Here is an unwavering fact of life: at some point in your life, no matter what, someone (or maybe lots of someones) is going to severely dislike you. They may even dislike you so much to the extent that they will use the word ‘hate’ when describing how they feel about you. Now, before your minds trail off to far-flung pastures, let me just briefly clarify the kind of hate I’m talking about. This is the lowercase kind of hate.
Not violent. Mostly vibe-y. It really just kind of annoyingly hangs around like that errant fly that you just can’t get rid of for several days. I’m talking about super-intense, off the charts dislike. The severe aversion some people may have to all (or most! or some!) of the things that make you you. Either way, it’s pretty much an unavoidable rite of passage in life and growing up, especially if you’ve got any kind of existence online at all. So we’ve gotta learn to deal.
It will probably surprise about 1.5 percent of you that I have some experience being hated. Something about me, especially when expressed in verbal form, just tends to rub some people in all the wrong ways. I have way too many close friends who have told me this. I have a somewhat strong personality and occasionally strong opinions which are, unsurprisingly, a lot easier to hate than your average mild-mannered, get-alongness kind of attitude. Shocker.
But here’s a special caveat that’s important to note if you happen to be one of those people who has been ‘hated on’ one time too many: Not being hated does not necessarily mean that you are a super awesome person. It just means that you are not controversial. ACTUALLY, LET ME CLARIFY: Not being hated ever can SOMETIMES mean that you really are a super awesome person who is consistently wonderful and genuine and just a bucketful of sunshine AND HOW IN THE WORLD COULD ANYONE EVER POSSIBLY HATE YOU, BAMBI’S SECOND COUSIN? But, other times, if you’ve never even been mildly hated then it means that you’re basically human oatmeal. It means that no one has ever even noticed you enough to realize how mind-numbingly blah you actually can be. But, hey, it also means you’re lucky!
And, just because I don’t want to come off as an actual hate-mongerer (i.e. someone who condescendingly thrives on people hating me,
i.e. Kanye West), let me just very briefly debunk some common ‘hate-talk’ that I don’t ever actually subscribe to.
“If you’re pissing people off you must be doing something right!”
Fine, sometimes. Sometimes people will hate you because you’re saying something true but uncomfortable. But a lot of times it can also mean that you were just being a class-A, disrespectful jerk. An easy tell? When almost everyone you know is telling you that “no, you really were just being a super horrible jerk idiot and maybe it’s time to own up now.” Pretty much a sure-fire indication.
Haters gonna hate!
Well, yeah, OK. Sometimes haters really are just going to hate because hating is a part of their genetic makeup and they’re just going to hate everything you ever say or do no matter what. Sometimes that happens. But often times haters are just decent but misinformed people who rush to judgement or may have a short fuse. In which case haters gonna hate a little but maybe not if you actually opened a dialog with them and schooled them? Remember this?
I used to have a REALLY hard time with the amount of hateful vibes I would get, especially so when I started blogging. While this blog has thankfully created a major influx of amazing conversations, comments, tweets, and emails in it’s short lifespan, I’ve also gotten a fair share of negative backlash. So, if you happen to be a fellow, unknowing, occasional hate-magnet like me, it might be worth your time to ask yourself these short questions to help you get out there and live your life, as hate-free as possible. It’s been helpful to me, for what it’s worth.
Why do people hate you?
You’re a nice person, right? I mean, sure, you can be a little sassy on occasion but you’re not by any means a terrible person. You couldn’t possibly have done or said anything worthy of amassing that much blood-curdled hate from people. Look, sometimes hate is general, misguided, and highly impersonal. Other times it can be extremely specific. Either way, you can probably boil it down to one specific sentiment which you feel like people might be having a problem with. Usually people ‘hate’ you because you’re being annoying about something.
Are you being annoying?
- Nope. They just hate me.
Eh. Somewhere out there in the world is some ridiculous freak who thinks baby laughter, sunshine, a cool autumn breeze, adorable kitten videos, and chocolate are annoying. Screw ‘em.
- Yes, and I do it on purpose.
Well, then you know you’re going to be hated from the get-go. You may actually be enjoying it a little.
- Yes, but I’m not doing it on purpose and now I feel horrible.
If it was an accident and it’s really got you torn up you can do one of two things. You can clarify your intentions, own up to your mistake, and apologize to anyone you’ve offended directly. Or you can just accept that no one’s perfect and you did an annoying thing which we all occasionally do and which got you hated by someone. It happens to all of us. Don’t beat yourself up about it, BUT FIX IT.
Is being hated just another life hazard that you cannot avoid so long as you are being yourself?
So, let’s say you’re a feminist or an environmentalist which are two groups of people who are statistically severely hated. These can be some overwhelmingly powerful, defining factors when it comes to who you are, what you say, and how you carry yourself. Your personality identifies with a group of people who are actively trying to change the system. A group with unpopular opinions, stubborn goals, and marginalized identities. A group that constantly re-examines traditional thinking and can make people very uncomfortable. A lot of people are just going to want to shoot the messenger or blindly hate on you. So if you’re just being you and that inspires hate but harms no one then, once again, screw ‘em.
But I’m not an activist or anything! I’m just being regular old me and people just seem to hate me easily for my [insert-hateable-quality-here]!
Oh, ok! You’re just out there, living your life, embracing your hate-able self in broad daylight. You’re freakishly obsessed with antique cars. You don’t know how to tell a joke. You’re always an hour late to everything. You’re extremely self-absorbed. You always always ALWAYS forget to pay people back. You’re always ecstatically happy. You tend to brag a little too much. You buy every new gadget the minute it comes out even though you clearly don’t need it. You’re a self-proclaimed ‘yogi.’ You love your dog so much that you treat it better than a human infant. Or whatever.
Look, here’s what it comes down to: you either care or you don’t. That’s it. If you care enough about this hate-trend you’ve inspired and it really seems to bother you then maybe try changing that hate-able tendency so that whichever group of people or specific person you want to impress starts liking you.
And, just as a personal a-side, you have to know that possessing any of the above or other ‘annoying’ qualities doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with you or who you are–just how that particular quality strikes people. And that arrangement can be one tricky tightrope act. Some people really will just hate you no matter what. Why go around pandering to someone else’s idea of what constitutes a ‘good person’ when, in less than two seconds, you could probably come up with something equally hate-worthy about them? I’m not telling you to hate people back, I’m just saying that he who does not possess a single hate-worthy attribute shall cast the first trolly comment.
I mean, someone who doesn’t really know me just comes out of nowhere and starts hating me? And that’s the kind of person I’m supposed to work ultra-super hard to win over? Eh.
When All Else Fails: Embrace the Sweet, Hilarious, Unstoppable Wave of Hate
Look, sometimes it can be downright hilarious and even healthy for you to realize that, no matter what amount of snide, hateful comments get thrown your way, you just can’t stop pathologically being yourself. While some will dislike you to the max for it, odds are that more than triple the amount of people will find it charming and unique. If being who you are is causing harm to people and offending people on a basic level then that’s one thing. But if you just happen to have one of those things that seems to uncontrollably irritate a select few who cross your path just by the mere you-ness of it, and you can’t possibly imagine being anything but yourself, then embrace it. Love and cherish all that these people find hate-able within you. Jump right in to the lukewarm comfort of simply accepting who you are–quirks and imperfections and hate and all.
All my love!