Author Topic: "Why doesn't anybody like me?"  (Read 1322 times)

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Julian

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"Why doesn't anybody like me?"
« on: July 30, 2014, 11:35:47 PM »
I've debated internally which forum to put this in, but as I don't really have an etiquette question, I thought here would work.

I seem to have 'that sort of face' where people, usually ones that I don't particularly like (because they're total blankety blanks...), try to corner me to find out why nobody likes them.

Three times it's happened to me at work, back when I worked operating room as a nurse.  Once was a much-loathed (by all and sundry) fellow nurse, twice by two particularly arrogant surgeons.

Now, I'm normally a fairly diplomatic sort of person, and I will try to answer honestly but tactfully, with the intent of not causing hurt.  But oh boy it can be hard not to be blunt as a sledgehammer with some of these folk.  I'm also the sort of person that gives everybody an opportunity to demonstrate that they're a blank before I dislike them - I treat everyone pleasantly, politely and friendly, unless/until they show me their true colours.

Each of these occasions caught me totally off-guard.  I mean, what adult even asks that?  And what even makes them think I am sympathetic enough to ask?  Must be 'that face'... 

Has anybody else been asked this, either by an adult, or in a professional setting?  How do you deal with it?  Do you try to be tactful or blunt?  Any good stories?

Zizi-K

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Re: "Why doesn't anybody like me?"
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2014, 12:02:49 AM »
In this case, the time-honored "Why do you ask?" would work wonders. The onus is put back on them to articulate what they've been sensing, and they may find their way to answering their own question.

Julian

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Re: "Why doesn't anybody like me?"
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2014, 01:19:49 AM »
I like both those options - wish I'd thought of them at the time! 

The nurse, I'm afraid, got brutal honesty.  He quite frankly deserved it.  Amongst his more endearing traits was the fact that he thought his High and Lofty Position entitled him to s@xually harass the female nurses at a lower level than him. [ He has since committed thorough career suicide.]  At the time, I was pretty much fed up with the place in general and him in particular, so I sort of let him have it - politely, of course!  I even explicitly invited him to utilise one of his other great skills, tattle taling, and go and tell the Director what I'd said.  He didn't.

The doctors got a little less brutality but just as much honesty.  Seriously, you're asking me, after that behaviour I just witnessed?  Of course nobody wants to work with you, you throw things / have tantrums / expect psychic skills unmatched since Madame Blavatski / yell and scream at everyone / whatever.  Tone it down, we're only human too, being polite works well, you catch more flies with honey, we're all professionals and here for the patients etc. 

I wasn't worried about an professional impact from the doctors - they were quite puzzled initially, and they did behave better most of the time from then on (maybe I need to add Professional Counsellor to my CV!) and never mentioned it again.  The nurse - well I honestly didn't care if there were any ramifications.  The guy was a toad.  If he'd had the testicular fortitude to tattle, I'd have told the Director exactly what I said and why.  None of it was untrue.  I could just about write a book on this guy, seriously, he was that bad.

Anyway, thanks again for the replies.

Allyson

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Re: "Why doesn't anybody like me?"
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2014, 01:34:50 AM »
Not so much in a work sense, but in a social sense, and more than once. It's awkward, but less so because I don't feel like my job is going to be threatened or work will be more unpleasant. I usually will try to help them out if I think they're being genuine. I feel like there are two types of people who ask this question. There's the type who really just wants to be told "oh no, we all love you! Those people who don't are just meanies" and the people who are honestly trying to make an effort and don't understand why it isn't working.

I've been blunt-ish, saying things like "well, you pressure people to a higher level of friendship than they might feel, and are negative a lot, which bothers some people"...it's actually usually been fine. I mean, if I were doing something that was putting people off, I'd absolutely want to know, so I have some sympathy for it. As long as they really actually want feedback, not just headpats.

Slartibartfast

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Re: "Why doesn't anybody like me?"
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2014, 02:10:42 AM »
"Gosh, I'm really not the right person to ask."  You can also add "I like you just fine" if it's true  :P

Bethalize

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Re: "Why doesn't anybody like me?"
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2014, 03:01:31 AM »
Each of these occasions caught me totally off-guard.  I mean, what adult even asks that? 

In my experience such a question is asked by a manipulative and usually arrogant person as part of a campaign recruiting for sympathisers.

Lynn2000

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Re: "Why doesn't anybody like me?"
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2014, 08:29:42 AM »
Definitely an awkward situation. I don't think it's ever happened to me, but I remember a co-worker, Lily, who was friends with another co-worker, Mike, whom none of the rest of us could stand, and a couple times he intimated to her that he didn't understand why but would like to. Lily was very laid-back and genuinely wasn't bothered by most of the things that bothered the rest of us (arrogance, self-centeredness, carelessness, a nasty streak that included making fun of people he thought were fat) so I think she just kind of demurred.

