There are times when I see people (including myself!) stressing themselves out outrageously over some dispute with another person or organization and I want to go, “Stop. Not everyone you work with needs to like you.”
I like it when people like me. At the very least, I like it when people don’t have to struggle to be civil towards me.
But there are times when I get to decide that I’m only interested in investing enough energy in certain people to keep them working with me. Furthermore, there are times when, when I think hard about it, I decide that I actually don’t need to work with someone (or some organization).
Guess what? That’s okay. I don’t need to like everyone in the world, and I don’t need everyone to like me. I just don’t “intersect” that deeply with most people.
It wears me out sometimes to see people twist themselves into knots about some angry email from some person or another. Chill out. We don’t immediately need to lose sleep over it and wring our hands and send angry responses and have lengthy series of meetings to figure out the problems and possible solutions.
It’s probably my current state of emotional rawness (ironically), but I’ve handled two “you suck” volleys this week with more aplomb than anyone around me. I suck? Great. After some consideration, my view of myself hasn’t changed, but thanks for taking the time to let me know.
Now, I’m going to have some meetings and exchange emails and all that mess, probably. But those emails and meetings can be friendly, because I don’t need them to like me; they don’t even have to work with me. We need merely coexist.
If only I could impart this (likely temporary) wisdom on a couple of other people I know, their lives might be easier.