Why do I need everyone to like me?

1 Mar


It really bothers me when people don’t like me. I know it’s impossible that everyone will think I’m an okay person but when someone expresses distain for me for years for no apparent reason, I have to admit, it bothers the hell out of me.

This particular person is on the fringes of one of my places of employment and about once a year he sticks a knife in and gives it a couple of twists. I can’t remember ever having kicked his dog or eaten his special biscuits but I must have. I can’t think of what else I might have done.

Not all mothers get along either. Sure our kids go to the same school and we might wave and say hello when we see each other at the shops but it’s pretty obvious who would love to see you drop dead. Grown ups can be petty too.

I just wish I didn’t get so upset when I’m reminded of those who think I’m a twat. It really leaves me feeling ill and wondering why, wondering what I might have done and worst of all, I put a lot of mental energy into trying to fix it. Talk about trying to fixing the unfixable.

I shouldn’t care what everyone thinks about me. Most people do like me. Why does one person’s stink-eye affect me so badly? And why do I try and win their affection? Why do I care?

Arg! It’s so annoying. Now I know why they don’t like me, because I’m annoying myself with my constant need to be liked!

And you know what else? It annoys me that people who don’t like me can’t hide it well and at least pretend to be nice. Am I not worth the effort? Does their hatred of me cancel out all social graces? Hate me sure, wish me bad luck, chuckle when I trip over but don’t be rude about it.

I used to hang out with some extended family and friends after getting back in touch with a beloved cousin. She and I got along famously and we included each other in all special events from then on. I loved attending her family functions and it was so great to see the rest of the family too.

One day at her house I had just put my baby to sleep in a pram in her lounge room when I went to walk outside and ran smack bang into the clear glass sliding door. Easily done, right? I didn’t even see it. I was sleep deprived due to the new baby and I have to say, it hurt like hell. I was surrounded by concerned relatives immediately and sat down, completely dazed. I was so embarrassed too.

I left the room to check the baby, still holding my nose and when I came back into the kitchen I saw one of my family members nastily informing another family member what had happened to me and then they laughed like evil witches.

I was mortified.

I thought they liked me. There they were, delighting in my misfortune. Do they not have souls?

My beloved cousin was in the room and when her husband came into the room she whispered to him what had happened and he was horrified and filled with concern for me. At least they cared.

But still, it stung to have someone revel in my misfortune and it took every ounce of my strength to stay at the party instead of leave. I’m ashamed to say I made up excuses not to attend their parties for a good year. I had three little children and was stressed and tired. I just didn’t have the strength to deal with a couple of bitches stirring their cauldron.

So, some people don’t like me. Big deal. I suppose it’s not so much that people don’t like me but these particular people are ones I care about. I really like them. I respect them, their work and their efforts and when I think highly of someone, I want them to think highly of me too.

My son asked me why he hadn’t been invited to many birthday parties this year and I gave him a vague answer, reminding him of the ones that he had been invited to. Then I explained that not everyone is going to want to be your friend, so treasure those who are your real friends.

“How do I know if someone is my real friend,” he asked.

“When you hurt yourself instead of laughing they help you and when you are alone they come and sit with you.”

He knew exactly who these people were and named them. I know who mine are too.

Someone once told me that a few years after high school I’d be able to count my close friends on one hand. I thought they were being ridiculous. I had heaps of friends. But my real friends showed themselves pretty quickly when I suffered through long work hours and forgot to call, when I made mistakes and had my apologies accepted and when I reached milestones I had them acknowledged.

Those friends are like family. They are real friends.

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