Once upon a time in high school, I was sitting in the study room during my lunch period when a classmate walked up to me, looked me straight in the eyes, and with no prelude or explanation simply said, “I don’t like you.”
And then he walked away.
I was stunned. I just sat there for a minute. By the time I thought up a witty retort, he was gone. It shouldn’t have bothered me, but it really did. It still bothers me to the point that I could tell you exactly what I was wearing and where I was sitting when it happened–it is that burned in my memory. I’ll never forget this boy looking me straight in the eyes and saying, “I don’t like you.”
Because as far as I knew, I had never done anything to merit his dislike. This classmate and I weren’t close–I hardly knew him aside from the comments he made in class and sometimes ending up in the same room due to shared social circles. I couldn’t think of a single interaction we’d had just the two of us or a thing I’d done that would make him feel both a strong dislike for me and the need to tell me so. That, I realize now, is what bothered me the most about it. That I hadn’t done anything to him, meaning there was something about me on a fundamental level, something about just the way I was, that he did not like, and that made me feel like there was something wrong with me.
Recently I’ve been dealing with someone who, similar to this young man from high school, does not like me for no apparent reason. On a rational level, I understand that this is not something I can control and it should not bother me and there’s no way everyone you meet is going to like you. But lately it’s been eating me up to think that there’s someone who I have never in my knowledge wronged, but who dislikes the things about me that make me me, the sort of things I can’t change. Maybe it’s the sound of my voice. Maybe it’s how I use my hands when I talk. Maybe it’s the combination of my voice and my hand-talking or the way I sometimes zone out in the middle of a conversation. But whatever it is, it’s not something I can change, it’s just me. And that bothers me.
Since I am a product of academia, I usually like to have some sort of clear concise conclusion to end my blog posts on, where I wrap up everything I’ve said in one sometimes cliched but usually relevant statement. Today I don’t really have that.
All I know is that sometimes people just don’t like you, and that sucks.