So let’s say you’re meeting someone you’re trying to impress. That’s only human, of course. But if you are convinced that it’s impossible for others to like you, you can’t stop at being yourself. No, you have to put on airs, grind, force things. And that drives those very people (not to mention others) away. And in the end, you end up even further convinced that you’re unlikable.
Fortunately, when I realized I had this problem, I also recognized the solution: I just have to be friendly, considerate, helpful, and in casual situations utilize the advantages that I have (like I hope all of you use yours) without worrying about whether I’m using the right formula in a situation – there’s no surer way to become a complete tool. (There are ways to successfully use formulas, but I’ve decided to leave the learning and use of them to the otherwise talent-poor people who actually need them.) Sure, not everyone will like me. Few people are universally likeable, and those that are are usually on the other side of the grass. But not actively driving people away is a pretty good place to start!
Some of you might wonder who I got to be so insecure in the first place. I have to wordlessly point to school. I went in pretty OK – I was a happy child – but I came out fairly deranged.
Nothing that good weather, summer school (math sure clears the head!), and the advice of a few acquaintances-turned-friends can’t help, though. I almost wish I hadn’t spent all those summers out of town. I missed out on a lot.
* - I'm using "like" broadly here.
** - I’d blame my Christian upbringing for instilling me with the notion that we’re all (especially you!) depraved sinners and ipso facto bad people, but blame is useless because you could just as easily say that I’m to blame for not having stood up to the implicit and explicit efforts made to indoctrinate me. I think I’ve finally found my most personally meaningful argument against religion yet.