How do people describe you? Friendly, shy, mean, kind, fake, honest, weird, cool? Do you agree? If you could, would you change the way people see you?
As I get older I see how much my personality has changed and how I have grown; in confidence, spirituality and self-awareness. However, not everyone sees this. Many of my friends describe me as funny, outgoing, kind (to people I want to be kind to), smart and annoying (sometimes). Even with all my supposedly good traits I feel like there is still more to who I am than what people want to see.
Most people who don’t personally know me would likely agree with my friends, but some only see what they want to. I usually tell people I am only kind and open to people I feel deserve to see that side of me, after all not everyone deserves to feed off of your good vibes, most people will disagree and say you should be nice to everyone or they’ll have bad perceptions of you. But why care?
People judge someone’s personality based on their first interaction with them and their external and superficial appearance. This is where the societal construct of labels comes in. Race, skin colour, dress sense; followed up by stereotypes that then allow people to decide what another person is like. They say ‘never judge a book by its cover’ yet we always do. Now obviously once someone gets to know you these preconceptions can change, but not everyone wants to see people for who they really are.
So, should you change to make people see you positively? The fact of life is not everyone is going to like you and there’s nothing you can do to change that; their opinion can only change if they allow it to.
If you were to waste all your time and energy to please others you will eventually lose yourself and no longer live your life on your own terms, then you’ll become the ‘people pleaser’, which is definitely much worse than just living for yourself with people who already like and match your energy.
But being conscious of what people think will allow you to be mindful of your behaviour and how socially acceptable your actions are. It is also an opportunity to improve some of your habits and ‘bad traits’, some might even say it helps you find true friends. I do believe when you first meet someone you should try to be positive or the best version of yourself and as long as you’re being true to you and your nature, there’s nothing else you can do and nothing you should change.
It is said you can change the way someone views you or guarantee they’ll like you with your first encounter; good posture, ask questions, eye contact and, of course, socialise.
Good posture doesn’t seem like the worst thing to do as it will also reduce back problems, so why not stand just a little straighter? Asking questions can seem like a good idea at the time but if you overdo it you can come off as obsessed and more importantly you leave yourself susceptible to being the protector or carer in the relationship. When giving someone all the attention they want it is easy for it to become routine that you don’t get as much attention.
There must be balance, you’re equally as important as they are. Looking someone in the eye is probably a good call, but sometimes it can be scary and makes you feel more self-conscious. Which intertwines with socialising- not everyone wants to talk and make new friends. There is no shame in it, sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone just isn’t what you want to do.
With the constant need to appease others the process of overjudging yourself begins; you end up judging yourself more than others do and analysing your every move. This will only drive you crazy and as you begin to develop all these new characteristics and personalities that other people like you lose your own personality and completely lose yourself.
No matter what people say we always have that part of us that wants everyone to like us and we always wish we can shape the way someone sees us, the way we can shape ourselves, but that is impossible. The best we can do is live in our own truth and focus on being a better version of ourselves each day and allow the right people to naturally gravitate towards us.
Embrace yourself: style, traits, emotions, differences, personal identification and always extend your presence because you are loved, important and worthy.
*Orinthia Lloyd is a 15-year old school student, writing in a personal capacity