Really, they do. The others are just being human.
First, save for some college training, I am neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist. What follows are strictly opinions, based solely on what has worked for me. I hope that by sharing some personal insight, you will relate and adapt these ideas to your own concerns.
I had an interesting conversation with a publisher friend the other night. Like me, he spends an inordinate amount of time on social media. After explaining that he’s made some online “promises” to Facebook friends that ultimately he couldn’t keep, the rest of the conversation veered to something like this:
Him: They must hate me. I’d hate me.
Me: What was it that you promised?
Him: My anthology. I openly solicited contributors on my page instead of sending PMs. Everyone got excited. I posted for submissions and then turned everyone down.
Me: You didn’t tell me. So you’re not publishing my story either?
Me: You didn’t like any of the stories?
Him: I decided not to publish.
Me: Why not?
Him: They like me here and I didn’t want to tell anyone “no.”
I get the fear, actually. I did something similar two years ago, of which my friend was all too keen to remind me. I didn’t cancel, though. I openly solicited television projects on Facebook for my new production company, accepted nearly 20 of them and … set up two. Of the two, one moved forward.
And that one has yet to air.
Though fortunes may change for some of these projects, I worried about losing the good faith I had earned from my FB readers: 5000 friends, plus nearly 15,000 cumulative followers (between two pages), many of whom were publicly and actively supportive of this effort.
And not much happened. For those who know me on social media, and are surprised by my admission, don’t be. I have a heart. It’s that simple.
My readers by and large understood my heart was in the right place, however, and that mine was a sincere effort to help people get breaks that they would not usually attain. I still work towards that end, but I am currently more prudent in my reach.
My readers didn’t go anywhere, and instead remained supportive.
I was still liked … which should not have been any sort of personal consideration. And yet, it was … though in truth my emotional associations were far more complex.
I didn’t want to disappoint, which made things worse.
Once I realized I couldn’t be all things to all people, and the impact of mutual disappointment would diminish — in varying degrees based on the individuals involved — I learned that self-talk was a highly-effective healer.
Ask yourself the following questions:
“Are all of my decisions in truth influenced by a compulsion to be liked?”
Contemplate the question and then ask yourself, “Why?” or “Why not?”
If truly troubled, derive what works for you from the points below then tweak and remind yourself as needed throughout your day:
“Not everyone will like me and that’s okay. As long as I do my best, I’m fine.”
“It is normal to be disliked. No one is universally liked.”
“Keep those who do like me close.”
“Move on from those who want me to fit their ideals.”
“Beware of self-sabotage.”
“We all have our quirks, and our baggage. I’m no different than anyone in that regard.”
“Listen to criticism. Is it me, or them?”
“Accountability is everything. Follow through on promises.” (In this instance, I admit I sometimes fall short, despite my best efforts. Existing professional and personal obligations, which I usually do not publicly share, have tended at times to become obstacles that have limited my capacity. I’m still working on that balance.)
“What is wrong with a little confidence, anyway?”
The World According to Cliff Clavin
It is all too easy to be a keyboard warrior with delusions of being Cliff Clavin, the “Cheers” know-it-all postman who indeed … knew it all.
Or he thought so, anyway.
Now, it was never quite ascertained precisely where Cliff attained his education. But he was a natural at, what appeared to be, spontaneous wisdom.
Like Cliff, I’ve noticed that many of us who write for the Medium platform tend to be experts in the arena of being human. Regardless of one’s industry of choice, or professional area of expertise, there is something about writing for Medium that encourages introspection and sharing about what it is to be a living, breathing human being.
Flaws and all.
Cliff strived to fit in, to be liked. His insecurities were masked by a know-it-all bluster about anything and everything. Some schools, of course, may call it by another name: “Bullshit.”
I liked him, though, and I reference the character for this reason: He tried too damn hard.
Don’t follow suit.
Some people will like you immensely (and immediately), and they will do so without judgement. Some will not like you at all, regardless of your best efforts. You will never please everybody. If you know your value as a person, and you are not given the time of day by someone you pine for as a friend, then move on and pine for someone else.
Put another way, devote as much time to someone as they do to you.
Case in point: My wife and I went to dinner with a couple we had recently met. We found out later they didn’t care for our company … because at some point during the conversation they assumed we were not wealthy enough for theirs. Months passed. When it was announced in the trades that my wife’s new television program would soon premiere on Amazon Prime, they called to invite us to lunch.
My wife was now a working television producer for the first time. As for the couple? They were dissatisfied CPAs with a family business who told us during our ill-fated dinner that they had tried for years to catch a break in the TV biz.
Do we need them in our lives? You decide.
We’re all human. We’re funky that way. Standards and agendas differ.
So why stress?
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