It is possible to like everyone

By Hayley Devitt

You can consciously choose to like someone. It is possible; I have seen it happen.

Let me be more specific: Maybe you will not honestly like someone in the very core of your being, but you can tolerate them enough to learn to “play nicely.”

Some of my readers might be asking: Why would you need to like anyone? While it may be uncomfortable at times, abandoning your aversion to certain individuals is important in a work setting as well as when doing group projects at school.

In an environment where you must work alongside others, some things are just above personal disdain. Remember you all have a job to do, so whatever may bug you about a colleague’s personality, rise above it.

Also, deciding early that you are going to “like” everyone boosts morale. I think it is nice to have solidarity within a group even if you did not choose its members. You will be spending a lot of time with these people, so it is somewhat in your hands whether the experience is enjoyable to you or not.

For example, my little sister plays sports in high school. Although not every girl on the team is best friends with each other, they do team bonding activities that include everyone. That is a great thing to uphold, especially as girls at that age (and college age, believe it or not) can often be catty and vindictive. Simple things like having dinner together unifies them and strengthens their team work.

Another way to keep perspective on a group member that irks you is to practice mindfulness. According to an article by Cami Ostman in Psychology Today, “mindfulness is the idea that you attend to, with compassion and non-judgmentalism, whatever your experience is in any given moment.”

To me, it is about taking a second to assess a situation, get to the root of a problem and find a solution. Maybe all you have against someone is a bad first impression.

Obviously, if the person in question is doing or saying things that are detrimental to the group and its goals, it would be a good idea to have everyone sit down and work it out.

Resist thinking that liking someone against your initial feelings makes you fake or a conformist, because choosing to hate someone is only easier and does not help anyone in the long run. In reality, you are learning to be a more mature and empathetic person.

Do you think kindergarten teachers naturally love every kid in their class? That would be impossible but it does not matter. They have to teach and give attention to every child equally, even the obnoxious ones.

Think of it this way: By the same model, you can also make up your mind to dislike somebody before you know them. When meeting new people, you might think you can tell they will be horrible. However, for the sake of being the bigger person, give everyone you meet the benefit of the doubt.