Not to brag, but being a Girls Girl is easy for me most days. I love the collective sisterhood of women that I am a part of. It is both an honor and a privilege to share life’s journey with amazing, kick-ass, uber-intelligent women. It’s not hard to want to be part of of such an awe inspiring branch of humanity.
However, there are days when my path crosses with someone who makes me flare my nostrils in distaste — like someone just tricked me into eating green beans against my will. These are women who, no matter how hard I try, I cannot find a connection with. It is in those moments that being a Girls Girl becomes a challenge. My brain says, “I don’t like them. I don’t want to root for them. Hell, I don’t even want to be in the same room with them sometimes.” How the heck can you still embody the spirit of being a Girls Girl when you would rather stab someone in the eye with a fork?
Acknowledgment Is Half the Battle
Here’s the great thing about being an adult and growing older: You realize you don’t have to be friends with everyone. It’s actually perfectly acceptable to dislike another human being. There are some people who are going to light our spirits on fire. We see them, and they make our hearts sing with joy for their very existence.
Then, there are some people who trigger the opposite reaction — people who leave you hissing like a cat in the corner. The marvelous thing about humanity is it comes in all flavors and colors of the rainbow. The personalities you encounter are either going to be a flavor you like, or they are going to be your green beans. Do not consider yourself flawed if you find that someone is not your cup of tea. Allowing yourself to accept that you are not going to like every human being is truly half the battle.
When we don’t like someone, we often find ourselves creating a caricature of them in our head. We exaggerate their mannerisms. We give them a really annoying voice. They become this larger-than-life super-villain that we now have to contend with whenever we see them. Creating this horrific alter-ego in your head can lead to reading intent or motive into a person’s actions that don’t actually exist. Everything that they did or didn’t do becomes distorted to fit the narrative in our head of what a hateful person they are. This is when you need to check yourself. Stop for a minute, and edit that person you have created in your brain. Take their actions at face value during your encounters. Don’t create motive when you have no idea if one actually exists. Make sure that you are not inventing reasons to dislike that person further.
Building Negative Coalitions
This is one that I have found myself guilty of on many occasions. Let’s say you are at a party and the person you are hating on is there. They leave early and it’s just you and your girls. What do you do? Talk about the person who left, of course! It’s human nature to want to prove yourself right — to have your feelings, however negative they may be, validated. You need to analyze their behavior with people you trust to ensure you are not the crazy one. Your girls, trying to be supportive, will most certainly wave the flag for Team You. “Girl, I saw what you were talking about the other day.” “She was being so rude to you. I was about to step in and say something if she didn’t leave.” What you have just done in a matter of moments is build a negative coalition against someone. You have created an “us against them” mentality. If there was anyone in your circle that had thought perhaps that person could be their flavor of human, they are now unlikely to allow a relation to that person happen because it could mean a negative response from the rest of the group. Instead of turning your party into a collective bitch session about the person who left, you need to let it go. When you don’t like another human being, that is your personal thing. You do not need a consensus of other people to tell you whether you are justified. You don’t need a team of people rallying to your side. Most importantly, you don’t have the right to deter anyone else from liking that person.
So, you have accepted within yourself that it is okay to not like someone. You caught yourself creating a monster out of a mild mannered person in your head, and chose to rewrite the narrative. When you and your friends get together, the only thing you say when they ask you about that girl you don’t like is, “I don’t know. We don’t seem to connect but it’s cool. I’m not gong to connect with everyone.” Look at you! Navigating your personal waters like a boss. However, we have come to what is often the hardest part for many of us: Extending the olive branch and being kind, even when everything in you says you don’t want to do it.
I want you to really think about the last time you let yourself fall into the tropes we talk about here. How much energy did you expend actively disliking someone? If you’re being honest with yourself, you will have to admit it was a metric ton, and it was exhausting. Once upon a time, I had a coworker who I wanted to punch in the face every single day. She was terrible at her job and made no qualms about the fact that she didn’t want to be there. I had no authority to fire her, and the powers-that-be seemed content to just let her coast by. This led to me picking up the slack and taking on extra work that I shouldn’t have had to do. At one point in time, we didn’t talk for several months because I made my disdain of her quite clear. Let’s be real; I was downright nasty to her. To this day, I am not proud of my behavior during those months. However, one day I realized I couldn’t keep going into the office everyday, tiptoeing around this girl. It was making my life miserable because I was spending so much time and energy making her and myself miserable by being a jerk. My behavior was not going to change the fact that I didn’t like her, nor was it going to get her to change who she was. So, I extended an olive branch. We found a few things on which we could connect. In the end, she still sucked at her job. I still had to do extra work, but I was in such a better space not dragging that anger around with me everyday. We were never going to be best friends, but we made a space that worked for us. She eventually quit and went on to do amazing things. She is in the news, running a successful business, selling books and pretty much crushing it at being an amazing woman. She taught me to be kind even when I didn’t want to be. I am her friend on social media and I cheer for every one of her successes, because she is a girl, and I’m a Girls Girl even on the days when it’s hard.
Theda Vallee is an author, blogger, and all-around kick-ass Girls Girl. Follow her on Facebook and visit her website! www.thedavallee.com