Santa Maria Sun / Humor
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 10
Mission impossibleGetting some people to like you takes military strategy
BY SHELLY CONE
Every woman has a minor quest that she maybe doesn’t ever think she’ll accomplish but she refuses to give up. For some women, it’s losing that last 10 pounds. For others, it’s finding that perfect pair of shoes, or getting their kids to put the cap back on the toothpaste. For me, it’s getting certain people to like me.
The key here is certain people. See, this need to have people like me doesn’t apply to everyone. I’m not particularly enthusiastically friendly, and I don’t necessarily need everyone to be my friend, but I do get overly concerned with those people who inexplicably don’t want to be my friend. Then, suddenly, I absolutely need to have them be my friend for some indefinable reason.
Of course there are people I don’t like, and I don’t care if they like me back. Then there are people who like me, but because I don’t want them to like me, I couldn’t care less. There are people who don’t like me, and I know perfectly well why they don’t like me—even if it may be for a trivial reason—and that’s cool, too.
Then there are the people who for seemingly no reason at all don’t seem to take to me. Those are the people who end up on my psycho stalker list.
It’s a bit of an obsession with me, and I’ve been that way since I was a little girl. I don’t need everyone to like me, but if I haven’t given someone a reason, then I’m going to plot and discuss and strategize and assume and hypothesize why that person doesn’t like me. Make no mistake, I will be writing a thesis paper on the very fact that that person doesn’t like me and trying to establish a logical reason for it.
Of course it’s not always just the need to know the mysterious “why” someone doesn’t like me. Sometimes, it’s just anticipation of someone not liking me and taking a pre-emptive “friendly” strike.
For instance, Ron and I recently attended a party, and we knew nobody. We sat at a table that was nearly empty and later in the night some late-showing guests arrived and took those seats. I perked up immediately and smiled. Then I realized these people were the type of people you don’t smile at lest they think you are showing some sign of weakness. In short, they were a pretty scary, seemingly dangerous crew—and pretty drunk—and pretty angry.
Whatever they were angry about, I knew it wasn’t about me and I really didn’t want it to be about me, so I pushed my fear aside and tried to make small talk. The scariest of the women looked at me and her lip curled a bit, but she said nothing more. Then later I tried again. Her friend made some drunken small talk with me, but the scary woman ignored me. Finally, by the end of the night, I got her to crack a crooked, stiff, half-smile. I was satisfied.
Ron teased me about it later: “You tried to get the meanest, scariest chick in the place to be your friend,” he said in a way that asked, “What the heck were you thinking?”
I really had no explanation, other than I’d rather she be my friend than to have the meanest, scariest chick in the place not like me.
Maybe the need to get the unfriendly to like me was borne out of some survival mechanism, or some of my peace-keeping ways. During my younger bar-hopping days, I was a pro at making friends with girls who would normally be my competitors while we were all freshening our lip gloss in the bathroom mirror. Long after the need to have every girl in the bar on my side, I’ve retained this obsession to get people to like me or give me a reason why they don’t.
Right now, I’m in all-out Operation Get Her to Like Me. I’ve recently come across an incredibly disinterested person who is in my same friend circle. From the first unreturned hello, it was on, and I am intent on discovering why she is so standoffish. I’ve tried to go out of my way to extend a friendly chat, but usually, something really interesting appears on the sidewalk and she can’t break her eyes away to notice me.
“I practically jumped in front of her to get her attention and say hello, but she only nodded a little and kept walking,” I announced one day at the dinner table. “I don’t even know if she nodded to me or some little tune she had playing in her head.”
“Maybe she doesn’t want to be your friend because you jump in front of her like a psycho, Mom,” Chase said sarcastically.
OK, so maybe he has a point. And maybe, when we happened to squeeze past each other in the grocery store and I stopped to talk and she kept walking, she really didn’t see me. Maybe if she talked to me, I would find she really is in the category of people who I don’t care to have like me. Then again, that isn’t really the point.
Shelly Cone is in constant pursuit of the “why” in life. Send comments to the executive editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.