Everyone’s Afraid Of Not Being Liked, So Relax

Flickr / apoptotic
Flickr / apoptotic

This topic has been on my mind a lot lately. Over the past couple of years, I’ve had this conversation surprisingly frequently with various people. All concerning the topic of being liked. Of feeling vulnerable. Of worrying about whether or not people even want to spend time around you.

Of thinking you’re not good enough. Of convincing yourself that nobody wants to be with you or listen to you. Of wondering if maybe your friendships aren’t as solid as you once thought they were.

I’ve had this worry before. I’ve had it plenty of times in my life. And although I knew that, sure, everybody worries about these things, I didn’t actually believe it. I didn’t think other people could possibly have the same exact worries and thoughts that I did. Because when you start spending enough time inside your own head, you can get wrapped up in it, convincing yourself that you’re alone in your fears and your worries and your negative way of thinking.

People talk about it in songs. They write about it. They put it in their stand-up routines. They make it a topic on television shows and in movies. But it still doesn’t get through to us.

I had to actually hear it from other real, living, breathing people that I knew personally. People that I thought had it all together. People who I believed couldn’t even conceive the thought of not being liked. Of being pushed aside, forgotten about. Of being insignificant. A non-factor.

I was in shock at first, the first few times I found out that some of the most seemingly put-together people I knew were insecure. I felt like we were in kindergarten again, sharing these supposedly tiny little fears that are actually so much greater and so much scarier than people are willing to acknowledge.

And then it started to happen over and over and over. Conversations with my peers. Friends. Family members. People who didn’t have time to realize how special they were, or how appreciated they were, because they were too distracted by the idea that they couldn’t possibly be appreciated or thought of as special.

The point is, when you’re in that bar, or sitting at that dinner table, or attending that party where everyone seems to know each other and have tons of inside jokes already, ignore yourself. Ignore the voice telling you you’re not good enough or that none of these people like you or that everybody finds you boring or unimportant. Because all those people surrounding you are thinking those same exact things about themselves.

You’re smiling, aren’t you? You’re pretending everything’s okay, aren’t you? So are they.

You are not alone. You are not the only person in the world who thinks they’re disliked or uninteresting or a non-factor in the minds of others. Everybody is like this. So celebrate the fact that you are not unique in this aspect. Celebrate the fact that you are the furthest thing from unique in this aspect. And then go and have some actual fun. TC mark

Kim Quindlen

I'm a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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