I’m not very likable.
Yes, there are people who like me. Lots of people in fact, across a wide range of social groups.
But all too often, in the urban sitcom of my life, I’m the sassy Black friend— who despite being loyal and loving— gets pegged as disagreeable and disgruntle. Thus, I am not very likable.
I’m a cynic. I’m judgmental. I’m outspoken— often at the wrong moments. I’m a purveyor of unpopular opinions. I’m quick tongued and thick skinned. Well, at least I appear to be thick skinned. That thick skin masks an overly-sensitive, obnoxiously sentimental spirit known for sending unsolicited “I Love You” texts messages to friends. My thick skin works well, too well at times, to the point where stoicism becomes my permanent mood.
Why can’t I be more calm, more optimistic, more unassuming like the people I admire. If personality traits were on sale at Target, I ‘d take the Dalai Lama’s positivity, Michelle Obama’s way with words and Kelly Ripa’s innocent exuberance and piece them together into a universally loved personality.
However, they are not for sale.
So I’m still me.
I looked inward for a longtime and beat myself up. Surely, there was something wrong with me. “Positive” people around me gave me unsolicited advice of how I needed to be living. They told me about how their lives got so much better when they stopped living like me and abandoned all the “negative” character traits that made me unlikable. They had such great lives according to them— and yet the vast majority lived lives I would never want.
I’m not universally likable and I’m okay with that. I’m “negative” and that’s okay with me. My cynicism keeps me honest and respected. If I don’t like it, I don’t like it. Those close to me know that when I smile, it’s genuine. When I’m excited for something, I feel it down in the deepest fiber of my being and my passion for the carefully selected things that I care about is unmatched.
My quick tongue is sharp but selective. Now perhaps, my selectivity (or lack thereof) is a skill that could use some honing. But I am perfectly content with the fact that I don’t bog myself down with too much political correctness or fear of being disagreed with. I speak my mind. I’m quick on my feet and for all the instances of someone bashing that trait— there’s a similar encounter for when it’s been beneficial.
My heavy judgement while in some ways could use some tweaking, in others keeps me humble. I’d like to think of myself as a realist. I’m not amazed by many of the things other people find breathtaking. But my judgement makes me that much more appreciative of the actions and gestures that I find genuine and impressive. The stranger who paid $50 for my groceries in the checkout line when I forgot my wallet at home touched my heart beyond words. So much so that I sobbed in my car instead of driving home because I found that level of generosity and consideration so commendable and inspiring. To others it was just a nice gesture, but to me, it meant the world.
I’m loud. I’m bold. I’m an angel or a devil depending on what I behavior receive. I’m cynical. I’m witty. I’m a dreamer and a realist depending on the topic. That combination is not meant to appeal to all.
To put it simply, to many people I’m not likable…
…and I love that about myself.