Why I don’t like you

Have you ever wondered why some people you just click with and others, well, you simply don’t? Some folk appear warm and some just rub you up the wrong way?

I was coming home from a Business Club networking meeting in Norwich the other day and pondered on these very thoughts. It was the first meeting after the Christmas break and people were in high spirits and catching up with each other and so the buzz was good.

Whilst I chatted to people, acquaintances, collaborators and those that wanted to speak to me undoubtedly there were some folk in the room that took an exception to me, judged me one way or another or had already formed an opinion about me previously or indeed me to them. But here’s the thing: In that room everyone was trying their best to make everyone like them… or were they?

The unwritten rules of segregation (as I like to call them)  undoubtedly differ depending on the occasion and are unique to each person. Equally the rules of connection are not necessarily equal and opposite to the rules of segregation ( sorry Einstein).

I find these rules fascinating. For instance Norwich football club supporters find unity and solidarity in there support for the team however they may not speak to each other because of a moral or political standpoint.

Thinking about Networking, everybody is there to meet people and talk to them. To be able to do this they need to create a first impression and as a result of that  impression there’s 4 outcomes that may follow:

  1. I like you and I want to talk to you further
  2. I like you but I don’t want to talk further, not now at least
  3. I don’t like you but I need to talk to you
  4. I don’t like you and I neither want or need to talk to you.

So how do you come to your conclusion? What are the rules that you apply to decide whether you put this person in bracket 1 0r 2, or 3 or 4?

I bet it’s not what Football team they support and I bet in 9 times out of 10 cases you know nothing about their political or moral view points so why would some make it to #1 and some to #4?

The thing is your Mr or Mrs #4 is someone else’s #1 for reasons only known to them because their rules are different to yours.

So what about me? Some of the things I look for to open a possible connection (in a networking context) are self belief, honesty ( I can smell a rat), humbleness, someone who perhaps can make me laugh or laugh at themselves, a smiler are a few things. There’s 100′s I’m sure.

Things I don’t like are cockiness, boastfulness – sharing achievements is one thing but boasting is another, self involvement, self righteousness are a few, arguably these and some of the above are character traits but I don’t believe that character traits are wholly what I’m talking about in this post.

What about you ? What are your rules of segregation or connection? What makes you put someone into category 1 or category 4?

As ever your comments are welcome, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


I love: Norfolk | Food | Cooking | Community | Speaking | Marketing | My Wife x | Great customer service & engagement | Running a business (or 2) | Humour

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  1. Great post Gary. I find it fascinating watching the behaviours of people in groups or crowds and their apparent reactions and crowd tactics. There is a lot to learn from just watching others – not in a voyeuristic way mind!

    I think there are values and behaviours which at face value we find are attractive and others which deter us. For me attractive is a more relevant term than like in this context.

    I find that instinct/intuition is what guides me in such situations. It may not always be rational but, at that moment in time, intuition is your most powerful ally and more closely allied to your body language than your rationale.

  2. John Wilson Smith

    Gary, having attended a multitude of meetings of all sorts over the past 71 years, the greatest problem I’ve had – mercifully infrequently – was with the persons whose tone and body language indicated that they didn’t want to know me because they didn’t know me. This is on a par with the child who says he doesn’t like spinach because he’s never tried it!
    Must be something to do with upbringing and insecurity, I suppose, and you’d have to work hard to overcome it… but is it worth the effort?

  3. I’ve heard several times that people who are together on retreats and are not allowed to speak to each other for several days form exactly the same impressions. They nearly all decide who they’d like to get to know and who they wouldn’t bother with without any real interaction taking place.
    The really fascinating thing is that when they start interacting with he people they’ve decided they @like’ they discover they have common values, events, circumstances etc.
    We really are a strange and complex species.

  4. For me, it is definitely approachability. If someone is easily available to talk to, I rate them a lot higher than if they are not. Getting over the initial few words is for me the hardest part of a conversation. After that, I have a lot more confidence. I want people to treat me as if I am worth talking to, before they do so.

    A great conversation I had at Ann Hawkins’ recent event started with me saying, “I don’t care who you are…” but I was able to carry that part off well enough that it was a good all-round sentence. That was because the person in question looked like I could talk to them without great additional effort.

  5. Networking and meeting people is such a necessary but I find that what comes out of my mouth isn’t always what I intended. I’m sure I’m not alone. Therefore I’m glad to know that people don’t always take you on first impression good or bad and love how everyone is working on trying hard to get along with most people. You get a second chance to express yourself.
    I’ve had plenty of times when I was unimpressed with an initial meeting but have been surprised once they and I warm up how well suited we are.

    • I think it’s often not what you say but the tone and manner in which you deliver it. I had a meeting yesterday and we just clicked but before I went in I was very aware it could go either way.

  6. I’ve just thought of another aspect of this. On social media (Gary and I met on Twitter so I ‘knew’ him before we met in the wet world) we don’t get all those body language signals.
    People connect on SoMe largely because of the content of their posts or updates and I’ve had friendships and business relationships for over 2 years with people I’ve never met.
    I’ve also had people I’ve never heard of approach me at meetings because, although I don’t know them, they ‘know’ me through my activity on these platforms.
    Like I said, human beans are a complex bundle of emotions, prejudices and vanities. (Actually it was Dale Carnegie who said that but I agree!)

    • We are indeed but that’s why I like to observe and comment. Imagine if we wern’t the complex bundle that we are – how boring would we be.

  7. It is said that which you do not like in others, you do not like in yourself.
    I found the title quite confrontational, as did some of my friends, and also quite upsetting because I thought Gary was aiming this at me personally.
    Maybe it should have been entitled “Why don’t you like me?” but maybe this would have felt more uncomfortable for Gary because then it is asking for a judgement upon himself. I rarely think do I like or dislike this person until there comes a time when they behave in such a way which, for me, is unacceptable, repugnant, reprehensible either morally, socially or ethically – but then this falls within my own moral, social or ethical rules and they may be upset that I don’t like their behaviour.
    That is the important point – their behaviour – not them as a person but the act, the deed, the expression. If, for instance, I don’t like a painting it doesn’t mean I don’t like the artist. I am sure I, and you, do, say and write a lot of things which people may not like, agree with, laugh at but this should not lead to them disliking me or you.
    So, like it or not, to dislike, is to deny yourself the opportunity to maybe find out more about yourself rather than disregarding that which you think you don’t like.
    LIKE = Like is kindred empathy.

  8. For me I really appreciate good self awareness. I warm to people who know what they are like and how they come across & don’t take themselves too seriously.

    Good social awareness is even better. People who are empathetic and can adapt to their surroundings.

    What I really detest is RUDE people! There is no need for it.

  9. I can only think of one person who I seriously dislike and these are the reasons:
    1. I gave her £40 for some work she never did
    2. She tried to rip me off for £50 when she sold me something for £50 and then said I had agreed to £100
    3. She invited hubbie and me to Christmas dinner and then on Christmas eve at 7.30pm got her husband to phone and cancel
    4. Gossiped to a church elder’s wife which caused me great grief and pain and to leave the church and christianity
    I would love to publish her name but as Gary and Gita know her I won’t.
    I said to Richard the other day ‘forgiveness only goes so far, then people take the piss. G-d forgives everything but I ain’t G-d’.

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