Do you HAVE to like everyone?

Jordan Brown

This is a loaded question:

"Do you HAVE to like everyone?"

Like everything else in life, it's complicated.

Still, let's try to get to the bottom of this.

What does it mean to like someone?

First, let's pick apart what it means to like someone. This is complex in and of itself.

Does it mean you respect them? Does it mean you have to spend time with them? Or does it mean you merely have to tolerate them?

You can see why this quickly gets complicated. To like someone could mean many different things in different contexts. So first you need to understand the context.

If you're at work, "liking" your colleagues could mean that you tolerate them. It could mean that you smile and say "good morning" every day. It might mean that you have to nod and listen to what they have to say, even if you don't agree with it. Then again, you might have a workplace culture in which it's OK to have arguments about work topics. Maybe there is a set protocol that your work uses for that.

It always comes back to the context. Consider where you are. Consider what the norms are. And then consider your response.

Let's move on to liking everyone in more general terms.

The Super Official Answer

Now, I'm sure this is what you really came here for? Do you REALLY have to like EVERYONE?

The answer is no. You don't have to like everyone.

But, like with everything, there are issues that arise when you make decisions.

What happens when you don't like someone? It's not just a simple one-sided action. When you decide that you definitely do NOT like someone, something else happens. There is an opposing force that affects you.

You still have to carry that mild, moderate or severe hatred of the other person. You still have that force within you. See, not liking someone is a strong stance to take. Notice how it feels to not like someone. Notice how that feeling changes when you rev up your dislike engine and direct it at the person of your choosing. It might feel good in the moment, but spend hours and hours thinking about how you dislike someone, and you start wasting your energy and time.

Remember: not liking someone is a choice. You are choosing not to like someone. There is no law that dictates who you should like and who you shouldn't. Even though some things feel automatic, you are the ultimate decider, the arbiter of your feelings.

How does that fact sit with you? Does it feel scary? Does it feel empowering? Often we don't even consider how much we are responsible for. We just turn to our closest peers and let them make our decisions for us. Do this at your own risk.

You have a brain and a heart that are screaming to be used. You have the power to create your feelings for other people.

So no. You don't have to like everyone.

Just always consider the consequences of your decisions.