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Does everyone like you?

Posted by on December 7, 2010

A short while ago a friend of mine was talking about a guy whom we have as a mutual friend (lets call this friend Sam). And my buddy was saying how he really envied Sam because he didn’t know anyone that had a bad thing to say about him.  He is always nice to everyone and everyone thinks he’s a terrific guy. And this is now obviously how my friend wishes the world viewed him.

This has had me thinking for a while now (shocker!).

I really took some time to evaluate a couple things; firstly, how I thought others might view me (which is psychologically proven to be difficult to do), and how I would like to be viewed.

And I decided that having everyone like you would be emotionally exhausting, and tragically boring. I mean we all have opinions, good, bad, whatever… different.  And the more time we spend tending to the sensitivities of those we disagree with and dislike the more time we sacrifice from making our lives better.  I arrived at that conclusion because most people just like people that are like them and share their opinions.  So to have everyone like you, you either have to have a very small group of friends, or act like a politician in all social situations…. or both.

Everyone has such a fear of disagreement. Its too bad, because, as long as we come upon at it honestly (dealing with facts, not heresay or Fox News) is where we truly find our closest allies in life.  But also, sometimes disagreement shines lights on issues that will never be repaired.  At that time, in my opinion, its time to leave these friends in the past like a girlfriend who hates sex. It doesn’t matter how great her veal parmigian tastes, some things are dealbreakers.

For friendships, that could be anything like betrayl, deception, or maybe just a fundamental shift in interests. Childhood friends can easily become adult strangers this way.

We need our closest friends to be the barometers of our rationality, and our breadth of quality friendships is what keeps us in line.

Two extremes:

#1 if you have a rolodex filled with coke heads, a friday night snorting back an 8 ball seems like a great time

#2 if you are raised by devout christians, virginity until marriage seems sensible and noble

Should either #1 or #2 be 80% of the people you engage with, even if the other 20% know better and have logical perspectives to share, if we never engage each other honestly we lose the opportunity to broaden our perspectives.

Rational decisions can only be made once we properly assess the other facts and perspectives available.

The only way this occurs is through engagement. Engaging with people that are totally unlike you, and learning to see what they see. And through these new sets of eyes you will know if the pictures look the same.

If we simply keep our opinions to ourselves and bottle true feelings for fear of rejection, I would imagine life would end up as a perpetual search for commonality in a group of people totally unsuited to your interests.  I see many people rating their friendships on the length established opposed to the quality harvested.  Not to mention, that by creating a homogenous environment you also run the risk of dulling bright spots of who you are.

So why do we put old friendships on life support when its really time to pull the plug?   Unfortunately, I don’t have those answers. Maybe its fear of confrontation, maybe we are afraid to be disliked, I really don’t know.

Some people change, and grow, others never leave the core opinions they acquired in the 2nd grade. Its hard to force yourself to read See Spot Run again once you’ve taken the time to understand Dorian Gray.

I think that’s certainly one thing my 30s are teaching me, that time is precious.

So either you’re spending time with those you enjoy speaking with and appreciate, or you’re wasting it on people you don’t really care for and continue pretending there’s a good reason for it.

I guess at the end of the day, if the majority of people I’ve met view me as interesting, honest, genuine, and I’ve put more smiles on their faces than frowns… that would be good enough for me.

Its about 4am and that’s all I can muster for now…. and like I always say, I reserve the right to change my opinion as new information may present itself.   😉

Feel free to comment below…

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