By Ossiana Tepfenhar
Stop trying to learn how to make people like you.
Once upon a time, I was an idiot.
My idiocy had nothing to do with the number of books I read, nor did it have to do with who I voted for. Rather, all my stupidity dealt with people.
I believed a lot of stupid, stupid things. For the very longest of times, my most idiotic belief was that I could convince people to like me — and that belief applied to friends and
romantic partners, too.
You see, I was a doormat of a person. I believed that if I was nice enough to people, they would like me. I believed that if I chased people enough, they would appreciate my efforts.
It sounds great on paper, doesn’t it? Well, it sounds great but it turns out to be awful.
Case in point: It was my first job in the big city and I was, for lack of a better term, awkward. I was the new kid in town with anime-like clothing, extreme makeup, and an extremely hyperactive personality. The people I worked with, on the other hand, were classic hipsters who basked in the glory of working in
fashion in a major fashion capital of the world.
In my mind, I just knew once they saw how nice I was, we’d be friends. I was already thinking how cool it’d be to have hipster friends, to hit concerts with them, to get cool tattoos with them, and even go out to restaurants with them. I like fashion, I like clubbing, it had to work, right?
All I had to do to win them over was to talk to them and tell them about myself. They’d love me! And if that didn’t work, maybe if I did them some favors, they’d realize how cool I am.
The first week, they all had a group chat where they laughed among each other. I wasn’t invited. Okay, maybe it was because they didn’t know me. I did my work, plus some of their own, and waited. Still nothing.
Well, as days passed, I gave them gifts, asked to join in, and they basically never gave me the time of day. No matter what I did, they didn’t want to talk to me. In fact, they even seemed to take joy in making sure I knew I wasn’t one of them — and that hurt. It hurt a lot .
There were moments where I would leave work, go to the park, and cry my eyes out about it. I didn’t understand what was going on. It’s not like I didn’t have friends; I’m actually pretty darn popular with a lot of people.
This workplace was perhaps the only environment where I didn’t have any friends, and it threw me for a loop. It didn’t make sense to me why they were so exclusive. I had friends who threw really fun parties, I had cool clothing, and I even had hilarious stories to tell them. I knew I was fun… but why didn’t they?
Soon enough, the way they went out of their way to make sure I knew I wasn’t included began to ramp up. It wasn’t healthy for me to work there anymore, and it started to really affect my confidence levels.
After the first couple of months there, my friends were getting legitimately worried about me. I was getting very depressed and it was beginning to affect my overall appearance. I remember sobbing to my friends, “Why don’t they like me?”
Then, one day, a new coworker came in and we ended up hitting it off very well. We began to talk about our coworkers and then things started to really make sense. My new friend, we’ll call her Laura, explained that the reason that they made such a huge show of excluding me these days was because they weren’t secure of themselves. She’d dealt with people like them before and the way they behaved made her feel sorry for them.
She said, “ People like them never appreciate good for good’s sake. They don’t appreciate all you do for them, and they never will. They are the kind of people that feed off of being chased and will only want someone if they have to chase them around. They’re insecure like that.”
And just like that, a lightbulb went off in my head.
I noticed how often they’d make a point of talking about parties around me, then look to me to see if I was going to jump up like a happy puppy. I realized that I was a game to them and that they were using me to make themselves feel better over their bullsh*t. Moreover, it dawned on me how sh*tty they were as people.
Just like that, their spell over me was broken.
I no longer tried to figure out how to make people like me. I began to ignore them, because, really, who wants to be around people who need to hurt others to feel good about themselves?
As days passed, Laura and I ended up making a game of poking fun at the hipster crowd. We felt sorry for them in our own weird way. Their digs got meaner, but we stopped caring. By the time we left our jobs there, they became nothing more than a joke or an afterthought.
The more I talked with Laura, the more I realized what was wrong with people who never seemed interested in befriending me even when I was as nice as I could be to them. Fact is: most people tend to feel weird around people who try to create a friendship with nice gestures because it often seems like there are ulterior motives involved.
Weird as it is to admit, it never dawned on me that I was coming off as fake or desperate until that moment.
Simply put: Being a doormat doesn’t get respect, nor does chasing people around asking them to like you. Doing this is a pretty easy way to make sure that you end up alone. It tends to give people the idea that you don’t really have anything to offer. Some will go so far as to just use people like that because it’s easy to hurt them, much like the crowd at our old workplace.
I stopped chasing people from that day and, surprise, people began to choose me. So, whether it’s something along the lines of love or friendship, learn from my mistakes. Stop trying to learn how to make people like you. Don’t chase; get chosen instead
Originally posted at YourTango