We're not sure about you, but we feel like the need to be liked by everybody around us is probably holding us back. Print this out and keep it on your bedside table, stat.
It’s nice to make an effort – if a friend who you care about asks you for a favour, it’s probably worth going out of your way to help them out. But if a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend’s-great-aunt’s-son needs something doing when really he could do it himself, sometimes you need to know when to say ‘no’ – otherwise you’re never going to have any time to yourself. Saying ‘yes’ all the time can open a lot of doors – but saying ‘no’ can help you decide which one you actually want to walk through. (We came up with that analogy all on our own – aren’t you impressed?)
YOU CAN HELP PEOPLE.
Everybody has that friend who’s brutally honest – but whose opinion you trust more than anyone else’s. And who do you go to when you need help? Yep – that’s the one. It’s all very well telling people what they want to hear – and most of the time, they’ll love spending time with you as a result. But if you stop worrying about that, and start focusing on telling the truth, you’ll be the one they call when they really need support.
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
If you’re OK with not being liked, then you can speak up for the things that you believe in, without worrying about the social repercussions. If you’re at your boyfriend’s parents’ house, when his dad starts making sexist comments – you can explain why they’re wrong. And you never know – if you do it articulately enough, you might actually open their minds in the process. On the other hand, you could sit quietly and chew your food and look forward to another three decades of having your Father-in-law talk about how you should never have got the vote. Your call.
YOU CAN LEAVE THE PARTY WHEN IT GETS BORING.
Because the host has passed out on the sofa, the toilet has broken and the tonic has run out – so people are mixing vodka with orange squash. Oh, and it’s only 10:30pm. It doesn’t matter if your best mates want you to stay ’til one, or if there’s somebody en route, who may or may not have once snogged you in a stairwell: you need out. And you need out immediately.
YOU CAN GIVE YOUR EMOTIONS AN OUTLET.
No more bottling up all of your feelings at work, only to explode into a ball of hot rage as soon as you get home. Instead, if your colleague keeps undermining you in meetings, or your manager is ignoring you, you can speak up and explain why you’re unhappy with the situation at hand. Sure, so there might be a few raised eyebrows at the time, but as long as you don’t lose your temper (or at least, as long as you try not to lose your temper), you’ll be able to leave the office at the end of the day, knowing that you were open and honest, and did your best.
YOU CAN COPE WITH SUCCESS.
It’s a sad rule of thumb, but the more successful you become, the more people are probably going to dislike you. Attribute it to jealousy if you want, or maybe it’s to do with the size of your audience, but life at the top of the career ladder has the potential to be tough. From your head teacher at school, to your manager at work, to that girl who you follow on instagram with 13,000 followers, it’s easy to resent high achievers. But if you’re OK with not being liked by everyone, then you know you can cope with this.
YOU CAN PRIORITISE.
Trying to please everybody means that you’re probably spreading yourself thinner than a smear of butter on a Whole Foods sandwich. But if you manage to stop worrying about making everybody like you, then you’ll find it easier to prioritise on a personal level. Yes, so three groups of friends have nights out planned on Friday – but which one would you actually enjoy going to the most?
YOU CAN INSPIRE OTHERS.
Who do you look up to? The people who do everything they’re told all the time, or the people who take a chance and follow their gut and risk upsetting the status quo along the way? Yeaaaah.
YOU CAN WEAR LEGGINGS TO WORK OR PYJAMAS TO THE PUB.
Because who cares if anybody can see your knickers through the cotton, right? Your style is your own – and nobody can ever make you feel like it’s not good enough, because it makes you happy. And that’s far more important than any dress code.
YOU CAN JUSTIFY YOUR LIFE CHOICES.
If you lead an ‘authentic’ life, which doesn’t involve people pleasing all day every day, then at least you can stand by your decisions. If things go wrong, then at least you know you were doing the right thing for yourself at the time, rather than compromising your values to win brownie points with somebody else.
YOU CAN DISLIKE OTHER PEOPLE WITHOUT BEING A HYPOCRITE.
We’re willing to bet you the contents of our fridge that there’s at least one person who you can think of right now who you don’t really enjoy spending time with. As humans, we all have positive and negative personality traits – some of these are going to clash on occasion. Just as you might dislike that girl who laughed at your hair in High School, or secretly rant about the person who sits opposite you at work, somebody probably feels the same way about you. It doesn’t make them bad people, and it doesn’t make you a bad person either. It’s just human nature.