Who Cares if They Don’t Like You?

Don’t let yourself be manipulated

Shefali O'Hara
3 min readMay 24, 2022


Photo by Sivani B on Unsplash

When I was a kid, I didn’t have many friends. I was also a people pleaser. Connection?

The reasons were not that complex.

I was the oldest child and the girl in an Indian household. Culturally, I was driven to make sure everyone was happy. Plus that is my natural tendency — I am a happy person and would like to see others be happy as well.

What is actually sorta a lovely trait, I think, ended up biting me in the rear in many ways.

I was too concerned with others’ welfare and not enough with my own.

It took me years to finally stop caring.

Not that I don’t care for people. I do care about their welfare. I care about fairness and justice. But I don’t really give a darn anymore if people like me.

And that’s a good thing.

All too often, people have used my desire to be liked to manipulate me.

Because not everyone is a good person. And not everyone is healthy.

There are times when you need to put up your shields:

  • When a co-worker takes credit for the work you have done — you need to learn how to respectfully, politely, but firmly stand up for yourself.
  • When a sales person tries to manipulate you, it’s OK to say, “I need to go home and sleep on it.” Then leave.
  • When a person you are dating tries to get you to do something that makes you uncomfortable — whether it’s sex, commitment, or going to an event that makes your skin crawl — it’s OK to say no. If they don’t like it, maybe they are the wrong person for you?

These are just a few instances when you may need to stand up for yourself and your own rights.

You can always do so politely, at least at first. If the person continues to push, it’s OK for you to get rude, though.

It’s also OK to not want to be friends with certain people.

Bottom line, if you are a “real” person, you will not like everyone and they will not always like you. And that is OK. The world is full of all sorts of people. They have the right to be whoever they are, and they don’t need your approval.

However, whether or not you like someone — you should treat them with respect, and expect the same thing in return.

If you would like to buy me a cup of coffee, I would appreciate it. Maybe I can return the favor sometime. Because we all need appreciation.

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Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.