I believe that every person is likeable. I believe that if I dislike a person, I just need to get to know them better. I have many stories about people that I did not necessarily care for when I first met them, but I learned to love them later. The most compelling of these is probably my story of Corey.
In high school I found a job cleaning up after some roofers. The first day that we started work a coworker and I put on some gloves and started cleaning old shingles out of the yard. Two others did the same in the front yard. After an hour or two it was clear that Hunt and Corey (the other workers) were not as committed to this job as we were, as they were playing hacky-sack behind the dumpster. The two ended up helping very little as the task progressed, which made me very mad. After Corey was a bit of a jerk when I asked him to work harder, I decided that I really did not like him very much.
The next semester I had a history class with an amazing teacher, and Corey happened to be in the class. I really didn’t pay much attention to him, so there was no drama caused over the fact that I disliked him. We went about our lives ignoring one another until one class period we broke into groups of four and did a trivia game. Corey and I were in the same group, and we rocked out, getting answer after answer correctly, building off of what the other could remember and basically dominating the game. As we ended the game and heard our high score, we reached to high-five and I said, “Corey, I used to think that you were an asshole, but I really like you now!” He laughed heartily then, amused by my bluntness. We had bonded over a silly history trivia game. I ended up growing very close to Corey.
Each time I don’t like someone, I know that I just need to get to know them better. I know this because I have gone through this experience several times, that is, becoming endeared to someone that I at one point did not like. People are so varied in their experiences, expectations, and emotional responses that I sometimes misunderstand, but (for those whom I do misunderstand) when we work through our differences, we are actually closer because we had to work at it.
All I have to do is think about what ways a person might have been hurt in the past, and I realize that we have a lot in common. Each person has hurt in their past, and I think that this should be a uniting factor for us; reason to be kind to each other rather than dislike one another. If Corey and I had not worked through our differences, my high school experiences would have been much different, and likely much more lonely.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.