Once upon a time, when I was younger, and knew everything, I thought that it was okay to let people know I didn’t like them. I thought that being misanthropic toward people meant I was being honest. I’m an introvert, so my default setting is to not like anyone, especially when I first meet them. Therefore, if someone irritated me more than the normal why-do-I-have-to-interact-with-other-humans reaction, I would make sure they knew that I didn’t like them, using snide remarks, sarcasm, and occasionally out and out ignoring.
Yes, as an “adult,” I often acted like a 5 year old.
In my defense, I have made friends with some strange characters who didn’t have boundaries, and in the cases, the only way I found to discourage them from following me around was to be rude.
But still, that’s no reason to treat other people badly.
I had been sort of coming to that realization for awhile. I realized that the people who I admired most were kind to everyone, and didn’t treat others badly, even when they deserved it.
Then, I started work at a new place, and most everyone ignored me. They weren’t mean; just indifferent. I didn’t feel welcome, except for two people who went out of their way to be helpful and kind. I realized that the “honesty” I thought I was selling was really snake oil.
How you treat people says more about you than it does about them. What do I want my behavior to say about me? Do I want it to say that I’m judgmental, unkind, and disinterested? Or do I want it to say that I’m accepting, kind, and helpful?
I still prefer to be left alone, and it can be hard to get interested in new people, but I try to make an effort, at least to smile and have a conversation, because that’s how I would want someone to treat me.
What do you want your behavior to tell others about you?
Wonderful that you have changed your tune and others, as a result, may be more likely to reciprocate. And those who don’t… well… you focus on those who do!