"Please like me."
November 30, 2011 8:31 AM Subscribe
Why do I get so stressed out by the idea of confrontation, or of people being angry with me? I obsess about it for ages. How can I move past this constant need for people to approve of me?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 61 users marked this as a favorite
I was on a bus the other day and accidentally bumped into a man who turned around and began yelling at me for pushing him. I explained I hadn't meant to bump into him and I certainly wasn't pushing him intentionally, but he wouldn't stop yelling until I moved past him on the bus. I was freaked out throughout the journey until he got off.
At work, I'm leading on a project and recently made a decision that one of the others (a junior colleague called S) who's also working on it, under me, disagreed with. The decision didn't really impact on S, I thought, so I hadn't spoken about it with him beforehand. It never occurred to me that anyone else would have a problem with it and when I spoke to other colleagues they confirmed they thought I had done the right thing. Anyway, S yelled at me in front of the entire office and implied that I had lied to him. I tried to defend myself, apologized if I hadn't explained the situation clearly (though I thought I had), and sent him an email clarifying the whole thing and hoping it wasn't a problem. S hasn't replied to my email, or spoken a word to me at all for days. Another colleague implied that S is still really angry and is going around talking about how much I suck. I may have been at fault and S's concerns may be legitimate (even if I personally don't agree with them). But I've done all I can to smooth things over, and I certainly didn't LIE to anyone - and he's still acting like this. This bothers me a lot. Like as in, being unable to sleep a lot. Even though I don't particularly care for S - the idea that someone is mad at me and is, worse, talking about it - it stresses me out like nobody's business.
These are one-off incidents but show what I'm getting at I think. I usually get along well with people. But I am very meek in settings where I am not among friends (among friends I am more assertive and among family I am downright bolshy). I guess I am addicted to people "liking" me. I think it's a cultural thing - I come from a culture where what people say and think about you is important to the honour of your family etc. It's certainly not a family thing, as I am not shy about asserting myself with them at all.
I know I am not in control of the feelings of a man on a bus, or the feelings of my colleague. How do I let go and feel less stressed out? I am a huge wuss. It's not something I like about myself. I really need to get past it.