I don’t really worry about whether or not people like me. A long time ago, I learned that no one is everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s all right. I’ve said before that I think I have a strong personality, and I realize not everyone is going to want to be sitting in the booth with me. That’s okay. I respect that because I don’t want to sit in the booth with everyone either.
Many years ago I hit upon the idea that personalities and people were like art in a museum. I could appreciate the effort it took to bring them to their current installation, and I could (and should) respect them for what they were, but I didn’t have to want them hanging in my living room. My liking or disliking the art does not make it any less worthy of installation–it only affects where I give it space in my own life. The reciprocal applies. I wouldn’t match everyone’s decor, so I can’t expect every patron of the arts to want me as the focal point of their great room. If you don’t like me, that doesn’t make me any less worthy of someone else’s love–it only affects where you give me space in your life.
All that said, while I have very little trouble with the idea that someone might find my personality a bad fit for their world, I am horrified to think that anyone might find me annoying, ill-mannered, offensive, rude, or cruel. Those aren’t personality issues. Those are character flaws.
I do actually lose sleep at night when I think I have hurt someone, been rude to someone, or been offensive. Even in situations where I know I am in the right, I can’t stand thinking I’ve behaved badly. I want to be judicious in anger, and gracious in pain. I always have the thought in the back of my head, “One day, it might be you on the flip side of this coin. How hard do you want to have to beg for mercy?”
So, I am paranoid about being accidentally offensive. Even the slightest change in the tone of a conversation sends me scanning everything I’ve said or done, trying to figure what of my puppy-like idiocy might have caused the change. I come up with some doozies, too.
I find that really amusing about me. I don’t mind if you don’t like me, but I am gutted if I think I’ve done something wicked to deserve your dislike.