You Can’t Make People Love You By Giving Them More Of What They Don’t Appreciate

Opinion 18/10/2021

Sometimes people find it hard to believe that I’m quite sensitive because I’m outspoken and on the radio - but in reality I’m super, super sensitive. I’m especially sensitive when it comes to friends stuff, because I’m a certified people pleaser and I was bullied a lot when I was younger. This means that I’m now constantly plagued by this fear of being liked - interesting job I’ve chosen where my success is judged on how much people like me, right?

To be completely honest, the only place I feel comfortable having an argument is at work or with my husband. Confrontation truly scares the shit out of me. The only reason I can have any confrontation is because I have had plenty of resolved disagreements, so I know it’ll be okay if I don’t take it past a certain point.

My cousin Diane passed away when I was in my 20’s - she was my best friend, my soul pal, the one person I always felt completely safe with. She would never judge me - but would always tell me the honest truth. I miss her so much still that it feels like I’ve been punched in the guts when I think of her.

I’ve passed on this piece of advice she gave me so many times, and I’ll continue to do so til the day I bloody die. One thing I noticed about Di when she was dying, was that things became so clear to her how she viewed the world. She knew what she wanted to spend her very precious time on - and people pleasing (wasting her time on people that didn’t put in as much as she did) wasn’t one of them.

Diane gave me the best advice when I was upset about how I was being treated by a friend, and I wanna share it with you because it changed my life:

Make a list of all your friends. Then get a highlighter. Be super honest with yourself and highlight the friends that make you feel good all the time - the friends who aren’t mean to you, the friends that put in the same amount of effort as you do to the friendship, the friends that you can be truly yourself around.

The friends that are highlighted are the ones you should be spending more time with. The ones that aren’t highlighted are the ones you need to stop wasting your energy on – not because you don’t like them, just because life has moved on. 

When I made this list I was really surprised - some of the ones left unhighlighted were the ones I spent most of time with, the ones that I cared the most about what they thought, some of the highlighted ones were people I was really slack at catching up with. 

I showed Di my list and she encouraged me to make a big change in my life: to hang out with the highlighted more and spend less time with the ones that weren’t. Within a month I was so much happier. What also surprised me was the ones I spent a lot of time with who I started to distance myself from didn’t’ even notice or care, proving that Di’s exercise was correct. 

So, now I shall be your Di. Make this list for yourself, and make the change in your life as well - you will thank me for it later … well, thank Di. It was her idea. 

Side note - if you’re at school and people are bullying you, or your friends aren’t nice to you? Do yourself a favour - stand up for yourself and join another friend group. I had a terrible time at school trying to stay in these groups, living in fear of getting kicked out of the group, being left out. I don’t have that fond of memories at school - it was a big part of why I left at the end of Year 11, and in some ways scarred me for life. Don’t make the mistake that I did -  live to be HAPPY, live to be YOURSELF. Don’t live to be liked by people that don’t deserve your friendship, because you’re awesome and because I’m old and wise now - QUALITY over QUANTITY is where it’s at! 

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