Recently a friend and I had a conversation about the difference between treating others with respect and liking them as people. My friend was worried about disliking someone they knew for what I consider to be quite valid reasons.
I reassured my friend that it’s ok not to like everyone you meet. After all, friendship isn’t a synonym for being friendly.
Friendship is reciprocal. I can’t be your friend if you’re uninterested in being mine and the only way the relationship can be sustained is if both of us put effort into it. It doesn’t matter how much two people have in common as long as both of them are emotionally invested in the relationship and trust one another.
Friendly behaviour is a one-way street. Treating others with the respect, kindness and common courtesy everyone deserves has nothing to do with what you actually think of them or how they treat you. It’s simply good manners to treat other people with the care you’d want them to show you.
Every one of us has no doubt liked some of the people we meet more than others. With seven billion other human beings running around this planet there’s bound to be a few that don’t appeal to you for many different reasons – a personality clash, value systems that don’t mesh well together, or incompatible interests.
I don’t know where the idea came from that we are obligated to like everyone but I don’t see anything wrong with acknowledging how we really feel as long as those emotions are not used as an excuse to be rude.
What do you think?