6 signs you’ve mastered the art of not needing to always be liked

Once you realize you don’t have to please everyone, that’s power. 

When we’re young, life is essentially a popularity contest. 

We tend to want to hoard people in our lives. 

As we evolve though, we gain wisdom; and wisdom means a shift in priorities. 

No longer are we overly concerned about what others think of us–or whether they like us or not. 

Our priorities and criteria for people change. We strive for authenticity, above all else. 

In this article, I’ll take you through the signs you’ve mastered the art of not needing to be liked by everyone. 

If the contents of this article resonate with you, you’re in a good place.

Let’s jump in!

1) You’re selective with your social life 

As we grow, we become more careful with our time. 

Gone are the days when we fill up our social calendars just for the sake of it, just to make the occasional appearance or painstakingly engage in small talk with acquaintances.

When we aren’t preoccupied with being liked, we choose social events based on our genuine interests rather than to please people. 

When I was younger, I’d go to nightclubs because, well, everyone else was doing it. 

But I came to realize that I never really enjoyed the clubbing experience. 

Aggressively loud music, overpriced drinks, having to scream in people’s ears to communicate–for me, it just wasn’t all that fun. 

Yet I went because I wanted to fit in.

These days, if a friend suggests that we go ‘clubbing’ I will not think twice about declining that invitation. 

Opting out of situations that don’t align with our energy levels and interests feels comfortable and natural when we are indifferent to being liked. 

When we close the door to clubbing, we open it to a whole world of other activities, ones that can stimulate our souls. 

2) You can unapologetically express yourself 

When we are caught up trying to please people, we tend to be cautious about the words we choose to impart. 

But when we stop caring what people think, we gain a sense of authenticity.

We start expressing opinions and ideas confidently, not sugarcoating them, even when we know this might ruffle some feathers. It’s liberating. 

And if you anger a few people in the process, so be it. The people who count will stay by your side. 

He wasn’t perfect, but this quote by wartime UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill has always spoken to me: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

3) You’re mindful of boundaries

People pleasers are so wary about how they come across, that others eventually catch on and even take advantage. 

When you don’t feel the need to be liked, you gain a powerful sense of freedom, something that can manifest in setting firm boundaries.

Whether it’s for your work or personal life, you know how to put your foot down and say a resolute “no”, when the situation calls for it. 

If people try to sway you from your decision, you remain steadfast, assertively communicating your limits without guilt. 

It’s your life, and you own it by consistently putting your well-being first

4) You take constructive criticism gracefully

pic1438 6 signs you've mastered the art of not needing to always be liked

When we’re preoccupied with being liked, hearing criticism might come as a shock to the system; occasionally, it can rattle us to our core. 

Why? Because we’ve spent so much time and effort trying to become well-regarded by everyone, we might think of ourselves as immune to criticism. 

When we truly grow, our perspective toward criticism profoundly changes. 

We begin to embrace feedback, using it as a means to personal growth and improvement, to refine skills and behaviors. 

Rather than striving to be the perfect person, we come to terms with the fact there is nothing more human than making mistakes. 

It’s how we bounce back that counts. 

5) You’re content with being unpopular 

Remember, if you aren’t losing friends, you aren’t growing.

Do you know someone who seems to be friends with everyone? 

Call me a cynic, but in my opinion, this category of person is lacking in true authenticity.

As we mature, we tend to become more honest with ourselves. 

The joy we might have once gotten from feeling popular gradually becomes insignificant, until it fades into the abyss completely.

We start to value inner principles, like integrity or compassion, far more than seeking constant approval from the crowd. 

6) You celebrate diversity of thought 

When it comes to people who need to be liked, conformity is the name of the game. 

They like to play it safe; they don’t often rebel or appear edgy. 

You, on the other hand, aren’t content with the status quo; the limiting nature of it puts you off.

You embrace dialogue and differences of opinion and perspectives rather than feel threatened by them. 

You prefer to be yourself and rock the boat instead of chasing the empty goal of appearing diplomatic, suppressing who you are deep down. 

You hold the same standard for other people. 

One of my heroes is the late writer and traveler Anthony Bourdain. 

Bourdain started his television career on a network show called “A Cook’s Tour,” where he ate weird and borderline disgusting food for shock value. 

This is what the producers and the network wanted: for him to engross and appall America by consuming strange stuff. 

But as Bourdain’s influence grew, so did his persona. 

No longer was he just the zany chef who dined on cobra hearts and sheep testicles. 

He began to use his platform to enlighten the world about the plights of others, of the voiceless, of the marginalized. 

Through his writing and his commanding presence on TV, he promoted the beauty of diversity, empathy for the “other”, and the act of getting out of one’s comfort zone to experience, truly experience, the foreign. 

And because of his empathy without compromise and quest for truth, he was naturally a divisive figure, upsetting people here and there. 

But to him, being disliked by a few was inconsequential–a small price to pay for a far greater cause; a cause he resoundingly achieved. 

It’s a damn shame he left us so soon. 

Final words 

My now-departed grandfather always used to tell me, “Always be true to yourself.” 

Those words become more and more relevant each day, especially when it comes to dealing with other people. 

When I was young, I was obsessed with my image. 

These days, I care more about internal gratification and enrichment than anything else. And you should too. 

Life is short, you don’t want to discover your true, internal self and desires before it’s too late. 

So get out there and strive for authenticity–and if you agitate a few people in that pursuit, so be it. 




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Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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