consider using relaxation exercises to calm down. Or better yet, practice mindfulness techniques to increase self-awareness. Try to identify triggers for your negative emotions and avoid them as much as possible.
3) Learn to accept criticism gracefully. One way to boost your self-confidence is to learn to accept feedback from others. Ask questions to clarify what the other person meant. Listen thoughtfully and respond appropriately. As you listen, you may realize that the problem lies within yourself rather than with the person giving you advice. Also remember that feedback can come in different forms. It can be verbal, written, visual, symbolic, gestural, or musical. Some people prefer receiving feedback through silence whereas others thrive on encouragement and praise. What works best for you may depend upon the type of environment you work in.
Accepting feedback takes courage and humility. Most people are afraid to ask for feedback precisely because they fear hearing bad news or criticism. With practice, however, you will gain confidence in your ability to handle constructive criticism. Remember that feedback comes from a place of caring and concern. By practicing compassion and empathy, you can begin to trust that people generally mean well and that they have your best interests at heart.
No one wants to be disliked, but sometimes it’s inevitable. We hope that we never encounter anyone who truly hates us. Yet, as long as we live among others, it’s important to keep in mind that some people will not like us. Accepting this fact can help you deal with difficult interactions in healthy ways.
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