As kids, didn’t we all want to be liked and accepted by everyone? I’m sure you can remember how important being popular was in school; how much fitting in mattered.
But if you look at your adult life, you’ll realize that not much has changed. Everyone still wants to be liked and fears being disliked. Being hated by another person is very upsetting, being shunned by a group – devastating.
Why do we care about what others think of us so much? And what should you do when people don’t like you?
As Cavemen, We Were 100% Reliant On Other People
Think back to the Stone Ages. Back then, our ancestors did everything in groups because that was the best way to survive. Hunting in a group meant bigger prey; sleeping in a group meant being safe; living in a group allowed for specialization, the basis of modern society.
Since surviving solo was real tough back then, being kicked out of your group often meant dying. Even if you could survive on your own, the chances of finding a stray female to mate with were low. Being alone meant being unable to survive and/or procreate – the two main functions of any living organism.
As a result – whether through adaption or natural selection – humans evolved to fear being disliked by groups as well as individuals they have any relationship with. To your subconscious mind, getting rejected or kicked out of a social group is just as scary as death.
This is why we want to fit in and be accepted; this is why rejection hurts so much; this is why being disliked by other people is one of the most terrifying things in life.
When People Don’t Like You
As explained above, being disliked elicits the same emotional response as the risk death. This is something we all experience as humans; it’s part of our hardware. The natural reaction is to act in ways that create and maintain good relationships with others.
- We tell others white lies to protect our relationships.
- We stay in toxic, unloving relationships because of the innate desire to others over.
- We want to prove ourselves to others when challenged or slighted.
- We hide our real thoughts if we feel they might be offensive to others.
But in a world of over 6 billion people, does it really matter whether someone likes you or not?
In the stone age, being kicked out of a social group meant death. In 2012, finding new people is easier than ever before. Between the internet, cheap airfare and a huge world population, you’ll always have new people to try your luck with. And even if every single on the planet hates your guts, we no longer rely on each other for day-to-day survival!
If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing. – Margaret Thatcher
If a girl rejects you, there are hundreds of millions of women you can still have. If you lose a friend, you can find a new one. If you get kicked out of a social group, you’ll still fit in somewhere – the possibilities are infinite.
So when a person doesn’t like you, the natural reaction is to make them like you – or get upset. The next time you feel tempted to do either, ask yourself: with a near-infinite pool of people you can socialize with, why bother?
You can put invest a lot of time and effort into winning over someone who hates your guts; true. Or you can ignore that person and make a much smaller effort to meet someone who does like you.
How To Be Loved And Have A Good Life
We’ve all met people who agree with everything we say, are mega-nice to us for no reason, etc. Since they’re so busy winning our approval, they don’t have a chance to show us their personalities and come across as bland.
You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill
Don’t be like those guys (and girls). Be genuine, stand up for what you believe in and express yourself freely. You’ll alienate many people – some may even hate you – but you’ll have the love and admiration of most. People love, the free, the bold and the uninhibited.
Let go of people who don’t like you. Do it before you even meet them by refusing to sacrifice your dignity and power of self-expression self for someone’s approval. At the end of the day, this isn’t the Stone Age – you don’t need to be liked by everyone!
Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind - Bernard M. Baruch
So what should you do when people don’t like you? The answer’s simple: cut them off. Never stay around people who don’t appreciate you. Their presence is poisonous; just by being around them, you’ll become convinced you that you’re unworthy. Stick to the people who like you. The more you do this, the more you surround yourself with positivity and appreciation; it’s a great way to live.
As a cool side-effect, you’ll also find that the people who do like you do so very intensely when you’re unafraid of being disliked. It’s a great way to live; have fun with it.