Most of us struggle at times with feeling, believing or knowing that we are disliked by someone. We feel as if it says something about us. It bothers our ego that someone isn’t on Team Us and might even keep us awake at night. In this episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I explore the reasons behind our feelings as well as some of the reasons why humans decide to dislike someone.

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Some nuggets from the episode:

  • As a recovering people pleaser, I’m all too aware of how we often prioritise being liked by others even though it’s at our expense. What we don’t always acknowledge though is that when we invest our efforts into pleasing others, 1) it can sometimes come across as being disingenuous and 2) we don’t end up liking ourselves.
  • We tend to feel most bothered about being liked by people who, if we’re totally honest with ourselves, we don’t like them, or when we feel that we’ve earned the right to be liked (even if, again, we don’t like them).
  • When we complain about other people’s behaviour and attitude, a particular sticking point is us believing that because they are behaving in an undesirable way that it must mean that they don’t like us. 

As humans, we like and dislike people for irrational reasons. 

Some of the reasons why people don’t like us…

  • Sometimes people don’t like us for no reason at all, or no specific reason, or for an absurd reason. We don’t have to be or do something for someone to decide that they don’t like us.
  • We’re very different — and they have an underlying belief that differences are wrong. Or, they recognise that we’re too different in terms of values.
  • Sometimes they think that we’re too similar. Or, they dislike an aspect of us that reminds them of something they don’t like within themselves. E.g. Disliking a people-pleasing ‘nice’ guy/woman because it reminds us of our own people-pleasing behaviour in past relationships.
  • Sometimes we remind them of someone, and it causes them to distance themselves, which we feel as their dislike.
  • They’re suspicious of our motives.
  • Maybe they’ve been compared to us (or someone like us) in the past.
  • They mistake our kindness (or something else) for weakness.
  • They’re jealous/envious of us.

Envy and jealousy sometimes highlight where we’re throwing our toys out of the proverbial pram. Sometimes we don’t really want what someone else has, it’s just that now that they have it, we feel that we should too, especially if when it all boils down to it, we don’t really like them!

  • We’ve pissed them off.
  • Maybe we’re in the way of something they want. e.g. A promotion or money from a will.
  • They don’t like people like us.
  • They don’t like who they are around us or how they feel around us.

Maybe some of the reasons we’ve told ourselves about why someone doesn’t like us aren’t true. 

Why does it bother us so much when someone doesn’t like us?

  • Ego. It speaks to that narcissistic aspect of us that we all have. 

I know why I don’t like you, and I’m justified in feeling that way, but I’m a good person. What bloody reason do you have to dislike me?

  • We think that it says something about us when someone that we don’t like also doesn’t like us. 
  • We feel as if it’s OK not to like people when they’re a ‘bad’ person.
  • Being angry about someone we don’t like not liking us is like when we feel angry about not being invited to a party we didn’t want to go to.
  • We feel rejected. Rejection reminds us of all previous rejections. 
  • If we’ve tended to not like people for particular reasons and we feel disliked by them, we’re likely to assume that they’re using the same reasons, even though this isn’t true.
  • We believe that we’ve done ‘all the things’ that warrants us being liked. We believe that we’ve earned the right to be liked and so feel entitled to their like. 

When we base our expectations of others on what we do, this is how we trip into entitlement.

  • Sometimes we convince ourselves that we are disliked by others, not because it’s true but because we are projecting our feelings about ourselves onto them and calling it theirs or because we assume that because they’re not behaving in a predetermined way that ipso facto, they don’t like us. 
  • It bothers us that someone doesn’t like us when we collect attention and likes. Sometimes, it’s not so much that we like a person; sometimes it’s that we like the fact that the person likes us and how that makes us feel. 
  • People like what they like. Us humans can be very clingy and defensive about our tastes and preferences in dating, so it’s easy to see how not all of our decisions about who and what we like and dislike are rational.
  • Our idea of being ‘nice’ and ‘likeable’ and ‘good’ may be very different to someone else’s. 
  • Going along with things to ‘get along’, not speaking up when we need to – these won’t always going to be viewed as ‘attractive’ qualities. 

Moving forward

  • It’s OK to admit that it doesn’t feel good for us not to be liked by someone. We have to recognise our feelings… and then go a bit deeper. 
  • Do we need to keep ourselves awake at night obsessing about someone disliking us? Absolutely not. But the fact that we are is telling us something about our inner state. It’s telling us that something about this experience has stirred up something from the past?
  • What’s the baggage behind it?

It’s not the present situation isn’t hurtful, but what does not being liked by this person remind us of from the past?

  • Sometimes the reason why it bothers us so much that someone doesn’t like us is that now, all of the feelings we buried about another rejection are suddenly coming up full force through this seeming rejection. 
  • We do need to be honest with ourselves and answer the question: Do I really like this person?
  • If we do like this person: Does the fact this person doesn’t want to have a mutual connection with me change the fact that I like them or respect what they do?
  • It might be that we realise that the reason why we like this person (and want them to like us) is that they remind us of someone else whose approval, affection, attention, love or validation we crave. 
  • Expand your idea of being liked. How do you know when you’re liked or disliked? 
  • Which stuff is ours, and which stuff is theirs? If we tend to assume that we’ve done something wrong if someone isn’t in a good mood, this is a strong indicator of our stuff affecting how we feel about us within our interpersonal relationships. Our feelings about being disliked might be more about us not liking us. 

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