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When Someone Dislikes You

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What should you do when someone dislikes you?

The first step is simple and obvious:

Get over it.

People sometimes dislike us for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with us.

Maybe we remind them of a bully in high school, or of a woman who rejected them. Maybe they don't like how we dress. Or maybe their personalities and ours simply don't "click" with each other.

So we shouldn't feel bad merely because someone dislikes us. If we know that we're good people, and we try to treat others decently, then it's their loss if they don't like us.

The second step is more difficult, and we shouldn't become obsessed with it. But when people react to us positively or negatively, that's feedback. Sometimes the feedback is meaningless, as when people dislike us for no particular reason. But sometimes it's a clue that we're doing something unhelpful to us.

Notice that I didn't say "something wrong." Our behavior can be unhelpful without being wrong. Maybe we interrupt people too much. Maybe we ignore them when we should pay attention. Maybe we annoy them in other ways of which we're unaware.

For example, it annoys me a lot when sales clerks and other strangers call me by my first name. It feels rude to me. But I realize they mean no disrespect, and that they have no idea their behavior annoys me unless I tell them. If I grimace when they do it, they might ask about it. I've given them feedback. Then they can either change their behavior or not, but at least they've become aware of the issue.

We can do the same when we get feedback. In some cases, the feedback is meaningless. In other cases, it can draw our attention to some behavior that we might decide to change.

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