The Folly of Being Likable

Imagine yourself on a crowded bus, or a train. You’ve secured yourself a seat. Lots of people standing.

One of them is an oldish looking lady, with a few bags that look heavy.

You get up out of your seat and gesture to her that she can sit down.

Her disgruntled response: “Hey, don’t insult me. I’m not as old as I look. I can stand.”

Your response?

If you were trying to be a good person in her eyes, then you’ll be annoyed, hurt, confused. You’ll think twice before offering someone a seat again.

If you were trying to be a good person in your own eyes, you just chuckle, and move on. Next time you see an oldish and irritable-looking lady with a heavy load, you get up, without hesitation.

It doesn’t matter what you do. You can never ever make someone like you. If someone does, it’s because he/she chose to — perhaps it may have been influenced by your actions, but still, their choice.

Don’t spend your life pursuing such an unreliable, impossible objective.

Be a good person in your own eyes.



  1. Ari,

    What a lovely post! I’m always telling my daughter this. Do what’s right because it’s right and that makes you feel good, not because you think you’ll be rewarded by someone else. You said it much better than I do.

    I found you through Blogging Without a Blog. Congrats on being her NBOTW, and much luck to you!



    Kelly’s last blog post..Observing Supercars

    1. Kelly,

      Welcome to OBV! Glad you enjoyed my attempt to be succinct. We are conditioned to be such people pleasers — but yet ultimately that’s an unreliable ground to base our self-worth on.

      I look forward to getting to know you —


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