Her reasoning was that, while he might indeed have wanted to know, he seemed to think it would be something quick and easy to fix (like "wear deodorant more often" or something) when in fact it was a much larger, more complex issue. And he had also repeatedly stated that he had no intention of changing "who he was" to be better liked by people anyway, so... Not much point.

The one time a friend asked me if I thought they had overstepped in a particular scene I'd witnessed, I told the truth (yes) but in a very tactful and indirect way, and the temperature in the room dropped 10 degrees. ::) So even if they thought they wanted to know, clearly they weren't really prepared for me to say yes, you were in the wrong.

In short I haven't really had good experiences with this question. I like the idea of putting it back on them with "Why do you ask?" or "Why do you think that might be?"
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pierrotlunaire0

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Re: "Why doesn't anybody like me?"
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2014, 11:01:14 AM »
The one time I was asked this question, the asker was a very difficult whiny and clinging woman, who had also backstabbed me on a work project.  What had happened when she asked me the question was that she had asked another coworker to go out to lunch, and CW had said no.  So Wendy is at my desk, whining and near tears,"Nobody likes me.  CW won't go out to lunch with me, and I know it's because nobody likes me. Why doesn't anybody like me?"

Like I said, she had already back stabbed me on something, so there was no way I would have been honest with her. Plus, at one time or another, we had invited her to come along with us, and she always turned us down.  And yet, we didn't cry.  I merely shrugged and said, "Maybe she's on a diet."

Judging by my lonely example, adults who ask this question usually know that they are the problem, and now they are trying to make it your problem to solve.
I have enough lithium in my medicine cabinet to power three cars across a sizeable desert.  Which makes me officially...Three Cars Crazy

Shalamar

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Re: "Why doesn't anybody like me?"
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2014, 03:12:47 PM »
Somewhat related - a while back a friend of mine was having job problems.  She had been reprimanded several times for not doing well at her job, and she knew that she was on thin ice.  One day she called me in tears and said that her two supervisors had asked to meet with her the following day.   "Do you think they're going to fire me?" she asked.  I said honestly "Based on what you've told me, yes, I think there's a very strong chance that they're planning to fire you."  She was very indignant and said "You don't know that!"  "No, you're right, I don't - but if I were you, I'd start polishing up my resume." 

Sure enough, she was fired the next day.

Lynn2000

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Re: "Why doesn't anybody like me?"
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2014, 03:45:35 PM »
That reminds me of when my friend Emma was trying to find a new job. It was a huge struggle for her and she never ended up finding a permanent position before she had to leave the country. She would get so upset and wonder what it was about her information that wasn't even getting her follow-ups or interviews, let alone a job offer.

Well, I actually don't know exactly, because I don't know what kind of information she was asked for or what kinds of things companies can find out about applicants otherwise. But, she was really ill-suited to the whole process. Despite getting extensive help from a number of different people, including professionals, she managed to send out a bunch of resumes with major mistakes. And she always had a lot of trouble reading and following directions--as for the various job application websites--so it wouldn't surprise me if she was filling out things incorrectly or inadvisably. Plus there was the whole thing about when her visa would be up, so a company would have to go to more trouble to hire and keep her. And there were weird things about her career history as shown on the resume, like most people do XYZ and she did ZAY, which could have been for a bad reason (and it was, in part).

How do you say that to someone, though? "Well, I think your problem is, you took twice as long to get your degree as you should have, which makes it look like you don't know what you're doing. And most people take this path, but you took this one, which suggests you might not be really committed to this industry. So, if you go back in time eight years and redo everything the normal way, that should clear it up." ::) I mean, there's no point in saying that. Or, "Well, having known you for five years, I'd say you're probably massively screwing up the application process each time." The only thing she could really easily fix were the typos on her resume. I know some people can turn weird circumstances into a great cover letter, but she wasn't that kind of person, and trying to explain how would have been like talking to a brick wall.

Even if a person wants to be a friend and answer honestly, sometimes the problem is so huge that there's almost no way to fix it, at least not without years of therapy or something. I don't like to leave people with no hope. If I can find something small and fixable, like typos, I might go for that.
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BeagleMommy

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Re: "Why doesn't anybody like me?"
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2014, 04:02:01 PM »
I've never had anyone ask me this question and I hope no one ever does.  I don't know if I could keep from letting brutal honestly slip out.

I equate this with "Do these jeans make me look fat?".  If you don't want an honest answer, don't ask that question.