To Be or Not To Be (Liked)

From an early age we learn that it is good to be liked. To be liked by our teachers, neighbors, family members and especially peers. We come to understand that it is important to be found pleasing in the eyes of others and to be someone that they enjoy being around. Therefore, it is basic elementary logic to say that from an early age we ALSO comprehend what it means NOT to be liked.

Whatever your first encounter with not being liked looked like, we have all had one. And it is beyond terrible. It usually happens in the sandbox and it is tear-your-heart-out-throw-it-in-the-sand-and-stomp-on-it awful. But somehow we survive and we wind up surrounding ourselves with the people who DO like us… and we continue on our merry way toward adulthood.

As we age, however, I believe we wind up in one of two camps. The I’m-so-cool-I-don’t-care-whether-you-like-me-or-not camp OR the I-WANT-no-make-that-I-NEED-everyone-to-like-me camp. Unfortunately, my tent is firmly staked in the soil of the latter. And life is harder for people like me. Oh how I wish I could be one of those people who doesn’t give a damn what others think of them.

I am 36 years old and STILL troubled if/when someone doesn’t like me. For example, (yes, this is the whole hopefully-cathartic reason I am writing this in the first place) there is someone in my life right now who just DOES NOT LIKE ME. I have no idea why. What’s not to like? I ask myself this question. You don’t know me. How can you NOT like me when you don’t even know me?

In order to protect myself from further misguided hatred I will not say whether this person is a he or a she or in what capacity they are a “part of my life.”  But suffice it to say that they have made it abundantly clear they have zero time for me as well as ZERO interest in ever speaking to or getting to know me.

This puzzles me.

Please don’t mistake my puzzlement for a massive ego. (Puzzlement? Is that a word? Spell-check isn’t flagging it, so it must be. Cool!) Anyway, I don’t believe—contrary to what my family might tell you—that I am perfect or that the sun rises and sets on me. I just don’t think—to the best of my recollection—that I have done anything worthy of such unsolicited disdain. I’m a very friendly person. I’m a complimentary (though genuine) person, and probably the best measure of all is the fact that I make friends easily and often. Wherever I go.

Joanna plays well with others.

So what the hell then, is this person’s problem? (Heavy sighing) I don’t know. I have asked myself a million times and a million and one times I have come up empty. I guess they just don’t. I have absolutely no clue as to why, but for continued health and happiness (and lower blood pressure) I realize I must let them go. And perhaps… PERHAPS this could be one giant step toward seeking out a plot of land in that OTHER, more-desirable, cooler camp.

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