"....I can't deny the fact that you like me, right now,Like anyone, deep down, I have always wanted to be liked. I suppose it is survival instinct that makes us strive to be liked. It starts when you are a baby and realize that you are defenseless and need to rely on the big people around you to take care of you. So you begin picking up clues as to what behaviour triggers people to smile and want to do things for you...because they like you.
you like me!"
-Sally Field (accepting an Oscar for Places in the
Now granted, it is easier to be liked when you are a cute little baby and can evoke oohs and aahhs by simply spitting up spaghetti. But as you grow and embrace your true personality, being liked becomes more and more of a challenge. By the time you are 50-something you probably have learned that very few people actually do like you. Or at least very few people like you unconditionally. Even a dog's devotion is based on the level of food in his bowl.
I've grown to believe that people's affection for each other is measured more in tolerance levels than in love. This is not to say people don't like or love other people. It is just that the old adage about familiarity breeding contempt has some merit to it.
I try not to be annoying, but I think it is a lost cause. Because unless you are totally without personality and mannerisms, you can't help but do something that annoys someone. It can be the inflection of your voice or an oft repeated gesture or phrase. Most things that annoy people are unconscious things that other people do. So the only way to make them aware of how annoying something they are doing is, is to tell them. That of course makes them self-conscious and they will be annoyed at you for bringing it to their attention.
It's a viscious circle.
Subconsciously, I think I make comments about people not liking me just so they will reassure me that that is not the case. As with any attempt to assuage self-pity, this ploy seldom works. People either like you or they don't (or you are likable or you aren't). You can't make people like you.
Which comes to my annual reflection on my lack of friends. I wouldn't say I have no friends. I'd say I lack close friends. And I would have to qualify that by defining a close friend as someone who gives a rat's ass about what is going on in your life as opposed to being totally absorbed with their own life.
Facebook friends don't count. Having friends on Facebook is more akin to collecting trading cards.
If I bemoan my lack of friends too loudly, someone will eventually say something about me "having to be a good friend to have a good friend." I will admit that I am not the best at flipping through my virtual roledex and keeping in touch with everyone I know (though Facebook does kind of work like that). But I have had people in my life over the years who I did care about and did make efforts to stay in touch with. And inevitably they would drift off into their worlds leaving me to believe that I had done something wrong or offended them or didn't use the right deoderant. So I was right back at that not so happy place of wondering why I'm not likeable.
I was thinking about my lack of friends the other night and I came to the conclusion that I don't really care. Frankly, with work and my family, I don't have a lot of energy left over for friends anyway. Having friends just obligates you to help people move or give them rides to the airport. And you have to listen to them. Who needs that?
I think I may be able to put my finger on why I don't have many friends.