Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's Okay to not Like Absolutely Everyone*

Growing up in a small town, everyone knows everyone. The people you know in daycare (before you even hit preschool) are the people you graduate with, and then you go off into the world for awhile. But before that, when you're growing up, your friends are those around you. When I was little there were a few rules regarding friends. I know there's a much longer list, but a couple that stand out now are:
  • Everyone in your class gets a Valentine; everyone.
  • If you were going to have a birthday party you had to invite all of the girls in your class (there was also that rule that you had to have your room clean in order to have anyone over, let alone have a party. Needless to say, I very rarely had friends over because my room was very rarely clean...if ever...)
I must have cleaned my room at least once in my childhood... 
As a kid, these rules were great and wonderfully inclusive, and I appreciate my parents having these types of rules. It's never fun to be left out, and it is so important to show kindness to all. Having worked as an educator in the public schools, I only appreciate this further. Having said that, now as an adult, I'm working on being okay with not having to like everyone.

Let me clarify. I like people. People are awesome. Everyone really does bring something special to this world, and I appreciate that. As I grow into myself, I have realized that I don't necessarily need to be everyone's best friend. In fact, I don't need to be everyone's acquaintance. There are some people whose personalities click and friendship comes easily. There are some whose personalities don't click but somehow the friendship still works. And there are some people who are just not meant to be friends, and that's okay.

It's okay to not like absolutely everyone you meet.*

In my life, both professionally and personally, I encounter a wide range of people. The older I get (and maybe this is the Matlock-and-Antiques-Roadshow-watching, I'm-too-old-for-this 80-year-old coming out in me) the more I find myself thinking “I don't think I'd like being friends with them.” Now, this thought isn't mean, or rude. It's just more self-aware. I am more conscious about bringing positive people into my life because it's the positive people who inspire me. It's the positive people who encourage me. It's the positive people who make me want to be a better person.

*Now, having said all of this, I hope you can read between the lines and know that just because I am aware that I don't necessarily like someone or want to be friends with someone it doesn't mean I am promoting being mean, rude, or inconsiderate. Like I said before, I really do believe everyone brings something special to this world, and everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. It's also important to remember to respect yourself by letting the right kinds of people into your life. I want to spend my time, which is really my most valuable resource, with people who are positive, and I want to be that person for others.

Is this something you've struggled with? How have you found your friendship balance?


Lis said...

I think this is a problem lots of people have. We get ingrained with the idea when we are young that we have to like everyone, but you don't have to. You should be nice to everyone, but that doesn't mean that you have to BE with everyone. Thanks for sharing!

P & J said...

Love this message. Thanks for sharing. Also that picture cracks me up. Please tell me you're the red-headed kid on the right!

Cara said...

Ha! I'm the blonde in the middle (short sleeves and gloves? I was all about the fashion then...), but that was a fun bunch of girls from childhood!