It’s About Who You Like, Not Who Likes You

Are you a people-pleaser? Are you always the first to volunteer for something? Do you experience a certain sense of satisfaction when you do something for someone else?

Yeah, that’s me to a T.

I think we all want to be liked (myself included) and one of the easiest ways to endear yourself to people is generosity, whether it be financial, emotional or physical. We think that people will see our kindness and that it will make them like us more. Unfortunately, that is not the truth. People will like you because of the things you do for them, not because of who you are. Worst of all, some of these people will take advantage of your kind nature and you will be so busy trying to please them that you won’t even realize it’s happening.

The other day, a friend flipped the whole thing around for me. “Why do you even want these people to like you?” she asked. “Do you even like them?”

Wait. So I was trying to get people to like me even though I might not necessarily like them? Where was the logic in that? Where was the rule stating that everyone had to like me no matter what?

Do I want to be friends with a bully? Do I want to be friends with someone I think is mean? Rude? Toxic? Fake? Selfish? Ignorant? The answer to all the above is no.

So if I don’t want to be friends with them, why would I even want them to like me? What does it say about my character if they do?

So from now on I’m following my friend’s advice. “Think about the people that you like,” she said. “The people you actually admire, who share your values, who you appreciate as a person. Those are the people whose approval you seek. Those are the people that you target as your friends. If you give, they will give back and you’ll keep on giving to each other because that’s how we take care of each other. That’s how we take care of our friends. We choose the best people for us and we nurture them.

Easier said than done, especially as you grow older and the opportunities to cultivate our friendships grow fewer and farther between and meeting new people becomes more difficult.

I’m lucky to have been able to surround myself with some really strong, intelligent and talented men and women who are above all things kind, and whose generosity seems to know no limits. These are the the people I like, the people I want to be friends with and at the end of the day, I only care about whether they like me too. (Surprisingly enough, they say yes.)

In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.

The Perfectionism Prescription

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Hi, my name is B and I’m a perfectionist. I guess that’s why I’ve always been into researching the best ways to create a life that’s organized and productive. Maybe it’s my Type A personality, or my love of office supplies, or the encouragement I received from an early age to always “do your best”- I’m not sure how I developed this passion. Needless to say, I’ve tried to focus all of this knowledge and energy into a career that involves helping other people achieve that balance. I like to think that it’s a talent of mine.

Unfortunately, “balance” isn’t always a word in the vocabularies of people like myself. Throwing 100% of yourself into everything that you do is pretty admirable, but it’s also pretty exhausting.

And while we’re on the subject of giving it your best, what does “your best” mean anyways? What does “your best” look like? Does it change as you learn, and grow, and improve yourself? What if you can push yourself to do better?

At what point in time do you reach perfectionism?

There’s a narrow path between “best” and “good enough” known as perfectionism, and it’s a rocky road on which to find yourself. On the one hand, you may want to perform well on a task because it reflects favorably on your abilities and leaves you with a sense of satisfaction. On the other hand, the fear of failing leads to a line of questioning about your capacity to complete the task at all. What if I’m not good enough? What if I’m not good at anything? Or worse- what if someone else can do it better?

This is just one example. Perfectionism manifests itself in different ways. Some people can never complete a task because they feel that it’s never good enough; it’s never truly done. Others can’t even bring themselves to begin a task because they’re so overwhelmed with their own predictions of failure.

Figuring out the value of what “good enough” means to you- and knowing when and where you can learn to lower your standards- is half the battle in combating perfectionism. Of course, for people who have been practicing being perfect their whole lives this is an accomplishment that’s easier said than done. Perfectionism is a habit that is learned over the years and learning not to listen to that inner critic is a challenge. You may want to ask yourself how you allowed that voice in your head to get so loud anyway but maybe the better question is: why are you giving it your attention?

In the end the prescription for perfectionism is really about learning how to outwit your own worst enemy: yourself.

For perfectionists who never seem to get anything done because they get caught up in the details, it may be useful to limit the number of revisions you allow yourself on a project, or delegate tasks to cut down on your initial workload. For perfectionists who never seem to accomplish anything because they just can’t get started, it may be useful to set yourself mini-deadlines, or break down a project into smaller tasks to make your to-do list a little more manageable. (I’ve got some great advice on how to do that here.)

Finally, to all perfectionists everywhere, I dare you to try at least doing one thing less than perfectly. Trust me, the world won’t fall apart. In fact, you may even surprise yourself. You may find that just simply doing your best (whatever that may mean) is just “good enough”.

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Do you struggle with perfectionism like I do? Comment below to share the story of your struggle or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com to let me know how you’re dealing with it. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, I swear. (See? I’m giving you permission to be imperfect.)