How to handle the people you don’t like

I dislike very few people in my personal life. This is a terrible thing.

I give chance after chance to most–often ending up hurt in the end. If I’m unsure about someone, I may still wait in a purgatory of indifference until I can make a full decision about them, often for years. It usually takes a personal assault or a litany of human rights violations before I really, truly dislike someone. At best, I am seen as a wishy-washy “Switzerland” type; at worst, I strain friendships and get caught in the middle of some incredibly tenuous spats. Sometimes I explode, letting the floodgates of my feelings open and my hatred flow out in a concentrated stream towards the rare individual who dares to provoke my ire. It’s not fun. Now do you see why this can be terrible?

I am–horn-tooting time– a nice person. Like, ludicrously nice. Nice to the point where people in my first job disliked me at first because they thought I was faking it. That is, until they were proven wrong by my impassioned dedication to getting my work done and bringing in my own baked goods for everyone to eat. I look for the best in people. I try to be nice. I always try to be honest. I try not to speak too off-the-cuffly. And I give, and I give, and I give.

At the same time, anyone who has spent a decent amount of time with me can also tell you that although I have this ball of exuberant emotion for a heart, I can be awful. My awfulness stems from two things: (1) my profound insecurity with myself and (2) my inability to hide my emotions. Some have referred to the latter as something that makes me “So authentic!!111!@” but ugh–no. It sucks.

I have not been above posting awful subtweets about people with different political viewpoints. If I feel slighted by someone, it’s not unheard of for me to visibly glare at them when I see them, to the tune of “I. Will. Destroy. You.” Sometimes I’ll raise my voice and use bad words at my boyfriend if he does something to upset me, instead of listening to him and calming the crap down. All of this happens because (1) and (2) are facts with varying degrees of inescapability.

That said, I can see why people might not like me.

But I’ll go into that in another post. I say the above because it helps me understand where others are coming from. If I feel like I don’t like someone, I ask myself the following questions:

  • Does this person remind me of a worse version of me? A version of me that carries my negative traits?
  • Do I know all of the facts about this person’s life?
  • Does this person have as many awful qualities as I think they do, or am I making up some of this in my head?
  • Did this person personally hurt me, either intentionally or unintentionally? Have they apologized for doing so?
  • Did this person hurt people I know and/or love? Have they apologized for doing so?
  • Does this person simply have a fundamentally different personality than I do?

And the kicker:

  • Do I spend enough time around this person to actively dislike them?

If you can answer “yes” to most of these questions, I would figure out a way to get away from this person, whether they’re a family member, a friend, a coworker, or anyone else. However, if most of it is concentrated in a “yes” answer to the first question above, this adds an incredibly complicated layer to it all. You may, in fact, need to take the time to further understand this person–provided you have to be around them. In the end, you may better understand yourself.

Although they are few in number, I do have a few people that I actively dislike in my life. I won’t say who, only that they are somewhat powerful forces in my life and will likely continue to be for a while. Because of this, I make efforts to understand them when I can, I show them kindness, and I find ways to at least reduce my time around them. The hardest part is hiding how I feel. I’m sure that these people have seen my death-glare more than a few times, but I make it an effort to stay as kind as possible. If I can offer any one bit of advice, it’d be to stay kind around these people you must be around.

In any event, hope everyone’s enjoying the new year. I’m sure 2017 will bring of bevy of interesting things for all of us to the table. Let me know what you hope to accomplish this year in the comments below!

-H