You know how sometimes you get this feeling that you really don’t like someone and perhaps you feel like he or she is phony? And then something happens to reveal something about them that puts all the pieces together and sheds new light on their behavior – and you realize that that sense of dislike was really just your radar telling you that that person was putting up a front and not being himself? Yeah. When you are not yourself – you are often less likeable.
I recognize that there are plenty of times when I am myself and am still not likeable, but then it is really a matter of not getting along or seeing eye to eye. That’s fine. Not everyone is going to get along and like each other. But if you want to have the best chance of putting your best foot forward – in personal or professional relationships, you are going to have to be yourself. (Maybe with a layer of diplomacy baked in, but still – yourself, with your own ideas, your own voice, your own interests.)
I don’t say this because I think you should go through life trying to be more likeable. It is just that you are not living a full, real life if you are not living as the you that you know best. I realize that a lot of people have trouble with this because they don’t really know who they are, and some people are born “people pleasers” and would sooner jump off a bridge than go against the “make everyone happy” instinct that has propelled them through life. Ultimately you have to live with yourself and make yourself happy first and most of all.
I’m doing it. Listening to obscenely loud music in my house in the Swedish woods in the middle of the night while baking cakes and playing with a hula hoop – all a little off the beaten path, but I am who I am – and I like it. Even if no one else does. (Of course I know that some people do – it is just that it does not matter so much if they do if I am happy with myself.)