Why, as women, do we feel the need to be liked by everyone? Why are our feelings hurt when we aren’t included? Is high school still haunting us?

I won’t get into how society or our upbringings can play a role in our need to be accepted or loved. I will say this, knock it off! I went through this a few months back and reached out to several women who I thought I had offended (who, me?) and offered to grab coffee or connect on a more personal level. The responses I received made me realize that I don’t have to be liked or be best friends with these women. I respected them on a professional level but it did not need to ever move beyond that. Why was that so hard for me to accept?

It came up in conversation again the other day when another (professional/colleague) woman and I were commenting on the fact that we had known each other for over 10 years, but it was never on a personal level. Guess what…we were both FINE with that. We both have an enormous amount of respect for each other professionally, but see no reason for it to move beyond those boundaries.

If you are struggling with the need to be liked, it is basically a disease, break down your relationships in the following ways:

  1. Colleagues: These are individuals that you run into at professional events, board meetings or worked with in the past. You might meet up for  happy hour or sit together at an event, but you are not friends. They do not need to know your life story, unless you are like me and tell everyone you meet within the first 5 minutes of the conversation.
  2. Co-workers: This is where personal and professional tend to blur, we often spend more time with our co-workers than our own families. They know what is going on in your personal life, you have most definitely grabbed drinks outside of work and you are brought together by common circumstances. These people will often exit your life quickly as well, usually for a new job.
  3. Actual Friends: I say actual, because no matter where you are in life, these people will be with you. You don’t have to work in the same place, have the same type of job or worry about being liked by them. They will love you at your worst and support you at your best. Think back on those tough times in your life, who reached out to you? Who made the effort to support you? Who was by your side?

The fact is, no matter what, there will always be people out there who don’t like you. I am abrasive, stubborn, persistent and not shy about my beliefs – that doesn’t sit well with many people and that is ok. Don’t compromise yourself so someone else will like you.

Learning to be okay with that is hard work, but you’ll like yourself so much more for it. And guess what, I like you.

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