Who are you?
This intense desire to be liked stems from our need for acceptance and fear of rejection. When this fear of rejection becomes chronic, we can start to continuously doubt our likability, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.
To some degree, everyone engages in some impression management. Our efforts started back in childhood as we learnt how to develop typical personality patterns geared towards influencing others to like us. The renowned psychiatrist W.W. Broadbent refers to these typical patterns of relating as ‘masks’ that we wear in order to make a positive impression. Each mask has its pros and cons.
Do you employ any of these strategies in an effort to be liked, or can you identify your friends and loved ones here?
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “I’ll be anything you want me to be”
PROS: Individuals who adopt the chameleon style are skilled at adapting to circumstances with unwavering confidence and certainty. CONS: The desire for approval can be so intense they lose touch with their own needs.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ONE: Recognise that for all the people who only like it when you agree, there are an equal number of those who like it when you have an opinion. Stop to consider how you really feel before agreeing with everyone else.
HOW TO HANDLE ONE: Encourage them to speak their mind. By asking them to explain their reasons for different opinions, you give them the opportunity to evaluate their true feelings, and open the potential for them to be honest.
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “I am virtuous and righteous and I always do what I should do and so should you!”
PROS: Moralisers want to impress with their perfectionism and integrity, and their ceaseless quest for the truth can be inspiring.
CONS: They attract friends through their wisdom and insights, but their perfectionism and rather hypercritical attitude can deter many.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ONE: Remember that no one likes someone who is perfect all the time; it makes you appear inhumane. Why not sometimes yield to the thoughts of others to show your own vulnerability?
HOW TO HANDLE ONE: Arguing with them is futile. Allow them to make their opinion known, and then make yours known. Understand that it is okay to disagree and recognise that it is within our differences that we find common ground.
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “Oh, what I have done for you and I get nothing in return.”
PROS: Due to their strong ability for empathy, and the tendency to look for what’s good in others, martyrs are likable and capable of maintaining meaningful relationships.
CONS: Martyrs fear a lack of support and guidance, and can become anxious and manipulative when these needs aren’t met.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ONE: Don’t expect people to treat you as you would treat them. Sometimes martyrs expect something in return for their behaviour. If you are doing something expecting a specific response, you will be disappointed and feel cheated.
HOW TO HANDLE ONE: Don’t allow them to make you feel indebted. Always remember they chose to take the actions they did; you cannot be responsible for them.
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “Can’t you see how giving and nurturing I am?”
PROS: Red Cross Nurse personalities are responsible caretakers, givers and helpers. Their generosity automatically draws many people towards them.
CONS: When others take advantage of them, they will hide their aggression but instead become manipulative to get their way.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ONE: Help others, but not to the detriment of yourself. It is good to put others first, but not at your own expense.
HOW TO HANDLE ONE: Be appreciative of their good deeds. Don’t assume they are doing it to receive something in return. People who have these traits feel good about themselves through helping others.
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “Whatever you do, it is great!”
PROS: These people value peaceful and harmonious relationships. Their gentle, calm, and receptive demeanour attracts many people, making others feel comfortable to let their guard down. CONS: They would rather show indifference to the wishes and actions of others than risk conflict. Instead, they simply withdraw when conflict arises.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ONE: Speak your mind if someone, or something, is important to you. If you are not open and honest about your feelings you will eventually feel resentment and could jeopardise relationships with people who have no idea they have crossed you.
HOWTO HANDLE ONE: Listen to what they are saying. but listen as intently to what they are not saying. These people will not speak with their voice, but say volumes with their reactions.
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “Look how wise I am!” PROS: Gurus attract people because they seem to know the answers to everything; they are very resourceful. They do also tend to be genuine, faithful and will not let their friends down. CONS: Being introverted, logical and mainly interested in the facts their cold and calculated nature can push others away.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ONE: Try to be more personable at times. It is wonderful to have a group of followers, but just as wonderful to have one true friend who looks to you for wisdom.
HOW TO HANDLE ONE: Understand that their skills are limited to group interactions. When getting to know them understand that there may always be an unintentional distance. This distance is created by their inability to stop thinking for long enough to give their emotions room to flow.
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “See how cleverly I can put anyone down!’
PROS: These personalities tend to be very supportive and make strong allies when they have your friendship.
CONS: Be careful with these people as they are mainly interested in having control and power over you and others to hide their own insecurities and vulnerability.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ONE: Try to base your opinions on emotions rather than strategy.
You will be more content attracting a true friend than a queue of people who are afraid to go against you and therefore pretend to be your friend.
HOW TO HANDLE ONE: Don’t challenge them directly. Challenging them makes you a target. You will not change their mind so it is best to just let them believe what they want. Indeed, most of the time they are swaying their opinion to manipulate others.
MOST LIKELYTO SAY: I don’t need you or anyone else either”
PROS: Super self-sufficient people impress us with their independent thinking and ability to focus on tasks and people without distraction.
CONS: Since they prefer to rely on their own conclusions rather than reach out for help, they can come across as distant.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ONE: Making good decisions requires listening to those around you. No one is questioning your intelligence by giving their opinion. Be open to the thoughts and feelings of others.
HOW TO HANDLE ONE: Ask if you can help, but if turned down, don’t insist or take it personally. These people work better on their own: it isn’t anything lacking in you, but rather their own personality style.
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “Look how honest and authentic I am.”
PROS: These people have the ability to convince us that life is more satisfying when we follow our hearts and do what contributes to the greater good.
CONS: While their abhorrence of artificial relationships and actions are admirable, they can make us feel guilty for choosing to go with the flow.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ONE: Recognise that just because you see things in one light, it doesn’t mean that people who don’t agree are wrong or immoral. Allow people to believe and think as they do without judgement.
HOWTO HANDLE ONE: Acknowledge their point of view, but if you don’t agree give your reasons why. Don’t allow them to make you feel wrong or bad for not believing as they do; not agreeing with them does not make you any less of a person.
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “I am weak and need you to take care of me.”
PROS: Their willingness to reach out and help others in trouble is infectious, reminding us to give our energy and time to those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
CONS: These individuals tend to focus on negative experiences from the past blaming their unfortunate circumstances and the unfairness of life on their current msm powder.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ONE: Try to be positive. If you are always negative and in peril it will become draining on those around you. Eventually people will avoid being your knight in shining armour.
HOW TO HANDLE ONE: You aren’t responsible for them, or their happiness. By not making them stand on their own two feet you are doing them a disservice. It is okay to support them but don’t tackle all of their burdens. Instead trust in their own ability to help themselves.
There is nothing wrong with any of these styles, just like there is nothing strange about wanting others to like us. Being liked makes us feel valued and can help us build relationships of mutual support and respect. The danger lies in depending solely on others for our self-esteem. People are far more likely to like us if we like ourselves. So, let’s remove the invisible sign we carry around that screams, “I want you to like me!” and replace it with the words, “I like who I am.”