I Don’t Like You

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“Habits change into character.” Ovid

I hate not liking people, but like my friend Betty said, “Some people are impossible to like because they don’t like themselves. The best you can do is love them, pray for them, and stay away from them.”

Nevertheless, I’ve felt guilty for detaching from unlikable friends, guilty for saying no to their invitations. I remembered my days of being unlikable. I hated being shunned and turned down. Instead of staying away from friends, I wanted to scream at them, “Change,” but I’m pretty sure they’d simply yell back, “Are you free Tuesday evening?”

“To change your life, change your habits.” Unknown

My unlikable friends seem oblivious, and even though Betty assured me the opposite is true, I’ve questioned if I’m the problem. Why do I struggle to find things I like about them? Why am I not eager to get together when they are? Why do I avoid them? Betty said, “They are unlikable and they’re unwilling to change. If anyone changes, they want it to be you, but they’re the ones who need to.”

The guilt resurfaced when a friend opposed a quote I posted online. Written by author and counselor Lucille Zimmerman, it’s a self-care tip that says, “Surround yourself with morally beautiful people. We become like those we hang around.”

My friend who disagreed implied I should hang out with all people, not just the morally beautiful. I defended myself, but then deleted it. I swapped trying to convince her I was okay in exchange for figuring it out for myself. I wanted a resolution to why I felt ashamed posting a quote that says it’s okay to hang out with people I like.

In fact, it’s not just okay. It’s a wise choice that is life-changing and character-building, so what’s up with the guilt?

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Shame Said …

Who are you to pick and choose among friends?

How will this make your unlikable friends feel?

What sets you apart from them anyway?

I wondered what did set me apart. I’ve known there was a difference, at least I hoped so, but I’ve never identified it. It seemed that until I figured it out, I’d be stuck with unlikable friends or guilt or both.

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God Spoke Too

I got my answer in an email I’ve been saving since 2014. In it, I’d sent myself a link to an article. I found it last night while cleaning out my inbox.

In the story “Toxic People Don’t Make Exceptions,” Brianna Wiest distinguishes between friends who are flawed and messy and friends who are difficult to be around.

Brianna says being unlikable (she calls them toxic) is a habit. Most of us admit to sometimes being offensive, but not daily and we’re remorseful afterwards. Unlikable people, however, are regularly offensive and without regret. It’s a habit they hardly notice. And like Ovid’s quote, the habit turns into their character.

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If you’ve grappled like me with setting boundaries and letting go of unlikable friends, I hope Brianna’s article helps you also. None of us are 100 percent likable, but we can practice making it a habit and stay away from those who do the opposite. Our character depends on it, and so does having healthy relationships.

#selfcaringin2017 #whilelovingthepeopleinit

In This Together,
Kim

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9 responses »

  1. From Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    Delilah Lewis, Holly Massey and 14 others

    1 share (Mary Catherine Sargent)

    Peggy New I worry sometimes that I am a toxic person …. unlikeable and mean. But the truth is I think there are some people who just don’t like me …. and some I don’t like. We cannot be all things to all people … and when I have tried this I do become toxic. So yes let’s surround ourselves with those who inspire, make us laugh, comfort and accept us. In doing so we shine a light in the darkness of loneliness.
    Love · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 9:01am

    Kim Henson You aren’t, Peggy New. ❤ And your comment helped me clarify for myself even more what I was trying to say in the post. I'm talking about the five out of 50 friends, online and off, who make me think after our conversations and get-togethers, "Why do I…See More
    Like · Reply · Yesterday at 1:34pm · Edited

    Angie Mojica Kim, I admire your courage in posting this. Now I need to go through my friends list.. 😆😆
    No, really as someone who has always felt like I never fit in anywhere this is an interesting article. As I got older I realized I needed (and still do) to accept my flaws that may push people away, work on them, while at the same time look for like-minded folks who enjoy me, and who I enjoy. Seems harder to find but it's out there because I'm cautious about friend-making, (my own 12 -year old insecurities resurface) whew! Said too much, what the hell?? 🤷🏽‍♀️🤷🏽‍♀️Oh well.
    Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 10:26am

    Peggy New I don't know you but this resonates with me …. well put and true for me too.
    Love · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 11:19am

    Angie Mojica Thank you Peggy 🙂 good to know I'm not alone. 😉
    Love · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 11:35am · Edited

    Kim Henson Angie Mojica, I already said too much in the post, so you better not go anywhere. I need you! 🙂 I thought this may be one that sits here with NO likes and NO comments. When I met you, I automatically liked you and felt comfortable. However, my tendenc…See More
    Like · Reply · 3 · Yesterday at 1:41pm

