The standard in elementary schools nowadays is, if you bring a card for one person, you have to bring a card for everyone. When I was a kid, you brought in valentines for the people who were your close friends, but I understand the challenge that doing it that way presents. There may be children that are left out, or feel isolated by not getting a card or not getting as many cards as their classmates. So, this new practice works well in school. It’s a beautiful tradition that allows everyone to feel included. However, it is not a foundation for life.
I think we take this mentality and continue to apply it even after we become adults, but we will meet folks in this life that are great people, and we still won’t like them. When that happens, we don’t need to try to find ways to justify it. We don’t need to try to figure out what it is about them and about us that doesn’t mix. The truth is, sometimes someone just rubs you the wrong way. And that’s ok.
We don’t even have the capacity to retain relationships with every single individual that we meet. It’s not possible. So if there is someone you work with, or someone in one of your circles who you are struggling to like, guess what? You can work with that person, you can be around that person, and not like them.
Here are are some things to keep in mind when interacting with someone you don’t like:
Be respectful. Not liking someone does not give you permission to be mean. Not liking someone is not enough of a reason to be intentionally unkind or rude.
Find some common ground. If the person you don’t like is someone you have to maintain contact with, for whatever reason, whether you work with them, or they’re a friend’s partner, try to have some small talk go-tos. Find some general topic that you can connect on.
Allow the relationship to be what it is. Don’t feel pressured into inviting them to functions that you are hosting. Don’t force yourself into having to engage with that person beyond what is necessary. You don’t have to do that. Your people are your people and that is ok.
You don’t have to like every version of a person. You may have liked a person at a certain point and end up not liking who they become. That’s ok too.
We feel the need to like everyone because we think it makes us good people. We equate goodness with liking everyone and everything, but not liking people doesn’t make us bad.
There is a quote from Dita Von Teese that says, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” Everything isn’t for everyone.
Who we like is based on our history, shared interests, connection, trauma, all sorts of things. If none of those things are lining up for you with someone, that’s alright. Just because someone isn’t a friend doesn’t mean they have to be an enemy. You can work with someone and not like them. You can be at the family barbecue with someone you don’t care for. It is normal, it is natural, it is totally acceptable to not like people.
Click Bait is a really good thriller series that keeps you on the edge of your seat. On the show a man is abducted. While he is being held captive videos of him are aired online and end up taking a shocking twist. You can watch the limited series on Netflix.
On Mind Body Green Olivia Giacomo wrote an article outlining three simple words to unlock meaningful conversations.
In the New York Times Parenting Newsletter, Misha Valencia offers advice to parents on how to protect their children from online trolls.
When you don’t like someone, how does it make you feel about yourself?
Where did you receive the message that you have to like everyone?
List some folks you don’t like that you have found a way to remain cordial with. What has allowed you to maintain this respectful relationship?
Did something in this newsletter speak to you? Leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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