Not everyone is going to like us, be it in real life or within the virtual world. If there’s any doubt about this, my social media is filled with memes of people from Second Life saying how much they don’t care if other people don’t like them. Which begs the question: If they really don’t care, why post about not caring?
It’s not cool these days to admit we care what another human thinks, and if we do fess up to feeling hurt by the actions of someone else we might have a well-meaning partner or friend declare: “Who cares?” then “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me!” The implication is that if we do feel hurt we’re not as evolved as they are. This is not what they intend when they say it, but it can feel like that to hear it so we often don’t share it.
I notice some on social media who say they don’t care what anyone else thinks also brag about being a b*tch. I don’t think anyone should be proud of being mean, but I actually prefer this to the vicious judgmental people who describe themselves as nice and kind.
Why do the nastiest people describe themselves as nice, and good people often have profiles that make them look like serial killers? I don’t know, but here’s a tip: If you ever see the words “No drama” or “I don’t like drama” in a profile, there’s a good chance this person causes drama. Whatever someone accuses someone else of doing tends to be what you need to watch out for in them. Humans project their own behavior onto others, so compulsive liars do not usually believe others are telling the truth, and cheaters usually think other people are cheating.
Ironic observation: It’s often people we admire who dislike us. We rub them up the wrong way without meaning to. Maybe they liked us at first but then decided we weren’t their bag after all, or maybe they never cared for us from the start.
I can only think of one instance where someone who didn’t like me changed their opinion. At 9 years old this girl thought I was a show-off (I probably was), but then turned out to be the best friend I ever had. That’s the only time!
In general, people who dislike us have their minds made up, and it doesn’t matter if we are nice to them, think they’re a genius, or even make money for them (assuming they’re someone we work with). If we’re not someone’s cup of tea the most we’ll ever get back from them is civility, and they only do this because they need us or don’t want confrontation. We can’t even clear the air with them because they’d just deny anything is wrong, and we’d come off paranoid. Truth is they don’t want us to clear the air.
I’m guilty of hoping to change the mind of someone once. This person started off like they were going to be a good friend of mine, but then turned cold. I tried to figure out why, but they would never admit anything was wrong, and yet their behavior showed things were definitely not the same. What can you do? You can’t apologize for something if you don’t know what you did wrong. At a guess? This person probably realized I was different from the image they had of me in their head – and they preferred the image in their head!
A genuine friend will let us know what’s bothering them so we can work things out, but if it’s someone we don’t have a close bond with it’s not as easy to sort out. That person never truly knew us, doesn’t care, and never did. This may sound like a platitude, but we are better off without people like this and shouldn’t feel hurt by them.
While watching a documentary I heard an FBI agent say something interesting when he was explaining how he caught a killer. To paraphrase it, he said to know what someone is going to do in the future, you need to see what they did in the past.
For some reason, this struck a chord with me in a completely unrelated way.
I realized all this time I’d been thinking if I was nice enough, was an asset, gave genuine compliments, or did my best to be a benefit, I’d eventually win a certain individual over. I didn’t expect they’d be my best friend, but I thought they might drop their wall a bit.
The FBI agent’s words rang through my head though. If a person stopped liking us in the past when we thought we were on our best behavior, why would now be different? If a friend ghosted us before, what makes us think they’ll stick around now? Trying to be nice or even doing things to be good to someone . . . it doesn’t matter! If they didn’t like us before, they probably never will.
That may sound negative, but for me, it was a positive realization because it meant I could stop trying. I believe in the golden rule so I’ll still be nice, but I realize I’ll only ever get the minimum civility back when I am with certain people – if that! If we handed some people a million dollars or gave them a cure for cancer it still wouldn’t matter, and that’s freeing! It almost makes me believe the memes that say “I don’t care what you think” because when it comes to some people, I no longer do.