Someone Doesn’t Like You

“Somebody doesn’t like me.  Shhh!  Don’t tell anyone for it may be perceived to be a comment on my character.”

Why don’t they like me?  I don’t care.  Yes, I do.  Who did they say it to, and why did they say it to them?

When we learn that another has decided to dislike us, we would love (and I do mean LOVE!) to hide behind that pre-teen, righteous banner that trumpets the idea that “we don’t care what anyone thinks!”  We know better now, we know that we care, but we don’t know what to do about it?

HeDoesntLikeYouThe first thing to do is nothing.  Do not change what you do, who you are, or how you speak.  If we bend to the will of the terrorists, they win.  If that sounds like something a pre-teen, righteous warrior might write on a bathroom wall, it is, but once you get passed the exclamation points and swear words of the best potty prose, you do find a germ of truth in it.

Humans are hardwired to adjust to others’ wishes, in our never-ending quest to be liked, but adjusting tends to be counterproductive, for if this person has a psychological underpinning that causes them to dislike us, they’ll just adjust their reason for not liking us accordingly, and they’ll have less respect for us, for adjusting in the first place.

I have often found that taking the opposite tact, and upping the ante on the characteristic they dislike, not only puts an end to this vicious cycle, but it subverts the prejudicial judgement they’ve made.  Most observers find that they respect a person more for not adjusting, and conceding to the hard wiring of human evolution.  This is commonly called the “suck it!” strategy.

The “suck it!” strategy is based on the idea that you’re a likable person.  If you’re not a likable person, and this person’s judgments are corroborated by others, such that it may form something of a consensus of thought, you may want to consider adjusting.   If you are a likable person, however, be who you are to the people that surround them, and group thought will begin to sway them to the idea that all of their prejudicial notions about you may have been incorrect.

Every situation is different, of course, and there have been times when I’ve gone beyond who I am to those that surround this person that dislikes me.  I don’t do this on purpose, but it excites me when someone doesn’t like me, and I’ve never changed in a way that I considered an extension beyond my personality that it cannot be maintained over the long haul.

As for the ‘do nothing’ advice, I’ve often found that with the relative nature of taste that there’s not a whole lot we can do about someone choosing to dislike us.  Most people usually formulate a prejudicial opinion of us before they’ve ever met us.  We’ll know this is the case, if the hand we shake is cocked and loaded with a question like:  “Is it true that you said (or did) this …?”

The base of the word prejudicial is prejudge, and we are making strides in our society to avoid judgment.  We are trying to avoid prejudice, but we are selective in our attempts to rid it.  Chances are, if you are a human being, living in the 21st century, you’re being judged, and prejudged as often as any man in any century, but we don’t discuss such things, lest we be judged, or prejudged, for doing so.

If prejudging people is such an anathema, one would think that the simple act of declaring one prejudicial would be enough to diffuse everything that follows.  What we see instead, are people that get more upset over a prejudicial opinion than an informed one.  As discussed, it’s human nature to care.  It’s quite another to obsess over it.

“I know,” they will say, “but how can she form an opinion of me based on … ”  This sentence is usually concluded with “based on something they heard from a third party” or “based on our brief encounter.”

“They can’t,” I say.  “So, why are you getting so upset about it?” 

If a person knows you well, and makes an informed opinion of you, it can be devastating, but the person that makes a snap judgment of you, based on a couple here and there’s, should be dismissed to whatever degree we can dismiss another’s uninformed opinion. Making a snap judgment, and sticking by that assessment, says more about that person than it does the subject of their preferences.  It makes no sense, but it appears to be endemic to human nature.

What we’re talking about here is psychology, both on a macro and macro level.  The basis for modern day psychology is about 150 years old.  The idea of the study may date back to Ancient Greece, but the incarnation we know today, an in-depth study of the choices that humans make –my preferred definition– is relatively new.

“She only says that, because she’s jealous,” is the fallback position for most of us that have to deal with the fact that someone don’t like us.  It’s a snap judgment that may have more merit, if we attempted to seek in-depth psychological answers about them.

The extent of our knowledge of psychology often begins and ends with that psychology 101 course we took in college, and that course likely focused inordinate attention on the study of dots, swirls, circles, and other such tricks of the mind to test perception.  There is some ontological value in that study, of course, but it just seems like such a waste of time compared to the far more important study of human interaction, and how we can learn the answers to the five W’s of social interaction and psychological warfare.  It seems to me that there is a dearth of understanding of psychology in some, which results in very little desire to dig deep into another’s psychology to understand them better.

If we are going to have some sort of long form engagement with this party, we may want to understand their psychology better.  We should be prepared to be wrong in our assessments for we have an agenda, but we should study them anyway, and adjust our analysis according to our findings.

After our initial analysis of this other person is complete, and all of our adjustments have been made, we may want to focus some of our attention on the third party that was informed by this other person of their decision to dislike you.  It possible that the third party plays no role in this, other than being a third party, but is it possible that that person plays an instrumental role in this other person not liking you.  It’s possible that you may be a perceived threat in the relationship they have with this third party, and they have an agenda with this other person fears you may expose.  It’s also possible that they’re insecure people and they fear that you’re better.  Whatever the case is, it’s possible that you may never be able to entirely figure it out.  It’s also possible that their insecurities are such that they’ve overestimated you, but they don’t want to take that chance.

“I don’t know why,” we’ve all heard others say about others.  “I just don’t like them.”  Perhaps the people that don’t like you are saying these same things about you.  Perhaps they can’t put their finger on why they don’t like you.  They just don’t.

If they do know, they’re probably not going to tell anyone, for that would reveal something about them.  They also don’t want to reveal the exact reason, because watching you flop around like a fish on shore, trying to figure it out, gives them some joy.

All we know is they don’t like you, and we’re all sure that they are rude to you behind your back, and they speak ill of you.  You’re sure they have a reason, and you’ve searched through a million possibilities, but that egotistical part keeps gnawing at you, until you began to believe that it is the only truth possible.  You never did anything to get them to dislike you.  The idea that not everyone is going to like you, is something you figured out in third grade, but there are some that don’t like you for very specific reasons, and they’ll never let you know what those reasons are, because it is so vital to everything that they’re trying to do that they have such a block with it that they won’t be able to think up an excuse that covers for the fact that they live in fear of the possibility that you may be able to uncover the real truth about them.  Very rarely do you receive an unintended compliment so profound that it affects your daily life, and it’s even rarer when it comes in form of a negative vibe.


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