By Rachel Puryear, Hugging Connoisseur
As the world reopens following the pandemic – and an incredibly challenging year – most people are looking forward to socializing (in person) again and rebuilding their connections. This is helping to again lift spirits for many, and is likely improving collective mental health. By all means, this is great and people should go out and reconnect (hopefully after getting vaccinated, of course.
In reconnecting with the world around you, consider taking the opportunity to improve the overall quality of your connections. Make a point of prioritizing people who value you, and who likewise also prioritize you. Spend the most time with people who value what you have to offer, and who like and love you for who you already are.
People around you fall into three categories, and each makes up about a third of other people. This applies no matter who you are, and what you do. The three categories are as follows:
(1) About one third of other people will just not like you, no matter what you do. Don’t invest time, resources or effort into them; it won’t win them over, and it won’t pay off. Most of the time, you can still coexist peacefully with them (such as in workplaces, or as neighbors), and that is the best outcome. Just never, under any circumstances; depend on them, place your sense of worth in them, put more time/money/resources/energy into them than you absolutely have to. And never put them first, make sacrifices for them, or make them a priority. You are not their priority, and you will never be one. If you voluntarily get into a personal relationship with them, they will typically take everything they can from you, and will quickly leave you if there is nothing left to take from you.
The trick is to identify these people, AND to admit to yourself the truth about them. If you are already enemies with or having nothing to do with someone who doesn’t like you, that’s easy. However, it’s a lot harder when you are close relationship with someone who does not really like or value you – which happens all the time. You might want to believe that this person cares for you, when in fact they do not at all. You cannot save such a relationship. Such relationships can and do continue if people get something they want out of it, but in the long term they are unhealthy if not highly destructive. The only thing you can do is acknowledge to yourself when someone doesn’t really like you, and get out and get far away as soon as you can.
(2) About one third of people will be neutral to you by default, but could be persuaded to like or, or not to like you – either way. Whether or not you want to invest resources and energy into these people, depends upon how much you might get out of it. And they will also be evaluating you based upon what they think they can get from you.
Just remember, though, that even where such a person does cultivate positive feelings for you – which could benefit you quite well in many cases – that their feelings for you will still always be rather conditional. This is why so many relationships seem wonderful for a while, but then turn sour when something goes wrong. There were things that worked well between the people involved, but then an event tested that relationship – and each learned that they liked the benefits of the relationship, more so than the other person involved, and vice versa.
(3) About one third of people will like you, no matter what. These are the people you want to invest the most time and resources and effort in, even though they will probably not demand that you do so as a condition of getting closer to them. These are the people who will have your back, forgive your mistakes, support you when you need it, and appreciate and value you as you already are. We all need such essential people in our lives. You should also being reciprocating their affections and efforts willingly, of course, for it to work well for more than a short time.
One big thing that will keep these people away from you – despite their still liking and appreciating you – is if you are too busy focusing your time and energy on people who don’t like or value you, and fighting a battle for their approval that you will never win. But giving a little to people who like and appreciate you, and investing a bit into them, will pay off much bigger rewards later on. They will tend to give back what you put into them, and more. If you are too busy giving what you have to people who don’t care about you, you will not have enough to give back to the people who are worth what you have to give.
The good news is, a third of people will like you without you having to change yourself, or chase after them. So if you are worried about finding people who will value you as you are, there are already plenty of them out there. It’s just a matter of finding them, and that typically means spending less time with people who will never value you, no matter how much you keep doing to try and please them.
If you have been previously putting a lot of your time and energy into people who don’t really like you, or even who only like you conditionally; maybe the reopening of the world is a good time to reassess such habits. As you start to see people and go to events again, make a point of looking for and giving the better part of your time and energy to people who really like you. For who you are. Without constantly wondering what’s in it for them. And for long term relationship success, you should also feel the same way about them (though it will of course deepen over time).
It’s certainly a task I’ve had to contend with in the past couple of years, as well – taking stock and inventory of who is in my life, who should stay, who should go, and who deserves more time and attention. It’s not an easy task. It can be quite difficult, and counterintuitive – especially if you are conditioned to be a people pleaser, and are still working to overcome that. But at the end of the day, these efforts are totally worth it. There is nothing like having people around you who value you as you are and always will, and getting away from the people who do not and who never will.
Thank you for reading, sharing, and following, dear readers. xoxo