    Kim Henson Peggy New, Angie's comment is true for me too. She's in my Wilmington writers group that I seldom make it to.
    Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 1:42pm

    Angie Mojica Ditto, Kim. Thank you ❤️❤️ I ain't going anywhere. 😆
    You know this has been an ongoing conversation I've had with God for years. I try so hard, too hard to "make" people like me. It can scare them away. I'll be forty next month and I still struggle wi…See More
    Love · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 2:24pm

    Kim Henson Hahahaha, Angie Mojica. 40? I'll be 60 in November and I'm just now writing about this and convinced (almost) that it's okay to have friends I like. Thankfully God chose many of my dear friends for me when I wasn't looking. ❤ He knew best, but I just had to venture out beyond that. lol. Yep, be kind and pray and stay away. You've got 20 years on me … don't flaunt it. 😉 ha
    Like · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs · Edited

    Angie Mojica 😆😆 I shall aspire to your wisdom fo real. 🙂🙂🙏🏽
    My gray hairs are slowly coming in, I hope I look as good as you when I'm 60.
    Thankful

    Kim Henson Angie Mojica, thank you for being an encouraging friend.
    Like · Reply · Just now

    Mary Catherine Sargent Thank You Kim, Just a subject I needed.
    Love · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 11:32am

    Kim Henson Thanks for needing what I write, Mary Catherine Sargent. ❤ I need you as a reader. It helps so much when I'm putting stuff like this out there. Luv u!
    Like · Reply · Yesterday at 1:43pm

    Mary Catherine Sargent I know the feeling, growing up, of not being wanted, or not good enough.
    Love · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 1:53pm

    Kim Henson Mary Catherine Sargent, too many of us can relate. I'm happy we're finding each other and hanging out.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Mary Catherine Sargent Maybe you & Nancy can come visit Christy & I'll fix lunch & that chocolate cake. OK?
    Love · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Kim Henson Mary Catherine Sargent, I'd love that. ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Elizabeth McNew Great post!
    Love · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 11:38am

    Kim Henson I appreciate it, Elizabeth McNew. I love having you as a friend and reader. ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 1:44pm

    Elizabeth McNew Right back atcha, Kim!
    Love · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 2:08pm

    Kim Henson Thank you. 🙂
    Like · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs · Edited

    Beth Jarrott You can love someone, but that doesn't mean you have to like them.
    Thankful · Reply · 2 · 20 hrs

    Kim Henson Beth Jarrott, I'm thankful for this or I'd be in big trouble. 😉 I hope you're doing great.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 12 hrs

    Christy Young This can be a difficult issue. Sometimes it is easy to set the boundary and move on, sometimes it isn't. Some people are tied to our lives and defining the boundary is more of a challenge. It is still very necessary. Even if we are intertwined with a toxic person in our lives daily, it is our job to set boundaries to protect ourselves. I love that you mentioned praying for them, and also we have to pray for how we interact with them. Great blog Kim.
    Thankful · Reply · 2 · 5 hrs

    Kim Henson Christy Young, it is difficult because none of us wants to dislike somenone. Thanks for stressing boundaries. Those are so important! I appreciate you and your comment. ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 hr

    Delilah Lewis Thank you write great post. 💕
    Love · Reply · 1 · 3 hrs

    Kim Henson Thanks for reading and commenting, Delilah Lewis. 🤓😍
    Like · Reply · 1 hr

    Ruby Sessions Hart This article spoke to me. I feel that the older I get I am become less tolerant and more cranky. Is that a bad thing?
    Thankful · Reply · 1 · 1 hr

    Kim Henson No, Ruby Sessions Hart. I believe it’s a “getting real” thing. I’m the same way. I don’t have patience now for friends who do things like invite me out, tell me they have no friends while I’m sitting across from them, and expect me to tell them they are a good friend and it’s not their problem. I’m smarter than this! 😉
    Like · Reply · 1 · Just now · Edited

  2. More from Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    Kim Kiff · 2 mutual friends
    It is my favorite thing!!😊
    Like · Reply · 3 hrs

    Kim Henson Kim Kiff, what’s your favorite thing?
    Like · Reply · 2 hrs

    Kim Kiff · 2 mutual friends
    That should have been in response to Ruby’s comment. I love aging and having the openness, strength and confidence to make these decisions. I feel no guilt. I speak my mind and choose who I want in my life and how much of them I want. It makes life so much better when you don’t try to pretend.

