Over the past week, I've had five people unfollow me on twitter. It's a natural part of twitter and platform building. Some people only follow you to get a follow back, and when you don't they promptly unfollow you. This doesn't really bother me. I want people to follow me because they find me entertaining or because they're looking to connect and socialize over mutual interests. These are the people I follow back, people with similar interests I want to get to know better.
The ones that hurt are the ones who unfollow because they find you boring, irrelevant or disagreeable. This is to be expected, you can't please everyone. It's better to just be yourself and if people don't like it, then so be it. But it's still hard not to feel a little stung. I (like most people, I think) just want to be liked. The reality that not everyone is going to like you is a hard pill to swallow.
Back in my retail days, there was a fellow coworker that just didn't like me. She wasn't overtly cruel or aggressive, but it wasn't hard to see that she wasn't fond of me. She was confrontational, always disagreeable and at every turn, condescending. She never included me in staffroom discussions and generally just gave off a judgmental, high school type mean girl vibe.
To be fair, I wasn't overly fond of her either. Her emotionally stunted, high school-esque attitude was grating, and her ego was unbearable. At one point, I remember her looking at me, completely serious, and saying that she could "pull off anything". I smiled and nodded, despite the voice in my head chanting, "no you can't! I've seen you in skinny jeans and leopard print!" Nor did it help that she was always muffin topping pretty bad. But mostly, I didn't like her because she didn't like me. I was insulted by her general attitude that I should earn her friendship.
What flabbergasted me - and still does - was how everyone else just seemed to adore her, including one of my favourite coworkers. I'd immediately adored her for her sweetness and goodwill, and yet, she loved this other self important girl, and what was more, she liked her a lot more than me.
At the end of the day, it was one of the reasons I left the job. Working in a store full of women did not do wonders for my self esteem and I picked up the broken pieces of myself and moved on. But it taught me a valuable lesson. Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason for who people will like and who they won't. There's no point in taking it personally.
I don't kid myself that I'm different or more special than anyone else. I'm just working towards a dream. I'm trying to build a successful writing career. With that comes platform building. And with both it's always two steps forward, one step back. But you have to keep moving forward, no matter how frustrating. Without it you're just standing still.
It's hard to put yourself out there and open yourself up to the criticism and judgment of others. It will always sting when people decide you aren't for them, but remember, for every five people that don't like you, there's someone that really will. And if I touch or entertain just one person, it'll all be worth it.