The Fallacy of Being Well-Liked

            “Well-behaved women seldom make history,” is how the saying goes, right? Well, I believe that the same saying can sort of be applied to the fallacy of being well-liked. It’s awesome to be well-liked. It feels nice, makes people think you’re nice, and can make you think you’re a great person (you probably are, but for the sake of this post, stay with me). In my opinion, this is a trap. It’s a failsafe way to ensure you are mistreated, taken for granted, and, frankly, can condition you to accept abusive words and behavior as the norm. 

            Let me explain. We’ll name our subject Kara. Kara is the kind of person who goes through life like no other. She always has a smile on her face. She drops everything to help others. She is part of multiple social circles. Do you have an issue with Kara? She cries, but she wants to make you like her, so she will make sure to not show whatever side of her you took issue with, ever again. Kara’s dreams? Well, her dreams are nice, and she wants them, but she wants you to like her more. So, if your wants interferes with her dream, she’ll choose your wants. Did you piss Kara off? It’s okay, she’ll never tell you. She’ll take it in stride, and it’ll kill her, but she really, reallywants you to like her, so it’s all fine in the long run. 

            Sound familiar to anyone? It does to me. This was me in college. I felt like I had to do so much to make people be my friend or even think of me. I equated being well-liked with someone who has a lot of friends—and, if we’re being honest, having a lot of friends simply isn’t the move. I also didn’t have boundaries in place to separate friends from colleagues and acquaintances. What this meant is every person in my life got 100% from me. I got burned often, taken advantage of, and became people’s friend of convenience. Cydney wasn’t the friend who people would invite out or want to hang out with regularly, but she was the friend people would contact if they needed a favor or babysitter or someone to proofread/edit their papers. 

            I wish that everyone obsessed with being well-liked would free themselves from that damaging, toxic confinement. You end up sacrificing so many parts of yourself—including your sanity and peace of mind—just so you can say, “I don’t know why you have an issue with this person, they love me!” Is it worth it? Truly ask yourself that. It wasn’t worth it for me, which is why I set up boundaries. I held myself accountable for how people treated me. I know that sounds backwards, but people will only treat you in a way that you allow them to treat you. 

            Also, pay attention to those who come to you and complain about someone you call a friend—especially if it’s about how they don’t honor boundaries or respect a person’s right to focus on themselves. That selfishness has already hooked its claws in you if you’ve conditioned yourself to proclaim that that person likes you, so you don’t have an issue with their lack of respect.

            Being well-liked ‪≠‬ being respected. It doesn’t mean you’re irreplaceable. What it does mean is you have a tendency to be a pushover. And, no matter how heartbreaking it is when you get steam rolled by someone, your desire to avoid conflict will outweigh your right to stand up for yourself and demand to be treated with fairness, kindness, and respect. You deserve justice in this arena. The mindset of allowing the cons to outweigh the pros will kill you. 

            Please take care of yourself. I mean it. Don’t just read this post, think, “Wow, this is me!” and then continue on in that behavior. Take yourself seriously and do right by yourself—you have a responsibility to see to the protection of your whole self so that you can navigate the world and bless them with your many gifts. You do not need to die on a cross for friendship, so be bold, be firm, and be courageous.

            We got this.


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