No one likes you. The dreaded curse lobbed by school bullies with brutal honesty, telling you what no one else had the guts to say. The thing you fear as an adult in social situations where no one will come right out and say they don’t like you, but the frosty smiles and reluctant invitations say it all.
I’m going to tell you what you fear and already know.
No one likes you.
Some people love you, can’t get enough of you. They’re crazy for your attention, time, and praise. Those people adore your company, enjoy your opinions, appreciate your help, and look for ways to help propel you forward too. They want you at the party. They know you would love this movie, or that concert, or the taco place around the corner. They are touched when you remember their birthday, favorite movie, or comfort food. They remember your favorites too.
Some people can’t stand you. When they see you coming down the hallway at work, they detour so they don’t have to talk to you. If you’re lucky, they avoid you. If you’re unlucky, they go out of their way to make life hell. They are the people who heckle from the virtual cheap seats in comment sections. They are the date that ghosts you, the family member who makes cutting remarks, the coworker who attempts to humiliate you.
These groups that love and hate you have that reaction for the same reason: you have been authentic and truthful about who you are. Authenticity polarizes people, just as distinctive sounds, sights, and flavors turn people into fans or foes. And making yourself stand out will cause people to have strong opinions about you.
We flatten our relationships with niceness, refusing to display what makes us unique, brilliant, insiders, outsiders. And that feeds into humanity as a whole, muddying the strange and exciting traits that improve all of us. We do this for the dubious status of being liked, not realizing that noncommittal personalities drain the color from life.
Now that you know no one likes you, you can own your strange, extravagant plumage.
You can risk rejection and gain enthusiastic love.
You can get on with the business of being your undiluted self.