Re-Evaluating My Likability

I have, for more than a decade, been wary of considering myself liked. In general, this is because I am a very opinionated woman in a sub-culture that does not generally value very assertive women. On top of that, I am a progressive in a very conservative state. In person, I am fairly reserved until I feel that I know someone reasonably well (after all, how many people do we really know) and trust him or her not to take offense at my decided tone of stating my opinions. I am not usually offended by others' opinions — even if they differ from mine — but I know that plenty of people are offended by differing opinions, so, unless I'm blogging, most people find that I keep my opinions to myself. (This is especially true in church.) I am not overly fond of small talk. I don't mind silence, something that makes some people uncomfortable.

As a result, I don't come off as very likable, since I appear reserved, and probably aloof and/or unapproachable, and once I get to know you a little, my manner of expressing myself can seem abrasive to (my husband tells me) most people. I try to do the right thing, I help others when I can, and I attempt professionalism in my business dealings. But I'm not particularly likable. For the most part, I am fine with this. Having large numbers of friends is not important to me. I have a very few close friends who are not offended by me. These folks fall into the small realm of people that I believe actually like me.

Events taking place in the last week, though, have shaken up even my limited perception of my likability. I am not going share what happened, but let's just say that I figured out by accident that someone I thought might like me, at least enough not to take offense at my manner of expressing myself, doesn't. So it's thrown me for a bit of a loop. For the first time in years, I felt feelings that actually made me uncomfortable, and I am not normally uncomfortable with myself, and who I am.

But, since my trust level of how people I know in person view me has taken a major hit, what have I done? Headed off into cyberspace to do a little venting, and share a little more of myself than I would normally show to people that I see every day. Isn't it interesting how that works? I am more comfortable sharing my feelings with a few strangers that I will probably never see than I am with people I interact with regularly. That is one of the beauties of a mostly anonymous forum. I say things I wouldn't normally say. And since this is written, it is possible to work out my thoughts in a way that seems more coherent (to me, at least).

How many others feel the same way?

7 thoughts on “Re-Evaluating My Likability”

  1. I loved reading this (quite) personal entry of yours. Perhaps I enjoyed it thoroughly mainly because it felt like I was reading my life! Though no one has labelled me ‘abrasive’ (I actually have problems asserting myself to non primary-group members, Sociologically speaking), I do have a VERY small group of friends as well and ppl do tend to find me aloof and unapproachable too. I’m very cautious in my interactions, like you described, esp. when I don’t know what those ppl’s ‘orientations’ are.

    It is hard when your sense of trust gets challenged like that. But at the end of the day, we are really just left with our SELVES. I always just try to remind myself that for as long as I know who I am and what I stand for and I’m not really hurting other people, then it should all be fine. I shouldn’t really care if I’m ‘likeable’. It’s all relative anyway and it’s true that we can’t please everyone all the time, right?

  2. P.S. I feel like an idiot writing that very long comment earlier without addressing your last question, haha!

    Yes, anonymity is a beautiful thing and writing like this is great because we get to filter more while almost simultaneously enjoy spontaneity. Does that make sense? We get to say what we want (it’s our blog anyway, our ‘universe’, our ‘air time’) but also are able to think things through and organize our thoughts better. What’s not to love about this technology, right?! ;-))

  3. Miranda,

    So bummed you don’t feel that you are a likable person to everyone. I like you SO much. I can’t tell you how many times in political or financial conversations I have had with family or friends and I refer to your posts as though we are old friends. Perhaps I am more like you in the way you described yourself that I feel we are alike thus I like you!! Sometimes the reason it feels so uncomfortable in those situations and it affects us is because you thought you could express yourself or just be yourself and it was as though you put your guard down or put trust in that person and was surprised by the outcome.

    I very much agree with MANY of your opinions and I think you express them amazingly. You are smart and wonderful. Not that it helps much to hear those compliments from a stranger who just happens to comment on your blog…but hey, a compliment is a compliment!

    P.S. You are more courageous than me. I have so many deep and strong opinions and rarely share on them on my own blog cause I am nervous about what I would hear back from my conservative family and friends – and my blog is even private!!!

  4. Thanks for stopping by, ladies. I’m probably a little more likable online — and even less likable over the phone (I hate talking on the phone).

    Perhaps I feel more liked online because there are more people who agree with me 🙂

  5. I am in some ways in the same boat. I like my opinions, and when I’m pretty sure I’m right, I like to say them. The problem is, we live so that we have to get along with people. Other people need to trust US as much as we need to trust other people. I’m can imagine what ind of situation probably hurt your feelings. I was just thinking about what my second grade teacher said to me when I came bawling to her because someone called me “four-eyes.” (I wore glasses).

    She said, “Is it true? Do you have four eyes?”
    Me: “Sniff sniff, No.”
    Her: “Then what the heck are you crying for?”

    I’ve extended this philosophy as I’ve grown. If what I hear isn’t true, I dismiss it. If it is true, or hurts for another reason, I dig down and figure out why … then change, or once again, put it behind me.

    It isn’t really about what another person thinks of YOU, it is who you are that counts. Sometimes people can give you a reflection on that. Sometimes they just pass a little crap on to you, and you can flush it.

  6. I guess really it’s more about me having to re-adjust my relationship than really being hurt. Now I’m back to feeling like I have to watch what I say, and be reserved with this person again, since it’s someone I have to see regularly.

    But, really, I’m not overly concerned with being liked. But I am concerned with, as you put it, getting along with others in general (whether or not they actually like me). Which means that I have to make more of an effort not to be myself around this person since this person doesn’t like me. :\

  7. Hey Miranda–
    I came across your blog in my web meanderings and I have to say I totally understand what you mean about likability and re-adjusting relationships. Sometimes its altogether painful if you have to see the person repeatedly. (Like at church in my case).
    Anyhow, for what it’s worth, I think you’re one of the most likable and enjoyable people I’ve ever met. I think your opinions, which are pointed at times, give conversation flavor.
    You’re generally passionate about what you talk about, which makes it fun to converse with you. It’s not just yammering on, it’s sharing facts and (can I say it?) feelings.

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