Inside: Not Everyone Likes You: You Need To Know.
A basic human feeling that most of us possess is that we want to be liked by people and have a sense of belonging. Not everyone we come in contact with necessarily but we want to feel when we walk into a room that people will like us. Unfortunately, I’m here to tell you that not everyone likes you. This is a tough lesson for children to learn.
It’s human nature though. No matter how hard your child may try it’s just a simple fact that some people, for whatever reason, just don’t get along and some may not like you.
As a parent, our first reaction is to try to fix any situation we can. We may coddle the child and tell them everything is going to be alright. The truth of the matter is sometimes you just can’t help. It’s important for every child to have a group of friends or a few that they can count on when things get tough.
Someone who “has their back” and will stick up for them when need be, but you can’t get everyone to like you. No matter how funny, charming, or smart you are sometimes it just doesn’t work.
We’ve all seen an interaction between children where you think, “boy that kid is a real jerk”! Let’s face it most kids can be jerks at times, mine included. Partially because they might not know how to act or the right thing to do and sometimes because they just want to appear to be the tough kid in the crowd.
They think that making fun of another child is the “cool thing” to do. Maybe the other kids laugh and that feeds their ego to continue. Other times your child might try to befriend a new group of kids and it just isn’t working out for them. It’s heartbreaking to witness and worse when it’s your child on the receiving end.
My wife is a staunch believer in tracing the “jerk lineage” backward. 9 times out of 10 you will find they have jerk parents. The kids usually turn out to be just like the parents, the good, the bad and the ugly.
So how do we as parents handle letting our kids know that not everyone likes you?
Not everyone likes you, and that’s ok!
Haters gonna hate and being disliked may not always be a bad thing! As adults, we may face this on a regular basis. Often people don’t like you simply because they’re jealous of you or what you have. Adults do this ALL THE TIME!
If I’m being honest I can’t stand that Kardashians and part of that is because I’d love to be rich from doing nothing. But when I analyze it a bit more the fact is they are doing something. They are branding themselves and making money off that brand. They have done an amazing job parlaying the art of doing nothing into a multi-million dollar business.
Sometimes people don’t like you because you have an opinion that differs from theirs. In today’s “cancel culture” people are fearful of letting others know how they truly feel. Will letting their feelings be known about a presidential candidate slow their climbing the corporate ladder at work or cause them to be fired or looked down on? Nowadays, one person is always offended by what someone else is saying. There’s no pleasing everyone.
Having an opinion is not a bad trait for a child to learn though. After all, who wants a kid that goes with the popular opinion. The world doesn’t need more “yes people”. The world needs more people who stick up for how they feel and do what is right.
The worst thing a child (or adult) can do is change themselves to try to fit in. This doesn’t mean the child should be rude, disobey parents, teachers or law enforcement, or have good manners. These are all very important rules to follow, but don’t let them cave to popular opinion. It may not be the easiest path to take but it is a more fulfilling journey when you live your life as you.
What should we be teaching our kids to do when someone doesn’t like them?
Don’t “try” to get them to like you
In my personal experience, it’s generally a waste of time to try to get someone to like you. It’s just as much of a waste to change to be liked. If it isn’t natural for you to change something about yourself or your child then don’t. You can work to correct bad behavior that may be causing your child to not be liked by others but the child shouldn’t change who they are to fit into a group or with an individual.
Just like in relationships there are “plenty of fish in the sea” to choose from.
Think about who you don’t like
If your child searches hard enough there is someone in their life that they don’t like as well. Ask them if they think that the other child cares at all that they don’t like them. I’d venture to say the answer would be no. It’s impossible to like everyone. If you’re reading this and think right now I bet you can come up with at least 3 people you really don’t like.
You don’t have to “hate” them (as hate is a harsh word) but you just prefer not to be around them. Perhaps they make you feel bad about yourself by putting you down or they’re just negative all the time. Maybe they’re arrogant and boast about all the great things they have that you don’t. The same goes for our children. They’re in similar situations daily.
I’ve always told my children you don’t have to like everyone but at least be a nice person around those you might not care for.
Remember the people who do like you
Remind your children of the friends that they do have and how much those people care for them. The friends that spend time with them. The ones they play with for hours who are always there for them.
Children feel the need to have hundreds of friends and that everyone is their best friend. If you asked my girls growing up who their best friend is, the names would change weekly or monthly. That’s why I find Sweet Sixteen parties to be such a waste. Chances are you’ll spend a ton of money on a party for 100 people who won’t even give your children the time of day when they’re seventeen.
I’m still friends with about 1-3 people who I grew up with through Facebook and texting since we don’t live close to each other. When you get older that you realize that most people have a core group of friends they can count on if they are fortunate.
You do you!
Teach your children to just be themselves and to love themselves and who they are. Teach them to learn from their mistakes and grow and to keep an open mind to people who offer constructive criticism. They should decide on their own what to implement/change or talk with you about it.
If they decide to change something about themselves it won’t happen overnight. It will take time and patience. I’m not talking about a hairstyle or fashion choice but more a decision to change something in the way they act.
It’s a bit of a balancing act which is why you should always have open conversations with your children about their life. However, if it is truly their decision and they stand behind it, they’re being true to themselves and most likely will be happier in the end.
At 50+ years of age, I probably shouldn’t care so much what people think about me. I’m somewhat envious of those who don’t but I’ve also found them to not be the type of people I get along with. Most of the time they can be gruff and have to constantly remind you that “I don’t care what people think about me”. There’s a big difference between being a free-spirit and an ass. I’ll take the free-spirit any day of the week.
How do you deal with a situation where not everyone likes you? Comment below.