If Someone Didn't Like You... | Giftie Etcetera: If Someone Didn't Like You...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

If Someone Didn't Like You...

...would you rather live in ignorance or know about it?

I'd much rather live in ignorance. After all, unless I was being intentionally mean to the person in some way, their like or dislike is about their taste and isn't personal, and certainly isn't something I can change.

I remember someone once told me (it's one of my loyal readers, so I hope she'll forgive me for posting this...she'll know who she is...but it makes it easier to explain my perspective on something unrelated to her that happened recently) that she didn't like me the first time she met me, but she likes me now. (And it is clear that she likes me now.) And when she told me this, I was actually quite hurt. Not because she didn't like me initially ('cause liking or not liking a person is akin to liking or not liking tomatoes...it's not something you choose)...my problem was that she they thought it was okay to give me that info. In retrospect, my loyal reader was complementing me. Despite a bad first impression, she grew to like me, and that's a wonderful thing. But that didn't make the fact that she told me sting any less. I just thought, if you like me, then why rub in that you didn't at one time? In that instant, I couldn't see the bigger picture or the compliment.

So this week, when a friend revealed that one of his friends (who I only know through him, never see independently, and barely know) doesn't like me, it wasn't that the barely-known person doesn't like me that was the problem. (After all, 1) the barely-known person barely knows me, 2) she and I really do have little in common, as far as I can tell, which is why I haven't sought out her company, and 3) chemistry is what it is...many a nice guy has asked me out, and I said no just based on chemistry.) It's that my friend didn't see the need to protect me from negative information that was useless and that I couldn't change. I mean, surely if I was inadvertantly saying something offensive (ie. mocking a religion that the person held), a friend would clue me in. I could change that. If I was wearing inappropriate clothing (ie. I put on black tie and my friend realizes I must not know the wedding is on the beach), a friend lets you know.

But if you cannot change something, then there is no need to share negative information. Now I'll always hope it is just a chemistry issue, but always wonder if I hurt the barely-known individual in some way. I would never want to or intentionally hurt her, of course, but it's also not appropriate to address it in any way, as I shouldn't, by all measures, even know that she dislikes me. And I have no desire for a relationship with her (and never have, if I am to be honest). So calling to apologize or smoothe things over would be weird.

Instead, I'll now be uncomfortable when I bump into her in public, whereas before, we could just be polite to each other. In fact, that is precisely what we used to do.

I definitely am a strong personality, and I get that some people love that and some people hate that. I'd prefer to be loved or hated over being unremarkable and not considered at all.

But if you or someone you know doesn't like me, well, keep it to yourself. There's no need for me to know.

I will grant each of you the same courtesy. Where I happen to know that two people are incompatiable with each other, I will not bring it up, rub it in, or make a deal of it. I will expect everyone to be polite to everyone else, but otherwise, you don't need to know if someone likes you or not. After all, what would you change? Chemistry? I don't think so.



Stac Cole said...

First impressions mean ALOT. For me, I have to be liked. By everyone. Unless it's a person that I truly cannot stand--and there is only 2 people I have met in my life that I feel that way about. So, I think that I would want to know. I would want to know if my friendly efforts were pointless. And I would want to know if that person wasn't worth my time too. However, it can still be gut-wrenching to know that someone doesn't like you, especially based upon first impression alone.

You have to admit though, you are opinionated and don't hold those opinions back in some circumstances. And some people can't handle that. And that's not something you could, or should, change about yourself. IMO.

Mathochist said...

Yeah, I would want to know, too. It would eat me up, but I still would want to know.

Hope you aren't losing any more sleep over this. There are plenty of us out here who like you enough to make up for this other person!