I was griping to a friend about a person who just didn’t seem to like me. This guy avoided me when we were in the same place. He dismissed my ideas with a smirk and a sneer. When I reached out to him with a smile and pleasant small talk, he was cold. “What’s wrong with him?” I complained. “Is it me?”
“There are a handful of people in the world who can’t stand you,” my friend said. “You’ve run into one of them. If you’re lucky, you won’t meet very many of the others. It’s not you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Nothing, that is, except to continue try to act charitably toward this guy whenever we are together. But I realized that I didn’t need to work very hard on this relationship. And it was also helpful to know that there are other people in the world who won’t like me no matter how hard I try. I’m going to rub them the wrong way. I’ll remind them of someone who did them wrong. Who knows why. It’s good to know this in advance. I don’t have to be upset when I meet them. I’ll give them a wide berth and get on with my life.
This got me to thinking about the opposite situation—the rare person who thinks that I’m the greatest guy they ever met. They praise me to the skies. They tell others I can do no wrong. This is obviously irrational, and I make a big mistake when I take it seriously. Their over-the-top praise is as dangerous as the hostility of the people who can’t stand me. I might believe it.
And what about me? Am I one of these people for someone else—someone who can’t stand them on sight, someone who thinks they can do no wrong? Judge not, that you be not judged.