Think of yourself as an inkblot
The inkblot consists of patterns where you have to explain what you see. What a person sees says more about them than it does about the inkblot.
The same thing is true interpersonally. The qualities that make you likeable to one person will make you unlikable to another person. Research shows that people like other people with personalities most similar to their own. You can't control the preferences of the other person.
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Many people go through life desiring everyone to like them - not just a boss or a co-worker but strangers - the customer-service reps, cab drivers, or people in the grocery store.
Just telling yourself, it doesn't matter if the others like you is bad advice. You know it doesn't affect your life on an intellectual level whether this stranger thinks you're wonderful, but that doesn't stop you from wanting them to.
Put yourself in the context of the whole world. Imagine spending a week interacting with all 7 billion people on the planet. Then consider what percentage of those people would say that you're generally a likeable person.
For example, thinking that around 70 percent of people would like you means 30 percent wouldn't. That means out of 7 billion people, 2.1 billion wouldn't like you. That is a lot of people. You're going to be disliked. That means shrug it off and move on.
We all have some problematic thought patterns that we are unaware of.
The key is to figure out which ones apply to you. Consider which assumptions do you have about yourself that skewed your perception of what happened.
When someone comes across as neither obviously friendly nor overly hostile, most people will find it difficult to read them accurately.
That means many neutral encounters end up being perceived as negative ones. People who are sensitive to rejection may assume other people will shut them out. Recognizing our own skewed perception of the world is a first step toward solving it. With classic cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, we can learn to reinterpret other people's behaviour.
Many factors influence how someone might feel about you.
Someone might be having a bad day, or they may be distracted by their workload. All are aspects beyond your control. The factors may influence how people respond to you, but they're not about you.
“We want to be liked, or at least accepted by other people, In order to not break these norms, we sometimes act like we’re treading on eggshells.”
The only icebreaker question that'll work every single time: Tell me about yourself.
It is more effective than "So what do you do?" Posing a broad question lets people lead you to who they are.
Our modern lives are only made stable by a surprisingly fragile configuration of routines. When one or more parts is broken, problems appear everywhere. And even the most bland adjustment could throw things off.
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