I recently came across and article over at the Huffington Post about the concept of people liking us and why we are afraid that they won’t. I’ve touched on the topic of accepting that not everyone will like me before (you can read that post here), but I received so many comments and e-mails regarding it that I figured I would cover the topic again from a different angle.
In this particular article, Ben Michaelis, a clinical psychologist who regularly blogs for the Huffington Post, focuses on how we as a society are so fearful that people won’t like us, that we miss out on a lot. We turn down opportunities in fear we won’t be good enough, we don’t post that blog post for fear that it will offend someone, or we keep our true emotions hidden in fear that people will think we are stupid/crazy/bitchy/insert negative adjective here.
Let’s be real here; everyone has an innate desire to be liked. We want our boyfriend’s parents to think we are perfect for their son, we want our bosses to think we are worthy of a raise, and we want our peers to like our personalities. So we could say that, in general, we want everyone to like us. No nasty blog comments, no vague tweets tearing us down, no eye rolls from that stranger across the room- life would be great without all of those things, right?
Or is it better for no one to like us? This way, we don’t have to worry about meeting everyone’s expectations. We can royally screw up, say whatever we want and be ourselves 100% and not worry about people liking us.
Ben says neither of us is correct or realistic. He instead suggests that we should abide by the “85% rule”. This rule says, “If about 85 percent of the people you meet like you, you are probably doing something right. If it’s much less than that, you probably not doing enough to get along with others. In contrast, if much more than 85 percent of the people you meet like you, you are probably doing too much to get along.”
I cannot agree with Ben more. In general, I think I am a well-liked person. I get along with pretty much everyone, have lots of friends and bond with strangers (not in a creepy way, though!) But there will always be a handful (around 15% if we’re speaking in terms of this rule) of people who just don’t like me for whatever reason. Think about it- we all come from different backgrounds, have different religious and political beliefs, have different personalities, etc. It’s impossible for everyone to like us, no matter how awesome we really are (and you are!)
He ends the article was a great quote. “Those who truly love you will support you no matter what. Those who don’t, are not worth changing for anyway.” I am printing this quote out and hanging it somewhere to remind myself daily that I am better than that 15% who don’t like me. I am who I am. I’m a brutally-honest, sarcastic, petite young woman. I won’t sugar-coat things for the sake of others, I won’t change my appearance to please someone, and I certainly won’t apologize for being who I am. And I hope you all can follow in my footsteps and do the same.
What do you think of this 85% concept?