You might be surprised to know that there is someone I dislike. Sure, I work hard on all that woo-woo love everybody stuff, and yet… sometimes there is a person who is just irksome.

You may find someone repulsive in an instinctive way and in that case, just avoid them. Just do it. Don’t think about it too hard until you are at a safe distance.

You can time-out from any disagreeable encounter before you decide what, if anything, it means.

Maybe they did something that bothers you, in which case, you may just need to inch over to the forgiveness department.

But what if they haven’t really done anything to deserve your dislike? You just don’t want to be around them and it’s not more complicated than that.

It’s possible that they have habits you find distasteful. Maybe they remind you of someone awful, someone else, someone they are not. Maybe they employ baby talk during serious conversation or eat or slurp a bit too enthusiastically. Maybe they cannot stop talking about milk or UFOs or the Constitution.

Whatever it is, it’s okay. You don’t have to like it.

You are allowed to dislike anyone, just like anyone is allowed to dislike you.

I  know, that’s crazy talk, isn’t it?

The important thing to remember is that it happens and it’s fine. If there’s no infringement on your person, there is no additional thing to do about it. You are not entitled to live in a zone where people are all nice and perfectly acceptable, even if such a place existed, which it does not.

There’s no need to find a way the person is defective or evil or sub-human.

The person I dislike isn’t someone I have to deal with on a regular basis, and even so, I made quite the habit of insisting that there was something wrong with them. I’m not proud of it. If another person repels you it’s natural to try to make it their fault. This person wasn’t trustworthy, I thought. Something was off. I was very invested, from time to time anyway, with diagnosing this person with a disorder to put my dislike in the very best spotlight.

This way, I was under no obligation to like them, but you know what–there never is any obligation to like them.

When they had a horrifying emergency, I called for help. I would have administered a Heimlich. Probably.

So you can respect a person’s humanity and still, basically, think they are off. Don’t bother to inflate it with greater meaning than that. Not every nail needs a hammer.


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3 Replies to “What if I Just Dislike Someone?”

  1. Boy, do I love this post! There are a lot of people I don’t like, for no particular reason. I just don’t. I have never been able to explain this adequately to anyone. I say that it’s like not liking beets or not liking pistachio ice cream. There’s nothing inherently wrong with either of these foods. I just don’t like them. I believe that we should be allowed our tastes in people the same as our tastes in food, or music, or places. You don’t like the desert Southwest? No harm, no foul. Love the desert Southwest? Great, enjoy! Classical music not your thing? Okay. Love classical music? Okay.

    It seems to be acceptable to like people who are utter jerks, or so a thousand TV shows and movies and books tell us–all those lovable rogues. So why is it considered horrible not to like someone who is reasonably pleasant and inoffensive but just not to one’s taste in people? This person is pistachio ice cream to me, not a horrible monster. I shouldn’t have to eat pistachio ice cream or pretend to like it when I don’t.

    I agree with you: there is no obligation to like someone. I try to explain that when I say (not to the person in question but to other people about this very topic) that I don’t like someone, it doesn’t mean that I hate them or even that I have any strong dislike toward them them. I just don’t like them. But the reaction I get seems to be that the neutral position is liking someone and that not liking them means you think they’re awful. I reply no, they’re just not to my taste, but taste is individual, and it is NOT a moral judgment. They insist that it is a moral judgment. I don’t get it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It felt like a huge AHA moment to me, too. I have spent my lifetime thinking that people I disliked were bad or wrong or that I was bad or wrong for not liking them. What a waste of energy!! It’s all fine and not significant, like green eggs and ham.


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