In our lives, we are often aware of many universal truths, but it is only as we grow older that we begin to truly understand what they mean. For example, a five year old knows literally that “money can’t buy happiness”, whilst an eighteen year old knows that money can buy an iPhone. However, a twenty five year old knows that money will buy them rent, but that there is no price that makes Kyle Sandilands an appealing romantic companion.
One of the universal truths that we really begin to rediscover in our twenties is, “Not everyone will like you.” In our early teens, we understand this as a fairly obvious fact (whilst secretly hoping it can be overcome by feigning an interest in sports). However, it is when we reach our twenties that this phrase begins to morph and carry a much deeper meaning.
As we grow older, we unconsciously develop a deeper connection with people that transcends the boundaries of how often we talk to that person, how well we know them and even whether or not we will see them again. Some people just “get” you. If you are extremely lucky, they could be a lifelong friend, a lover or a family member. However, often they are that-acquaintance-we-wish-we-were-closer-with-but-time-slipped-away.
In life, our unique combination of interests, opinions and desires match us to a far more diverse array of people than we would expect. One of the most magical experiences in life is to speak to someone without doubt or fear as to whether they understand your purpose. They “get” what you’re about. They sift through your actions or words and find the truth and the meaning. Without clarification or back peddling, some people will just hear your words exactly as they escape through your heart and fill the space between your bodies.
There is a certain grace and kindness to these people in our lives. It’s almost like a precondition for humans to empathise with certain people more than others. Even if they don’t agree with you, they understand you.
However, there are those people that, no matter how long or short a period of time they have known you; just don’t understand you. Your motivators, experiences, knowledge and morals are just so vastly different that you always find yourself clarifying and re-explaining yourself until you feel like you’ve verbally footnoted an entire conversation – or just sat in awkward silence. There will always be classes of people with whom we are not compatible. Yet no matter how many times we experience it, to be completely misunderstood is one of the most infuriating and hopeless feelings in the world.
It is why we must accept that people will not always like us – because we will never always be understood. You notice it when you’re telling someone a story and they are unconsciously moving their lips because they already know what they want to say – and it doesn’t require listening to you. Or worst of all, when someone brushes off your story with a non committal laugh, assuming that you’re not serious. However, you will probably notice this phenomena the most when you run into someone who barely knows you, and the way their face contorts into the exact emotion you’re feeling directly answers the question you didn’t have to ask.
But what if we take a moment to reverse the theory? We all cast judgment upon one another everyday, even if it’s unconscious. Which means that we are all guilty of internally categorising people, for better or worse, simply because we don’t “get” them. Whilst there is no point forcing relationships with people that we are not compatible with, perhaps there is cause to remember that sometimes we simply get the wrong end of the stick.
Not everyone will like us, and we certainly don’t like everyone – for the simple fact that we can’t possibly understand everyone. Maybe their motivators aren’t clear to us. Or maybe we just think their motivators aren’t “right”. But it’s certainly easier to be forgiving of people when we just “get” them, isn’t it? Maybe, instead of resorting to the fact that “not everyone will like us”, we could all loosen the slack on each other and accept that how we see people is not necessarily who they are.
WORDS BY CYNDALL MCINERNEY. You can take a look through her other articles here.