Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why can't we all just...get along?

I read this morning that 10% of the people we meet will take an instant dislike to us.

I'm appalled! Everyone should just like me! I'm nice and friendly. Aren't I??

Despite the dramatics, cleverly designed to make you think I don't actually care, this concept does not sit well with me.

I like it when people like me. And I try very hard to be receptive: I listen carefully, ask questions that show I'm interested, smile, act politely and mind my body language. I hate thinking that 10 of the people that I've met in the last year don't like me.

I know, I know, it's a personality flaw, and a major indication of my insecurities and low self-esteem, but I'm always going to wonder now, especially when I meet someone new: are they one of the 10%?

Because I've always been a pretty good judge of character. I read people fairly well (or so I thought - I've obviously had blinkers on to the whole 'I don't like you' thing, but that's more denial I think!). I can usually tell if they're going to be annoying, or rude or quite lovely. I'll be on the look out for the hate signals now!

My kids have varying degrees of success with judging someone's character. Samuel, bless him, was just such a nice guy who didn't want to ruffle any feathers or make anyone feel bad. So he often hooked up with unsavoury types. The kind of kids who'd swap him something really lame for something of his (like the bloody kid who duped him out of his game-boy for a stack of footy cards - don't worry, we got them back!), or steal from him outright (like the one who stole his phone, on the pretense of 'having a look'). He learned his lesson though, and had built up a really good group of friends by the end.

Oliver's a little less tolerant. At the beginning of the year, he told me there was a new kid at school and that he really didn't like him. I'd never heard him say anything like that before. Well, this kid was the one that stuck a knee into his injured groin last week. So it looks like he may be a pretty good judge of character after all.

I'd like to think that I'm above making a decision about a person before I've given them half the chance, but the truth is that there have been a few people in my life that I've taken an instant dislike to. It's that whole 'they rub me up the wrong way' thing. For me, it's usually the people that just won't shut up. They are constantly talking about themselves, usually butting in on other people to do so.

I guess we all have things that irk us, and seeing those things in people are probably going to be the trigger for those negative feelings.

Have you ever taken an instant dislike to someone?


  1. Remember that a portion of that 10% will be sociopaths (maybe half?). I wouldn't be too worried if they don't like you.

    There are times when I get a bad vibe from someone or they have an angry look on their face, which causes me to avoid them. If someone seems really tense or tightly wound, I tend to avoid them. Not sure I would call that dislike, just getting out of their way!

  2. I like you!

    I can agree with the instant dislike of a person, I've felt it about a few people. I used to be a "Hate everyone, they can only improve" kind of guy. But I now treat people as I'd like to be treated, then I form an opinion about them after I've experienced them for a while..... Scott D

  3. Hmmm... I have heard aaalll about the boy of whom you speak from Daniel (he even told me of the groin incident which horrified me)!

    Well, I don't fall into that 10%. :) I remember the first time I met you, we had given Oliver a book for his birthday and had written inside it. You lamented that not many people do that anymore and that made me like you instantly :D

    I am socially awkward and absolutely shit at small talk, so I find it quite hard to meet new people. :/ I definitely have all the same insecurities that you speak of.

  4. When you meet Dave Grohl he is going to luuurv you so who cares about the rest!!! Sue E.

  5. Mel's Dad/Sam and Oliver's GrandadMarch 16, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    Dearest Girl,
    As your Dad, I was going to say a whole bunch of things about this post, but I started to get into things that brought up stuff in my own past. Not stuff I am ashamed about or stressed about, but stuff like reactions from other people through my life. A lot of it is in my family story, but for now I'll just leave it 'til I think it through.
    I guess we can't please all the people all the time, but if we did dwell on the negative side, it might just f**k us up. I think however, that "instant dislike" isn't always possible in most cases. Of course the world is full of dickheads that we don't want to bother with, but then if we don't want to be with that kind of person, then we don't need to, do we?


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