The Cure for Wanting Everyone to Like You


By Erickka Sy Savané

Not long ago, I was having a moment about an article I wrote that was pissing a lot of women off. Not everyone, but enough that I started to let it get to me. Being a writer today is interesting because you do your best to convey a message that you believe in, and the truth is, not everyone is going to like it. No matter how well-intended. And the worst part isn't that folks disagree, opinions make the world go round, it's when people start calling you names and making threats. I learned this when I had to block someone on twitter about something I said about Serena, who I do adore by the way. At one point, I was close to clicking the delete button on the story altogether when something told me to pause and ask myself what’s really going on?

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I was taken back to elementary school when I was growing up, riding the bus to Sunday school with my brother. We were the last to get picked up, and every week I dreaded mounting the bus steps because with most of the seats already taken, it meant sitting next to another kid. I don't know why, but these kids couldn't stand us. One day, as I sat next to a girl, she make a big production of moving herself as close to the window as possible and made a loud, "Eeeewwww!" Like I had cooties. Then she told me I looked like Ms. Peabody. 
Mind you, I didn’t even know who Ms. Peabody was, but I knew it wasn't good. Later I realized it had something to do with the thick-rimmed glasses I wore that reminded her of the cartoon character. Fast-forward to high school and by then I had my share of popularity, however, there were still those who weren't feeling me no matter how nice I was. And you know when folks aren't feeling you. It can be anything from getting a fake smile, to being straight up ignored, to someone trying to bully you. 

The other day, my daughter who is 8 years old and in the second grade came to me sad because a few girls in her class stopped liking her. She said that no matter what she does, they keep running away from her during gym class. As parents, we hate when anyone isn’t nice to our kids so I had to keep from saying what I wanted to say, which was what my Granny always told me, "F*ck’em." I couldn't understand why it was so important that these little girls like her when she had so many other friends? Then it occurred to me, she wants to be liked. We all do, and go about it in different ways. Instagram and facebook make billions of dollars off of likes. You post a pic and if NOBODY likes it you feel like you failed. Now if you have no friends on social media in the first place, not a problem. But if you have ‘friends,’ which most of us do because that’s the point, we want to be liked. Some people actually build whole businesses off of getting likes. As I was looking at her, searching for the right thing to say, the brutally honest words of my mom popped into my ears like I was in high school all over again. She'd say,
“Not everyone is going to like you. That’s life.”
And that’s exactly what I told my daughter. Because like a lot of things that I’ve come to realize, mom was right. Not everyone is going to like her. Or me. I mean, people didn't like Martin Luther King at the time and some still don't. Folks don't like Beyonce. I don’t like Omarosa, Paris Hilton or Justin Timberlake though they've never personally done anything to me, and some people I don't like because they remind me of someone else I don't like, so go figure.

Getting back to my post, I didn't delete it. The truth is, I stand behind what I wrote at the time because that's how I felt and not everyone is going to like it. That's life. Once I accept that, once we all accept that, maybe we'll write that book we've been putting off. Wear that red lipstick we fear people will say is too bright for our face. Date the short dude. Once we really get it, we're free.

Are you obsessed with being liked?
Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on TwitterInstagram or ErickkaSySavane.com

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