    Like · Reply · 1 · 42 mins

    Kim Henson Kim Kiff, thanks for clarifying. I thought that’s what you may be referring to, but I was curious and wanted to hear it for myself. I love your comment. It does make life better. So much better.
    Like · Reply · Just now

    Kathy Andros Eckert Okay, Kim Henson, I just read it and LOVED EVERY SINGLE LETTER ON THE PAGE!! I love your transparency and how open and raw you are with your feelings. We live in such a fake society with filters and fake posts that it can be sickening at times. As I…See More
    Thankful · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs · Edited

    Kathy Andros Eckert replied · 2 Replies · 2 hrs

    Lord I donate all my fake friends to you as “burnt offerings.” (in a poster)

    Kathy Andros Eckert Just in case anyone wanted to see it again . . . . .
    Image may contain: text
    Haha · Reply · 3 · 2 hrs

    Kim Henson
    Kim Henson You’re too much, Kathy Andros Eckert! lol. That’s the same as saying you’re invaluable. 😉
    Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs

    Kathy Andros Eckert 😘😘😘😘
    Like · Reply · 2 hrs

    Debbie Johnson This says it all!
    · Reply · 1 · 1 hr

    Lyn Snyder YOU ARE NOT TOXIC!! Get rid of those people!! You are one of the most loving, kind, funny, and special person I know. I love you just the way they are!! We will have to add toxic people to our agenda when we meet🙏❤️😘😍🤔☺️
    Thankful · Reply · 1 · 1 hr

    Kim Henson I’m so grateful for you, Lyn Snyder. ❤ You're a great cheerleader. I get a message from you and I hear "Rah, rah, rah!" Thank you! Our agenda is getting long. We may need a weekend instead of just lunch. 🙂
    Like · Reply · 7 mins

  3. More from Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    #inthistogether #whilelovingthepeopleinit #butyoudontlikethem #lostthatlikingfeeling

    I’m still surprised by quick confirmation. Yesterday I posted a blog post, “I Don’t Like You” that I wasn’t sure anyone would like. I’ll put the link to it in the comment section since here I’m sharing a link to Michael Hyatt’s article about relationships that will drag you down and “me monsters” who typically don’t change. He’s talking about clients and It’s the same with friends.

    Posted “Three Reasons You Can’t Afford That High Maintenance Client” @ Michael Hyatt.com
    https://michaelhyatt.com/three-reasons-you-cant-afford-that-high-maintenance-client.html

    Delilah Lewis, Shannon Hawley Henson and 9 others

    Kim Henson My blog post, “I Don’t Like You.” https://skimhenson.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/i-dont-like-you/

    I Don’t Like You
    “Habits change into character.” Ovid I hate not liking people, but like my friend Betty said, “Some people are…
    SKIMHENSON.WORDPRESS.COM
    Like · Reply · Remove Preview · 3 · May 12 at 11:04pm

    Megan Hunt Dell My belief is that women are much more likely to be taught to ‘go along to get along’ and that our preferences are unimportant. We put up with difficult people because we have been conditioned to care more about how others feel than how we feel — it boils down to self-worth. Difficult people demand accommodation, and they use our self doubt as a tool to convince us that our role in the world is to convenience them. I deal with so so many difficult people (clients, other lawyers, judges), and sometimes I hang up the phone and shout, “I DON’T WORK FOR YOU!” which is a fantastic mantra/reminder to just keep doing what works for me.
    Love · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 7:54am

    Sharon Treacy Carroll I always love your take on life. It is so important to surround yourself with people you like and the article on the high maintenance client is spot on. There is such a power in “no”.
    Love · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 9:41am

    Kim Henson Thank you, Megan Hunt Dell. I could insert your paragraph and it’d explain just as well or better what I was trying to say. I yell in my car. It’s therapeutic. 🙂
    Like · Reply · 19 hrs

    Kim Henson Sharon Treacy Carroll, so important! Most of us know it, but some of us still don’t do it. I’m cleaning up my life like I used to clean houses … should have used that as an example all along. It’s freeing. ❤
    Like · Reply · 19 hrs

    Joel Carter Look for the "sunshine" projects, clients, and friends. Nurture those. No high maintenance, self absorbed negative focused relationship is productive, except as "blessons" to learn from. The real exchange net worth is usually a total drain….A staff member in our company puts it this way "If there isn't any sunshine in a project, let it go" We regularly assess the sunshine factor in new client relationships, and sometimes we say in house, "Aint no sunshine there"
    Like · Reply · 4 · May 12 at 11:51pm · Edited

    Kim Henson That's it, Joel Carter. It's not worth it in business or in our personal lives. I'm like Michael Hyatt though, I give them another chance. At least I have until now. They are charming, so they weasel back in, but there's no real change. I think I've finally learned. #feelingsmart 😉 i like sunshine clients.
    Like · Reply · 1 · May 12 at 11:51pm

