I Don’t Like You– and that’s okay!

Let me tell you about my mama, she is one of the most endearing people you’ll ever meet.  She’s sweet, kind, sensitive, loving and will give you the duds right off her back.  She’s a saint; people who who know my mother personally will attest to that.  They might also divulge that her home is affectionately referred to as the mission.  From my earliest recollection, my mother has provided refuge and comfort to everyone from relatives, to strangers she’s adopted as such.  She does it with a smile; she does it without questioning.  She does it time and time again!

“Do you really think your mom will let me stay?”

In high school, I met a girl named Simone* in choir class with whom I quickly became friends.  After some time,  Simone shared that she was in the foster system and explained how unhappy she was.  “My mom will take you,” I assured her.  I had no hesitation and of course, I was right.  Within weeks, my mother had taken the necessary steps for  Simone to begin spending weekends with us, and she did so until her family situation improved.

Understand, though, Simone wasn’t the first of my mother’s rescues.  In fact, the reason I was so confident that she’d take Simone, was because I’d witnessed the same scenario many times before: aunts, uncles, cousins, strangers, church members– if you were in need, my mother opened her doors.  Once, she allowed a family friend suffering from cancer to spend his final days in a spare room upstairs.  He and his wife were estranged and he was dying; My mother nursed him and tried to make sure he ate, was comfortable, and had dignity during those last days of his life.  He died right there in her home.  Another time, she took in a graduate student from her church.  This young girl had made her way to America from across the sea. “She’s having trouble adjusting,” my mother told me, after I’d stumbled upon the stranger inside my mom’s house. I wasn’t sure that the arrangement would be good– there was a language barrier in addition to a cultural one.  Still my mother proceeded.  Her only concern was with assisting the young lady.  Again, this is why my mom is a saint.

My mother’s answer to how long she’ll continue to take people in.

I, on the other hand, am not.  In fact, I am very different from my mother.  While she is nice, deep down on the inside, I am pleasant, but with a definitive edge.  My mother is generous in a selfless kind of way.  I am giving, but with forethought and calculation.  Mom believes in accepting others unconditionally; I receive only people and situations that are a good fit.  Sometimes when I ponder it, I laugh at how my mother ended up with me as her child.  She has never understood my assertiveness—I have always wanted to challenge her passivity.  Her motto is “just let it go,” and she hates to talk about things that are uncomfortable.  My inclination is to push boundaries and to shout about injustice or unfairness so I’m heard!  She and I are like the east’s distance from the west.

Even still, there is one way we are similar– or, should I say, we were similar– and that is in liking everyone by default.  It’s somewhat of a courtesy, if you will,  and it is something that my mother does quite well.  My like button works good also, but now I only turn it on when I chose to.  See, you can’t grow up with a woman whose level of compassion is that high and have it not inevitably rub off—and that’s cool.  What wasn’t so cool, however, was the road it took for me to finally be comfortable with not liking people.  Being my mother’s child made that an unpleasant space.

When my inner dislike slips out.

Nonetheless, I’m proud to say I’ve gotten there; In fact, dislike and I are now respectful friends.   Today, I can say, “I don’t like her, or him,” without the least bit of daughter guilt.  And when my internal voice chides, “But Kish, they’re so nice!”, my rational voice overrides with a “so what!”  Nice people can still be unlikable, and annoying, or sneaky and so forth.  I don’t have to like people just because they’re nice.  I don’t have to like someone just because they like me, or because they want to be my friend, or because they find me interesting.  I don’t have to like someone if they’ve hurt or harmed me; I don’t have to like someone who didn’t harm me personally, but has done so to someone I love.  I don’t have to like racists, pedophiles, narcissists, liars, scammers, or people who are greedy and obnoxious.  I’m not even obligated to like other’s ill-mannered kids.  I am okay now, with being selective with who I like, even though my sweet mom is not.

One would be surprised, but this default like button is more common than people realize: just think of how children are forced to hug strangers and relatives they don’t want to, or, made to share and be friendly with kids who are mean.  Then as adults, we’re expected to be amicable with the office jerk and smile while we pull the slacker’s load.  My mother, as sweet as she is, never gave me the option of not enjoying our frequent houseguests; I never had the example of choosing to not like someone, or, of turning people away.

“So you really don’t like her?”

