“I don’t get it,” she says. “I’m a nice person. I try really hard. Say what I mean. Mean what I say. Keep my promises.”
I nod. “You do. It’s one of the things I love most about you. You’re reliable, a rare quality today. It’s Flake City out there.”
“And not only that but you’re ridiculously charming. You’re something else, really. A special person.”
“Okay, you keep saying that,” she says. “But if that’s true, then why is this happening to me?”
She shows me a screenshot. It takes me a second, as always, to orient myself to which side of the conversation is her (“Are you blue bubble or white bubble?” I ask her, as she groans). But once I figure that part out, the image is depicting a chat in which someone is clearly being a jackass to her.
“Well, they’re a jackass,” I say. I shrug. “It sucks, but what are you gonna do? I have it on good authority that you’re not their only target.” I recount a few recent anecdotes, garnered from a variety of rather reliable sources.
“Okay, maybe that’s true,” she says. “But if I’m a good person, then why am I attracting jackasses?” she says.
“Honey,” I say. “You have a magnetic personality, it’s true.”
“Thanks,” she says.
“But the trouble with a magnetic personality is that being charismatic and charming attracts everyone. Nice people, mean people, everyone in between,” I say. “Having a magnetic personality also makes you a hater magnet.”
“It’s a sad fact of life. It’s a deeply human quality to want attention, connection. But even if you somehow manage to get those things, you don’t get to choose their exact character. There are always going to be a few — or a few dozen — negative experiences in the mix,” I say.
“Well, that’s no fun,” she says.
“It’s not,” I say.
“How do you manage it?” she asks.
“Better some days than others,” I joke.
She laughs. “Seriously though.”
“The key,” I say, “is figuring out which opinions matter and which ones don’t. Qualifying your haters, sure, but also qualifying your supporters. Making sure that everyone who you’re letting into your psyche, positively or negatively, is part of making the kind of changes you’re striving for. It’s less about not having haters and more about having the right haters.”
“Easier said than done,” she says.
“Like all advice, really,” I say. “But you asked.”
She laughs. “That I did.”
Making Sure You Have the Right Haters
It used to drive me insane when someone didn’t like me or expressed harsh judgement of decisions that meant the world to me. Now I take stock of the situation when it happens. I look at the source and how they are living their life:
- Are they happy where they are?
- Are they making good decisions?
- Do they generally bring value to other people?
If the answer to these 3 questions is “no,” then I take their disapproval as a neutral or even positive sign.
Sometimes having the right haters is the surest sign that you’re on the right path.
My new book is out!
Dealing with Difficult Metamours, the first book devoted solely to metamour relationships, full of strategies to help you get along better with your partners’ other partner(s).