    Joel Carter We've tried follow ups with some, but it seems the patterns repeat Kim
    Like · Reply · 1 · May 12 at 11:53pm

    Kim Henson Don't you hate it for them, Joel Carter? John's found the same thing. There are so many wonderful clients and friends out there, though, so why waste time with the few who aren't?
    Like · Reply · 1 · May 12 at 11:56pm

    Joel Carter Right, Kim, and sometimes we try to bring sunshine to them, as a contribution, a gift, but even then often it is still never appreciated. I will say we are surrounded by many nice clients and friends, and are so grateful .
    Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 12:00am · Edited

    Kim Henson Joel Carter, same with friends. Sigh. I had to laugh because a friend posted this about an hour ago on my "I Don't Like You" thread. May the Lord Bless and keep them . . . . FAR AWAY FROM ME! 😉 Funny!
    Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 12:01am

    Jacquie Rowan Gonzalez Had a couple of those in my career… he is so right on…it keeps you from serving your other clients properly, and depletes your confidence and energy. Not worth it.
    Like · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 12:01am

    Kim Henson They're exhausting, Jacquie Rowan Gonzalez. You and John are fortunate to have only had a couple. He's pretty good at reading when it's not going to go well, so he walks away. He says the same as you, not worth it.
    Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 12:04am

    Jacquie Rowan Gonzalez I get better and better with my judgement and with my ability to let go or accept it.. like Joel said…Blessons…haha!
    Thankful · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 12:06am

    Kim Henson Jacquie Rowan Gonzalez, me too! John says, "If I get any better, I won't be able to stand myself." 😉 I'm becoming someone I can depend on.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 19 hrs

    Jacquie Rowan Gonzalez I love that Joel…"If there's no sunshine…" that's a great litmus test!
    Like · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 12:02am

    Joel Carter Thank you Jacquie
    Like · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 12:06am

    Megan Hunt Dell I really like that he considers who he is too because so many writers about business only talk about the client, not the business owner. About a year ago, I realized I had 'collected' a group of needy male clients who were forever displeased – I started with the question of, "what is it about ME that's causing this problem?" I've dumped them (with the exception of 1 who did straighten up and stop being an a-hole) and refused so many more, and my life is infinitely less stressful.
    Love · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 7:46am

    Kim Henson I love this about him too, Megan Hunt Dell. I've followed him for years. Taking a course under him now called "Get Published." He's one of the most trustworthy people in the industry of writing and I believe it's because he's self-aware.
    Like · Reply · 19 hrs

    Lauren Ellison Fox · Friends with Megan Hunt Dell
    Sometimes the best case is the one you didn't take.
    Thankful · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 7:52am

    Kim Henson Yes.
    Like · Reply · 19 hrs
    is
    Delilah Lewis You don't need friends who don't like themselves, unless God was to change them😘
    Love · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 9:42am

    Kim Henson You're so right, Delilah Lewis.
    Like · Reply · 19 hr

  4. I love following your posts Kim~I look forward to them! Thank you for writing (so eloquently) things that I fleetingly think but don’t often take the time to confront. You are inspiring, my friend!

  5. Kim, sorry for the long delay in commenting on your post. A couple random thoughts: I think we are all unlikable to someone or some group, and we tend to stick with those we like and weed out the rest over time. Sometimes we outgrow friends and move on for everyone’s good; what was once likable in our 20s may no longer be likable in our 60s. The friends I’m left with after all these years tend to be those who have stuck by me through thick and thin. We may not agree on everything, and some days I may not like them very much, but I continue to hang with them because ultimately they feed my soul in some way.

    I was also thinking about your post in relation to my caregiving responsibilities to my husband. While I still and will always love him, there are days when I really don’t like him because he acts like such an a________. Unfortunately, moving on from the relationship is not an option–not for me anyway, so I must just focus on loving him and understanding that a person who is profoundly ill and in pain is not the same person I married 41 years ago.

    • Hi Mary, if you’ve posted lately, please let me know. When I finish this comment, I hope I remember to check. Your message makes me miss your writing. ❤

      Sometimes I'm taken aback by how much I like my friends and how much closer I feel to them than I did when we were younger. Some of us go back as far as 5th grade. This overwhelming feeling of love, like, and acceptance is happening with a lot of my friends whether newer ones, friends I've met online, or friends from way back when. Maybe I like myself more? Maybe I've softened? Maybe I'm looking for something different in friendships than before? I don't know, but it feels really special as I grow older to have long lasting and likable relationships. I think this is where my post arose from, the stark contrast between these friends who are kind and ones who aren't.

      I appreciate your perspective on caregiving. None of us know when we may end up in the same place where you are and need wise advice about hanging on.

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