The Fear of Not Being Liked

       Life forces us to be surrounded by people; people who like us, people who love us, and people who make it clear they could care less if your head was stuck in a toilet.  Learning how to deal with all sorts of personalities is part of the journey.  And along the way, we have to learn that we simply cannot please everyone.

Indeed, it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that not everybody likes you, but being yourself and building a genuine support group is better than being a people pleaser.  If you’re struggling with the fear of not being liked, try jumping off the deep end with these three tips.

1. If you want to say no, say it.

Here are your options: say yes to everything that’s asked of you and be disappointed in your mediocre outcome.  Or, say yes to what is within your domain and politely decline the tasks you know you won’t be able to live up to.  If you want to make people happy, be honest.  Saying no might yield a negative response at first, but your colleagues will be grateful for your upfront attitude when crunch time comes around.

2. Ask for opinions to gain perspective

For the longest time, I asked the people around me to make decisions for me, with the hopes that I could impress them and gain some respect.  But what I learned from doing that is that if you succeed, you don’t feel proud for having used somebody else’s idea.  And if you fail, you’re embarrassed and no better off than before.

Your boss, your coworkers, and your family will all respect you more for acquiring various perspectives and using them to come to your own decision.  That way, whatever the outcome, you can feel 100% responsible.  Whether your decision succeeds or fails, people will respect you for being your own person.

3. Stand out

Are you a follower, or a leader?  Followers don’t often gain respect from other followers, or from leaders for that matter.  So in trying to be liked by everyone else, you’re just melting into the status quo; becoming one of the same.  To be truly liked, you need to forget about all the social psychoanalytics, step away from the crowd, and be whoever it is that is calling out to you.  Forge a path for yourself!  Be anything and everything!  When you begin to let go of your fears, you will shine in your own way; you’ll attract like-minded people who respect what you do and what you stand for.

You want to be liked?  Here’s the answer: stop trying.