So now, I give myself that permission and it’s liberating, if not a bit frustrating for my mother to accept at times.  It’s not how she raised me, but it’s how I choose to be.  Even as I type this, my mother is yet sheltering another person in need.  Me, I’d much rather help someone with their rent, so they wouldn’t have to stay in my home.  But, that’s just how different we are.   And again, I’m okay with that, because I know she can have an open heart and be wonderful, and that I can be amazing, but selectively like.

* name and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.


Tell us, have you’ve ever found it difficult to admit that you just didn’t like someone?  Or, were you raised to like everyone like I was?  Let us know in the comments, we love to hear from you!


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45 thoughts on “I Don’t Like You– and that’s okay!

  1. People always assume I hate everyone since I’m not a huge talker. It’s definitely ok not to like people. If someone has bad energy, no reason to keep them around


  2. Your mum is amazing, I wish I was more like her. I understand as I get older that people come in all shapes and sized and its only fair for us to embrace them as who they are.


  3. I’m definitely with you. It’s okay not to like everyone. We all have our own feelings and thoughts and I think it’s okay. We are born differently and that makes us our own individuality.


    1. We are indeed all different. It takes growth and maturity to realize that’s okay and that it’s also okay for some people just not to be your cup of tea. Doesn’t mean you can’t respect them though.


  4. Your mother does sound like a saint and I’m sure that can make you feel like you have to live up to certain expectations. I agree that we should be given the room to decide whether or not we like someone and it’s perfectly okay not to like someone. There was a girl that my mutual friends really liked and I didn’t. She didn’t do anything wrong and there wasn’t a particular reason, I just didn’t like her. I told them so. I was cordial when she was around, but kept my distance. It worked for me.


    1. Ahhh, that’s so hard. When you really don’t have a “good” reason for not liking someone, other than you just don’t– because they’re not for you, or they’re not your type, or you two just don’t vibe. It took me years to be okay with that, but I’m glad I’ve arrived!


  5. I tend to be an introvert so people naturally think I don’t like them. I think that may be a good thing from time to time lol.


    1. Yes!!! You require people to peel back some layers or to make an actual effort for you to open up– that definitely keeps a lot of undesirables away. I wouldn’t change at all. Good things and people require effort!


  6. I usually like people instantly. When I don’t, I trust my gut, as there’s a reason I am put off by a particular person. I will still be friendly, but I don’t go out of my way to engage.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. it’s only natural as we all have our own views, values, likes and dislikes… Over the years though, I’ve learned to keep thoughts to myself and I believe that there’s power in being able to be respectful no matter the situation


    1. I’m getting BETTER at keeping my thoughts and opinions to myself. Especially with my loved ones. I have a rule though. If I see something that I think is important, I speak on it once, just to say I did my friend/family due diligence. After that, I leave it alone.


  8. I think it’s healthy to not like everyone, but it doesn’t need to be talked about and make it a big issue. When I don’t like someone I just keep my distance and move on! Don’t want to dwell on any negative energy in my life


  9. Your mother sounds like and kind loving lady. My grandmother had a good heart too she opened her home to anyone and I had many foster children then raised their children. But you could always tell when she didn’t like someone.But she was never mean and gave everyone a chance or two!!


    1. That’s funny. My mother would NEVER admit that she didn’t like someone, but my brother and me can always tell if there is someone she doesn’t care for. It is truly against her moral code to not like people, LOL!


  10. I try to give everyone a fair shake but if I don’t like you it’s usually written all over my face. There’s not many people that I don’t like but it’s no secret when there is someone.


    1. People who have the heart to take in strangers are a special breed of people– not everyone has such a giving heart like this. I don’t even know if I could do it. Yes, my mother is most definitely one of a kind. Sounds like your parents are too!


  11. Yes! 100% yes! It’s so freeing when you can just be fine with not liking something or someone. We are not for everybody and not everybody is for us and that is just fine. Thanks for sharing!


  12. I agree! it’s ok not to like each and every person as well it is ok not to be liked by each and every person around. thanks for sharing, it is important to be reminded of this

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think I’ve actually gone the other way! I used to be like “Oh I don’t really like her…” or “He’s a bit annoying…” and so on, but in the past years – of course yes as I have also started to like myself more – I have started seeing the good in people. I don’t have to want to hang out with everyone but everyone has something that I can like.


  14. Your mother sounds like such an inspiring person-I wish I could be more like that! You’re so right though, I really don’t think that everyone is supposed to enjoy each others company! I love the diversity in the world, and I can appreciate people from all walks of life, but that doesn’t mean I really want to be best friends lol! Relationships mean so much more when they are genuine!


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