I really don’t know when I started not caring about what people thought of me. Maybe high school. I remember not really belonging to any one group, or click, I just … existed. I feel like I was “friends” with a lot of different people from those clicks, but I never allowed anyone to get super close to me, or really get to know me at all, hence the reason I put “friends” in quotations.
I had a best friend in high school. We have since lost touch. We connected briefly on Facebook but when the Zuckerberg Zombies started playing god and censoring free speech, I disabled my account and haven’t been back.
(Though typing this makes me want to jump on to see if she’s still around. I wouldn’t mind reconnecting, actually).
But other than my best friend, I didn’t really have any other close friends. I kept people at arm’s length. And if we’re being perfectly honest here, I feel like I kept my best friend at arm’s length, too.
I know why I have this …. aversion to allowing people to get close to me. I can really trace it back to two incidents, one I’m not willing to talk about on this blog but the other … was a boy.
I fell head over heels in “love” with this guy when I was in high school. I don’t even know if you could call it “love,” but it was strong, however you want to slap a label on it.
He wasn’t a student at my high school, he had already graduated from a neighboring school so he was older and worked at a Skateland, or whatever it was called back then. I can’t remember if his parents owned the rink but he was like a manager, or maybe he was simply popular because he was cute and all of the girls had crushes on him.
And yet, he expressed interest in me. This was a huge boost to my ego because I was never one of the popular girls. I didn’t belong to their group, but we were friendly, (remember the whole friends with different clicks thing?), so I belonged, but not really. I was one of those people with my face pressed to the glass but never allowed into the store, if that makes sense.
And in a lot of ways, I was perfectly okay with that. But the fact that this cute, popular guy took an interest in me … went straight to my head.
And I fell hopelessly in love with him.
Or so I thought. Or whatever you call the feeling you experience the first time you’re in “love.”
We dated for a while, I want to say weeks, but it felt longer, until I found out he was “cheating” on me with a girl I DESPISED.
I didn’t even try to salvage the relationship. There was no way in hell I was going to grovel at this man’s feet – if he didn’t want me, he didn’t want me.
But I was heartbroken. In fact, I would dare say the experience broke something in me. I’ve always been standoffish my whole life but after that experience? I never allowed anyone to get to close me again.
Even to this day. (Kevin is probably the only human who has been allowed to get to know the real me and even then, there is a deep, dark, part of my heart that I will not allow him access to – I honestly couldn’t tell you why – self preservation, I guess).
I wouldn’t say I’m cold, I have a lot of compassion and empathy for other people, but at the same time, I could give a rat’s ass if someone likes me or not. Well, that’s not entirely true, if I like/respect you, then it bothers me if I feel like I’ve disappointed or upset you, but since I don’t allow very many people to get to know ME, that number is quite small.
The majority of people? Meh.
I don’t say this to brag, I’m not even sure if this is a healthy behavior to subscribe to, but in a lot ways, I feel it’s preferable when compared to people who only want to please others or wear their heart on their sleeves. That must be an exhausting head space to live in. Because people are mean and cruel and can manipulate you into doing something outside your comfort zone, either unintentionally or purposefully.
I guess, if you want to psychoanalyze this, I don’t trust people. Again, I know why I feel this way, I can trace it back to specific incidents in my life, which helps me understand myself a little better and deal with disappointments that come my way. It’s just easier for me not to trust someone and allow them to get close as opposed to opening my heart and having that person betray me and open myself up to feeling vulnerable, disappointed, and foolish.
And before you feel sorry for me, let me stop you right there. I’m GLAD for these experiences and LIKE who I am as a person. Because the alternative breaks my heart a little bit.
I’ve worked with countless people over the years, all sort of personalities. And the personality that I feel the most sorry for, and the most impatient with, are people pleasers.
I TRULY don’t understand people with personalities that can’t handle criticism, constructive or otherwise, people that get upset if someone is harsh with them or clearly doesn’t like them. I don’t understand why anyone would CARE what others thought of them. Now, I get people that you know, love and respect, of course, I’m not completely cold and unfeeling, but strangers??
Why?!? Why does it matter if people you don’t know judge you, or call you names, try and manipulate/bully you into doing something you clearly don’t want to do?
Who cares what these asshats think?
Case in point – masks.
I work in healthcare – I don’t think our mask mandate is going away any time soon, unfortunately, but when we talked about our local city finally, FINALLY, lifting the mask mandate for our city, my coworkers got a little freaked out. I understand that they are comfortable wearing them, and if they want to continue wearing them, okay, but when I mentioned that Kevin and I haven’t been wearing masks for weeks, I got deer-in-headlights looks and gasps of shock.
“Oh. I can’t do that. I don’t want people judging me.”
I feel like this is a common response whenever people are put into situations where they have an option of swimming upstream – making decisions against the majority. I get that it’s difficult and takes courage, but if the biggest reason someone doesn’t want to make a decision is based solely on how others will perceive you? I can’t get behind that.
My response? JUDGE AWAY. I don’t care. You don’t know me. Your judgement is based on your own personal feelings and is not, in any way, a reflection of who I am or what I feel. I don’t give a rat’s ass what you think of a decision that I’ve made for ME.
Now. If this judgement is coming from someone I love and respect? Let’s talk. Tell me why you disagree and let’s break it down, but if you’re a stranger? Or someone I dislike or don’t care to get to know?
I think this is a topic that everyone should think about. I think there might be less sheeple if people accepted the fact that you WILL be disliked, that you CAN’T please everyone, all you can do is make the best decisions for you and your family. There is no one size fits all. There is no my opinion is the ONLY opinion. It’s OKAY if people don’t like you.
This guy is a little too “new agey” for me, but his message is spot on. I like what he says, “allow others the FREEDOM to disagree with you.” This means, it’s FINE if someone disagrees with you and/or makes choices you don’t agree with. This does NOT mean you have the right to jump on the cancel culture train and actively try and destroy his/her life.
How do you respond if someone disagrees with you and/or your choices?
NOTHING. You simply move on with life.
I also like what he says about people that don’t like you are really struggling to like themselves. BINGO. I feel like this summarizes this topic exactly. I’m betting, most of the time, people don’t dislike YOU, they dislike an aspect of you because it’s something about THEMSELVES they don’t like.
“And they can say whatever they want and it only affects them, it doesn’t have to affect you at all.”
If there are aspects of you that you don’t like, take an honest look at yourself and work on it. The more you feel confident on who and what you are, the more you will care less what others think of you and the happier you will be.