I want everyone to like me and when they don’t I sometimes obsess about it.
I think I have it programmed into my mind somehow that the most important thing in life is whether people like you. When I take a hard look at my feelings and behavior, that’s the conclusion I come to.
I want people to like me so I try to be funny even though everyone laughs at different things.
I want people to like me so I try to be nice even though sometimes on the inside I want to kick them in the shin and insult their mothers before kicking them in the other shin.
I want people to like me so I don’t write about controversial things here, and I justify it by saying that I want to be someone who connects, rather than divides. Who participates in healing more than the tearing open of scars.
There are about 13,000 comments on this blog. About 7,000 of those are from readers, and the vast majority of them contain something nice about me.
It’s funny, because in real life when you read internet comments, it’s usually just racists and mean people rehashing political talking points like: “republitards hate women and black people and poor people!!” or “barack HUSSEIN obama is from kenya and is not real president!!” or my personal favorite: “your a moran.”
One of my biggest fears about taking my writing to a bigger platform is that a bunch of those people are going to say dickhead-ish things to me and I’m going to want them to like me, but they won’t. Ever.
I’ll probably stay awake all night thinking about them even though a really smart writer says that would be a good thing.
Despite getting overwhelmingly positive feedback (and that’s generally true for my personal life as well), I am capable of putting 95 percent of my focus on the 5 percent of people acting like cocks.
Sure, I’m a little insecure. Sure, I worry about what people think of me. Sure, I just want to be liked.
But I’m not 12 anymore and seldom act like it when I’m sober.
I know that I’m going to die and so is everyone else. I know it. And it just. doesn’t. matter.
It doesn’t matter!
Maybe I should write and say exactly what I think and feel. Exactly. Instead of being polite.
And maybe if people don’t like it, they can lick my balls.
When Bill Cosby wasn’t too busy drugging and raping women, he was saying insightful things, like: “I don’t know the key to success. But the key to failure is trying to please everybody. And also sexual assault. That’s another key to failure.”
(Half of that quote may or may not have been made up.)
The idea itself is important. That trying to please everyone doesn’t get you very far in life. Millions of people either love or hate Michael Moore. And Rush Limbaugh. And Bill Mahr. And Rachel Maddow. And Glenn Beck. And Chris Matthews. And Ann Coulter. Depending on their beliefs.
These are wildly successful political commentators and anyone with a penchant for (American) politics is going to know each person’s political bent immediately. That’s how strong (and controversial) these people’s personalities and ideas are.
Maybe it’s better to be that way?
I don’t know.
I never thought a non-Christian was going to convert to Christianity because of a screaming man holding a bible on a street corner pointing at them and yelling that they were going to hell unless they believed and behaved just like him. Who wouldn’t want to be like THAT guy!?
I never thought blowing up innocent civilians in Iraqi cafes or in American office towers was an effective way to convert people to Islam. You mean I’m not allowed to have sex here, but in Heaven, I get to have a 73-way!?!?
I never thought that smart-mouthed liberals like Mahr and Maddow were particularly good champions of social change, just like I never thought the fear-mongering and pompous tactics of conservatives like Beck and Coulter were an effective way of promoting family values and patriotism. I can barely stand the ones I AGREE with. It’s maddening.
I read something this morning. I’m not prepared to discuss it. But reading it made me question everything about my approach to life and writing. This idea that I need to always be careful about what I’m saying because I want everyone to like me and end up being a big pussy any time something controversial warrants discussion.
Life consists of issues about which not everyone agrees.
Americans used to shoot and stab one another by the thousands in open fields because they couldn’t agree on whether it was okay to enslave other humans.
Maybe sometimes you need to take a stand.
The point of sharing an idea is to put it out into the world in hopes that it, if well-conceived, will start getting kicked around other people’s heads and conversations and perhaps promote change of some kind.
Some people mean well. Others do not.
I mean well.
When I say I want to be a good man. Kind. Patient. Loving. Wise. I don’t mean “good,” like: “Oh yeah! Matt was a cool guy! He really liked beer and tequila and always made me laugh when he air humped inanimate objects at parties!”
I want to actually be good.
Maybe it doesn’t matter whether everyone likes me because A. I’m going to die, and B. We’re probably not going to meet anyway.
Maybe what is popular isn’t always right.
Maybe you really will fall for anything if you don’t stand for something.
And maybe now’s the time to figure out what that means.