One of the hardest lessons I’ve ever had to learn was that not everybody was going to like me. I couldn’t understand why this would be—I’m smart, funny, and well, likable. Honestly, I would think it’s easier to like me than to not like me. But, my many admirable qualities are lost on some people so that no matter what I do, they’re not a fan.
Now, I could understand someone not liking me if I didn’t like them first. However, there have been instances where I did like them, wanted to be friends, and they did not like me back. You know when you’re at the beginning of a relationship and you put your best self out there in hopes you’ll be able to dazzle that person to such a degree they find you immensely likable, only to realize that you’ve failed and they still want nothing to do with you? Yeah, it hurts and it can shake your whole sense of self to the core.
So, I would try even harder to change the minds of my non-fans.
I was like a comic who was killing it, but instead of enjoying the moment where they had the audience laughing hysterically, they were focused instead on the person who wasn’t laughing at all. The more I tried to get people who disliked me to like me, the more I unintentionally alienated them.
Sometimes you need to be satisfied with being tolerated and let it go.
I had to look at why I felt such a need to be universally liked and why it hurt my self-esteem when I wasn’t. I knew the only person who was required to like me was me, and I needed to be good with the knowledge that not everyone was going to like me.
I’m not everybody’s cup of tea, and neither are you and that’s more than okay. In fact, that’s great because it means we have distinct personalities, original ideas, personal opinions, and our own brands of creativity.
Once you make peace with the fact that not everyone is going to like you, you’ll be surprised how it feels—it’s as if a weight has been lifted off of you, and you feel freer. You no longer have to hide your real personality or try to conform to a more acceptable version of yourself.
Not Everyone Will Like You And That’s Okay…
Here’s what I’ve learned, and what experts say you should do when someone doesn’t like you.
Don’t do anything
If somehow you can change someone’s opinion of you somewhere down the line, great; but if you can’t that’s okay too. It’s a waste of your time and energy to try and make someone like you. “We are all different, no one is supposed to be liked by everyone,” says life coach Vikki Louise. “That’s life. No single person you know is liked by everyone, fact.”
Look at why not having their approval bothers you
Is it only the fact that this person dislikes you, or do you want them to like you for other reasons such as they’re a friend of a friend or someone you admire? Question yourself, and when you find out the answers you seek, try to release your need for them to like you, knowing that you’re leaving an open space for someone else.
Isn’t it funny how often this advice is applicable? Although it may feel personal when someone doesn’t like you, often times it isn’t about you at all, it’s about them. “It may hurt, but you need to accept the fact that not everyone’s going to like you,” says health and wellness expert Caleb Backe. “There are just some people who you won’t vibe well with. Don’t take it personally. It’s not your fault they don’t like you.” Someone may not like you because you share a personality characteristic of theirs and they’re not comfortable with it. Vikki Louise says, “As humans, we project. If someone really doesn’t like you, that means they see something in you that reminds them of something they don’t like about themselves.”
Take back your personal power
When you care too much about what other people think, you hand over control of your own life. You may not behave or say things you normally would because you’re afraid of offending them or making them not like you. It’s much more empowering to be able to guide your own life than give it over to other people.
Just do you
It is much better to have people in your life with whom you can be yourself without pretending to be a better version and suppressing the less flattering aspects of your personality. “If I aim to be a people-pleaser or everyone’s friend, then my time and energy are wasted on those who would never return the effort,” says small business consultant and trainer Candice Beckmann De Riso. “Forget about the people who do not like you and just be yourself. When you are completely and genuinely you, the right kinds of people will want to be your friend.”
When you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you’re able to accept yourself for who you are, and it won’t matter what others think. Christina H. Principe, LMC, DCC, NCC says in regards to being okay with not being liked by everyone, “Self-acceptance is a necessary first. Second is the realization that we are all different and not everything is for everybody.”
Don’t allow your happiness and self-worth be determined by a popularity contest
If someone doesn’t like you, it should have no bearing on your life or how you get on in the world. Your self-worth is determined by the strength of your character, the love you give yourself and others, and the knowledge that you are a work in progress, and are doing the best you can with what you have.
When you say affirmations, you’re focusing on the positive, acknowledging your truth, and creating a space for great change. Affirmations are a healthy way to feel good about yourself and a reminder of how awesome your life is even without everyone’s approval.
Be honest with yourself. Could you be the problem?
You may be defensive or antagonistic as a way to put up a wall between you and other people. If you’re overly negative and critical with others, they may not want to be around you. Being unfriendly and refusing to make eye contact may be sending a message that you have no interest in engaging with others or forming relationships. Margaret Paul, Ph.D. says, “If you have been uncaring, judgmental, withdrawn, or resistant, then it’s time for you to do some inner work to heal your own issues. Others not liking you may be a message that you’re not liking yourself.”
Make a plan
If the person who dislikes you is someone you work with or who you have to engage with on a regular basis, then think about how you can handle dealing with them so it’s not painful for either of you. Is there a way you can limit contact with that person?
If you know someone doesn’t like you, treat them with kindness
When you’re aware that someone dislikes you, your natural response may be to be rude and unkind to them, after all, they don’t like you. However, you’re not a mind-reader, so you have no idea what’s happening in their life or what’s going on in their head. Growth expert Stacy Caprio says, “When interacting with those who don’t like you, treat them with the utmost respect and genuine kindness. Their behavior will be a reflection of them, while your behavior will be the classy high-road, and you will see the benefits of this long-term as well as short-term.
When you practice an attitude of gratitude, you’re able to see how much you have and not the things you don’t have. Acknowledging your feelings of gratitude will help you be at peace with who you are right now and with everything for which you have to be grateful.
Make new friends
If you feel alone and unloved, go out there and meet people. Sometimes as adults we decide that we don’t have enough room in our lives for new friends, but it’s always good to widen your social circle and add something or someone new to your life.
Hang out with those you do like you
Now that you’re not expending a bunch of energy and mind-power on trying to manipulate those who dislike you, you can focus on those who do. When we are with our core-squad, we naturally feel better about ourselves because we feel loved and appreciated. Make spending time with the people you love as part of your self-care.
The best thing you can do is to like yourself and not care who likes or doesn’t like you. There is no way every single person you come into contact with will like you, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. What you can do is make peace with the fact that not everyone is going to like you and the only things that are important are your own feelings of self-worth, self-acceptance, and self-esteem.