By: Kate Krassowski, Regular Contributor
“I want you to like me, but I don’t care if you don’t” –Olivia Munn
I wish I was lying through my teeth when I said this statement out loud: I care if someone doesn’t like me. Maybe not with every single person, but there are so many people in my life that I want to impress. One day I hope I won’t feel pressure to be liked by someone I admire or want to be around. One day, I hope I am comfortable enough with who I am and what I have to offer that I can express that and be okay if they don’t accept it.
I have been trying to be very observant recently of how I’m feeling and more importantly why I’m feeling or acting a certain way. I’ve noticed that when I’m with anyone I immediately have this barrier up. I’m not necessarily being someone I’m not, but I’m trying to be funny and interesting instead of focusing on the person in front of me that I’m so embarrassingly trying to impress. I’m not talking romantic relationships either. Friend dating, to me, is much more stressful than actual dating. I shut myself off and am bad at approaching people. I would rather daydream about the possibility of friendship from afar than overcome my fear of letting them see the real me. What if they don’t return the same admiration or desire to be my friend? This sounds so silly that I worry about this, but I’m sure I’m not alone. To be wanted is a feeling all too common.
I am learning that a lot of being a friend is being selfless. In a conversation, sometimes it’s good to talk about your problems and feelings, but it’s also very important to listen. I struggle with spending too much time wanting someone to like me and focusing on if I’m saying the right things or telling the right stories, when I should be concerned with asking the right questions and listening to what the other person has to say. When I leave a conversation I’m replaying what I said and if they will like me more because of what I talked about or what I told them, but I should be replaying what they said. Recognizing and executing that small change alone can affect how others relate to you, and it can boost your confidence when it comes to relating to them.
In a world where everyone is concerned about themselves, it’s refreshing to meet someone who unselfishly listens, holds what you’re saying in a safe space, and makes a relationship more about you than about themselves. I am striving to be like that. I think that by living that way, not only will others feel more connected to me, but I will spend less time wishing they would like me and more time enjoying their company. Because if I’m being selfless with them and they still aren’t interested in being my friend, then I can let it go and move on. There’s nothing more I can do and that’s all that is ever asked of anyone: to do your best and to be your best. If you’re doing everything you can to be a selfless friend, while also knowing and accepting that you are enough and you don’t have to spend time worrying if your responses or your stories were the “right things” to say, then maybe, one day, this will be nothing but truth: “I want you to like me, but I don’t care if you don’t.”
How do you relate to Kate's story? Are you preoccupied with impressing someone instead of letting them see the real you, and going all in to know the real them? Tell us about your experiences here!
She moved to Los Angeles from Cleveland, OH after graduating with a B.A in Film Production from BGSU. She is passionate about speaking out against how women are viewed in the media and being part of changing it.