Actually, not everyone likes ME. Maybe you are a really awesome person and everyone does like you. If so, good for you!
(Before you read the rest of this post, I just want to make it clear that this is not a cry for help or attention, and I’m not depressed or sad. I have many dear friends and family members who I love very much.)
This isn’t a revelation. I am aware that there have always been people who don’t like me. But it was easier to ignore and/or deny before social media. I was prompted to write this because of a recent ‘unfriending’ on Facebook. I realized I had not seen any posts from this person recently and when I searched by name, the person was nowhere to be found. I am surprisingly not feeling hurt or angry about it. I am at a level of acceptance where I realize it’s OK that not everyone likes me. But, I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a little sting from it, and I have been thinking about it on and off today. I mean, what did I do or say that would make someone want to delete me from their online life? (Let me just mention that this is a person I know & see in real life.)
The effect it had was to lead me to think about personal relationships on a deeper level. As we grow up and become more self conscious about everyone and everything going on around us, it’s natural to want to be liked. The more friends we have, the better we feel, and the more accepted and normal we think we are. Most of us join a clique to feel included as part of a like minded group. When we meet new people, we look for similarities that will bring us closer together. We put our best foot forward, so that people will like us.
Within my group of friends, I act like ‘me’. But sometimes, when I’m around other people, specifically people I have just met, I often find myself acting like someone else. I am a little shy and I don’t open up easily at first. I try to make a snap judgement as to what kind of person they are, and adjust my personality to be what they might expect me to be. I suppose we all do this at times, and it just depends on the situation. I have noticed that the older I get, the less I am doing this, which is a great relief. I am more confident with who I am and try to be ‘me’ in any situation. It’s not right to pretend you’re someone you aren’t so that another person will like you. I mean, do you think my drunk neighbor who plays her music too loud while she sits in her hot tub on Tuesday nights cares what other people think of her? I doubt it. I want to be more like her. I bet she’s having an awesome time. She is unapologetically her. I want to be unapologetically me.
So, back to being unfriended on Facebook. It’s happened before and it will happen again. I can sit around wondering why this person isn’t interested in me, or I can just move on and realize that we weren’t meant to be friends in the first place. Maybe they don’t like my political positions. Maybe they don’t like pictures of my kids. Or my kids stories. Maybe they are jealous that I look like a glamorous supermodel. Who knows?
Before Facebook, it was easy to pretend that everyone liked me. No one was denying my friend requests or unfriending me. I didn’t know that I was excluded from a party or event because I didn’t see a photo of it in my news feed the next day. These things can be very hurtful, but it also makes life more transparent, and I believe that is a good thing. It helps me examine the person that I am and reconfirms or changes my beliefs. I am trying to be my authentic self and if others don’t like that, then it is OK for them to not like me. I don’t want to have to put myself through a filter or worry about what others think of me.
And now, I would like to end with an inspirational quote: It is better to be hated for what you are, than to be loved for what you are not. -Some dude on the internet