Possessing the knowledge that someone you know dislikes you to the point of that knowledge making its way to you, is not a good feeling. What makes these scenarios trickier is when that person maintains a good relationship with those who enjoy your company as well. It could be a friend of a friend who dislikes you, or a colleague whom your team is forced to interact with. Knowledge of someone’s hatred toward you, and having to be in their vicinity, makes the air thick. Anxiety starts to build, and in an effort to not prove those who hate us to be correct, we audit every intention of ours to speak or act.
This article aims to propose a way to dampen someone’s hatred toward you when you find yourself stuck having to interact with them in some form. It’s meant to provide advice on how to ease the tension of the moment, not to rid them of their hatred toward you as a whole.
Come Prepared Knowing What About You Makes Them Tick
In order to effectively dampen the reasons a person isn’t your biggest fan, you need to first figure out those same specific reasons for why they don’t like you. Not being able to avoid a person who doesn’t like you typically means that both of you are a part of the same social circle. You’ll see each other during social outings, will run into each other at work, or will be invited to the same wedding. Others in your social circle may know what reasons their feelings toward you are backed by. If they do, inquire into those reasons.
In other scenarios, you may know that a specific event was the catalyst to someone developing ill will toward you. An argument both of you got into a few months prior may fuel their negative feelings toward you. A quarrel during a pickup basketball game may have changed their opinion of you, or perhaps you had a little too much to drink at a party you both attended last year.
Discovering the reasons for why someone hates you is, in part, a guessing game. That guessing game becomes easier with more information you receive about their feelings toward you. The guessing game becomes harder when their hatred toward you is backed by a general disliking of who you are as a whole. Perhaps they simply hate your voice, or how you act with people you meet for the first time. Maybe your tendency to command the attention of the room makes them jealous.
In these unknown instances, try your best to analyze why someone may not like you. Be honest with your negative traits, and if you don’t know what about you makes this person dislike you, assume the reasons to include your most negative traits that you uncover about yourself. Be hard on yourself in analyzing what about you may make someone dislike you, and keep those traits in mind as you prepare to see this person at an event or outing.
Voice Your Shortcomings, Which They Hate, in Implicit Ways
As it comes time to be around the people who don’t like you, remember that confirming their observations of you is the trick you’ll have up your sleeve. The people who don’t particularly like you, expect you to double down on the traits about yourself that they don’t like. They expect you to act the same as they perceive you to act, and say the same things which they expect you to say. While you don’t have to change your behavior or your dialogue, you should send implicit messages that you’re aware of the same shortcomings for which they don’t like you.
For instance, if your mutual friend Joe tells you that Ryan dislikes you for being too argumentative, Ryan’s hatred toward you will dampen if he sees that you agree with his observation. In a mutual social setting, you would do well to dampen Ryan’s hatred toward you by acknowledging your tendency to be too argumentative. You can do that by playfully saying (while Ryan’s listening), “Joe, all I’m going to say is that I disagree. We all know that I can argue until the night turns into morning for why the Spurs are likelier to win the championship than the Warriors.”
Voicing the perception of you being an argumentative person, even in playful ways, would serve to communicate the fact that you’re trying to be better in that facet. You’d also weaken the tendency for others to feel as if they’ve discovered something bad about you, if you discover and voice it before they do. Upon hearing your implicit message, sensible people would understand you to have knowledge of the same shortcomings that others hate about you, and will perceive you to be working to improve. Even if the people who don’t like you are right in their analysis, the best cards you can play is to acknowledge their analysis, and improve upon it. Doing so in implicit ways by communicating their observations in social scenarios seems to be an effective way to spark a changed perception of you.