I have, many times. I’ve even asked… Do you like me?
Often I get ‘yes’.
Often I ask, ‘why?’.
‘What is it about me that you like?’
Recently I was told, ‘Well, I like you, but I don’t like you when you ask so many questions.’
My phone doesn’t ring all that often with personal calls, I don’t get an abundance of personal email, my Facebook page is sparse with friends, and my social calendar is filled mostly with activities I create rather than invitations from others.
I’ve often wondered if I was doing something wrong… I’ve even asked friends who I consider to be ‘social butterflies’ for insight… am I doing something wrong?
Perhaps it’s because when someone asks me ‘What do you think of xyz?’… I often respond… well, I like it, or I don’t like it… whichever is true… followed by
But who gives a shit what I think, if you like it, do whatever with it.
On it’s face that doesn’t sound very supportive does it. But it is the answer to the question they asked…
True, though also, that it is not the answer to the question they meant to ask.
People often come to me for advice with business, money and the like. My responses, always real, rarely the answer desired.
I just see no need to placate the ego’s desire to be validated. In fact, it seems dishonest to me, placating. It seems like an empty exchange.
It is not lost on me however that it is far from what most people consider ‘fun’. Perhaps this is the root of my confusion.
Is it wrong to seek validation, to want approval?
I used to think so. In fact I avoided it myself at all costs, until recently. Just the other day, a very dear soul, my mother, asked me ‘is it so wrong to want people to like you?’.
I recall a story she used to share. After working hard to sew a dress for this occasion or that, she asked her grandmother what she thought of it. Clearly a young girl would cherish the approval of her grandmother for all her hard work.
Her grandmother would reply, “well, I don’t see anything wrong with it”. Most could argue that hardly seems like a compliment…
Or is it? It was the answer to her question. What do you think of it? It is in fact a compliment of a reply, a truthful, honest, reply.
She did not find fault in it, in fact, quite the opposite, she remarked she found no fault at all.
My mom and her story have given me valuable insight over the years about finding value from within. Today the insight has grown to appreciating the value from outside.
Is it wrong to want people to like or approve of you? Heavens no, it’s a part of all of us, the desire to be wanted, to be part of the crowd, to be loved.
Perhaps there is some value in rephrasing the question.
Do you think I did a good work?
I do sometimes ask questions like this… be it slightly more directed to what I desire: ‘Will you look at this and tell me i did good? I’m feeling inadequate and I need some good vibe… some validation’
I recently got a real answer to my question ‘Do you like me, and why?’. The answer was “no, because having conversations with you is difficult, it’s hard work.”
After some reflection… It made me smile.
My reply. “Thank you for caring so much to answer my question honestly. Thank you for being so brave and courageous to risk the consequence of an honest reply. Thank you for the compliment, it means the world to me.”