Why you need to stop trying so hard to be liked

by Sim Campbell

You ever heard that saying: “Nice guys finish last”?

Well, the rumors are true.

I have an interesting story about this.

I had a friend that had this excessive need to be “liked”.

He couldn’t stand conflict, he hated the dissonance that arises during argumentation, and he just needed something or someone to pamper his own ego. He hated stepping on eggshells.

He made it a goal to be universally liked by everyone.

He achieved his goal. He was “liked” by everyone.

No one really saw him as much of a threat to anything and he was “ok” to be around. Not someone you’d call on to party and not someone you’d throw out when he got there.

Funnily enough, he would go into major depressive episodes whenever he found out that someone didn’t like him. He was a typical “nice guy”. He also had no real friends and he wasn’t respected in his peer group. He had persistent problems with women.

I also have another friend who is very polarizing. He has little tolerance for bullshit and he will call you out on it. You either love him or hate him, there’s no middle ground. The people that hate him really hate him. And the people that love him really love him. Especially women.

Funny how that works.

To be “likable”, you have to choose one:

1. Authenticity

2. Insincerity

With the first one, you clearly have a line in the sand and state who you are. You speak your truth. You know who you are and what you stand for – and so does everyone else.

With the second one, you are wishy-washy on your values. As a result, you present a palatable milquetoast [timid person] to the world.

If you want to be liked (respected, rather) by the people who really matter to you, be authentic.

Authenticity when used in the right way brings respect. Respect is solid. “Likability” is hollow because it changes every second.

I get into arguments with my best friend ALL THE TIME.

My love for him may change at that moment. But my respect stays the same because he stands his ground as a damn man.

We get into arguments but we’ve been friends for 20+ years. Why? Because we bring authenticity to each other.

We have been tricked as a society to focus on being “liked”. Even social media focuses around “likes”. Saying the “right” thing at the “right” time gives you likes.

Sure, there’s likes. But where’s the respect? Do you respect everyone on your friend’s list on Facebook? Maybe, but I doubt it.

I wonder what all this need to be “liked” rather than respected is doing to us as a society.

Is this the reason why we have such an epidemic of “nice guys”?

“Nice guys” are concerned with being “likable”, not respected. That’s why they finish last.

Everyone knows when someone is putting up a front, that’s why it’s so distasteful. It’s distasteful because everyone knows that being universally liked is impossible.

You try to appeal to everyone, and end up appealing to no one.

If you’re authentic and it makes you “liked” by many people?


But being “liked” is just a bonus. It feels nice, sure. But being true to yourself feels ten times better.

You won’t have any regrets feeling like you put up a mask just to get approval from people who don’t really matter.


Sim Campbell studies the art and science of human relations and writes about millennial self-development on Unstoppable Rise.
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One Comment on “Why you need to stop trying so hard to be liked”

  1. Here in college, I'm mean and straight to a fault. Whenever there's an eyesore, I never fail to point them out in a mean way. Sadly, Everyone started hating me, especially the guys who feel threatened by my attitude. But I discovered one thing, they can backbite me, but show me respect whenever I surface.

    My class president can shout at anyone, but not me. He gives me so much respect that sometimes, I find it very uncomfortable.

    Truth is; I was true to myself and never wanting anyone to lick my butt.

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