I think one of the hardest parts about life is getting used to the fact that some people just aren’t going to like you. Everyone knows that someone doesn’t like them. Maybe even someones don’t like you. You might know why or you might not. But some people just don’t like you, friend.
You know how psychologists say there are five stages of grief? I think there are five stages of realizing-you-annoy-the-crap-out-of-someone. Here they are.
1. Confusion. Negative comments at weird intervals, offering up unsolicited criticism, going bonkers over your actions whilst ignoring others’ actions … these can be quite bewildering coming from a fellow human being when you’ve never, you know, punched in the face or told they have a gigantic nose or something. This confusion can last a long, long time. Especially if you consider yourself to be quite delightful. (I am delightful, for instance.)
2. Rationalizing . When confusion spurs you to action, you may start to try to figure out exactly what you did to make this person so enraged at the sight of your delightful face. Did you talk about how totally rad the Backstreet Boys are when she camped out for two nights for ‘N Sync tickets? Did you mention your loathing of of comically large hoop earrings the day before she was going to wear her gold ones? Did you step on his toe? If there’s a reason, you’ll find it. Or you’ll invent one. ("I must remind him of a kid in grade school who gave him a gigantic wedgie," for instance.)
3. The Conversation. If you’re really brave, or you’re really neurotic and you just can’t take the tension anymore (either one will work), you might make it to step 3. I would warn you against it, but you’re going to do it anyway, so I won’t waste my breath. Step 3 is asking her for coffee, or stepping into his office and asking if you can close the door. (Closing the door means business.) Then you pour your heart out. "Did I step on your toe? Because I so did not mean to!" The good part about this step is that if you really did offend her in some way, maybe she’ll bring it to light and you all can put it behind you and go purse shopping. But if she is someone who dislikes you because of you, then this step will be frustratingly futile. He’ll pour out his innocent heart and tell you how much he loves and appreciates and respects you and he just has no idea where you got the crazy notion that you make him want to punch the elderly. And you’ll have gotten nowhere.
4. Anger . If step 3 doesn’t go too well, you’re on a very dark road, my friend. Now you’re going to realize you just can’t figure this out. And it’s going to make you angry. What the heck did you do to deserve such scorn? Why won’t he admit that he can’t stand you? And worst of all— if it’s not for a rational reason, how on earth can you solve this issue between you? Step 4 is the worst. You could spend your whole life here, and I think some people do. But moving into step 5 is when you know you’re growing up.
5. Acceptance. I know this is the same as step 5 for mourners, but it’s not plagiarism. Because I thought of it, and then I realized it was the same step for mourners. (That’s how you know). Anyway, step 5 is very, very important. Step 5 is when you have exhausted your investigative skills and you’ve strained your memory for any possible offense and you truly can’t find any. You’ve even gone a little deeper, wondering if you have a problem with her and it’s somehow coming out in your actions, unbeknownst to you. (As we say in the Human Resources world—"everything communicates.") But in the end you realize something very important. She just doesn’t like you. She just. doesn’t. like. you. Something about the essence of you has her angry, jealous, annoyed, whatever. This thought should be freeing to you. Because you’re off the hook. But as it’s freeing, it can be overwhelming as well. Why doesn’t she like you? Aren’t you so likable? Didn’t Mom tell you that you’re the sun to her shine? You think you’re pretty swell. Are you wrong? Does everyone hate you but you, and you’re compounding your dumbness by missing that?
Get over that hump. Because you won’t find a reason, and just like in step 2, you might invent some and start to believe them. And that’s just not productive. For anyone.
Have a sigh, friends. Some people just aren’t going to like you. Be OK with it. If you’ve searched your heart and you’re living like you should be, take it as a compliment. Maybe something pure in your spirit is stirring something dark in his, and it’s uncomfortable. Maybe it’s just old-school jealousy. Maybe she’s just old-school crazy. The other thing to appreciate when someone doesn’t like you is the searching it made you do. Maybe God wanted you to take that opportunity to get to know yourself. When you take that hard proverbial look in the mirror and ask questions like: "Am I a snot? Am I disrespectful? Do I think I’m better than everyone else?" the answers can only help you become better. That kind of searching is a gift.
And be real with yourself here, too—anyone who would let their dislike for you show so fiercely, without there being a rational reason for it, is someone you probably shouldn’t really care about liking you anyway.
Now I’m reminded of a quote from Dennis Miller, regarding Sarah Palin. He said he didn’t know much about her yet (this was a while ago), but he had a good feeling. "I like her,” he said. “She bugs the right people."
Maybe you do too.
Maria is a Human Resources Generalist who lives in Arizona with her super cute husband and puppy. (The husband and puppy are not the same person). She likes to read, run and eat peanut butter. But then again, who doesn’t?