The Likeability Complex

We all want to be liked dont we? By our peers, at work, during interviews, by complete strangers. Its natural. Fact is rejection is not fun. Social acceptance is valued pretty early on and it begins at childhood. This is why being picked last for a team in gym, or not being invited to a birthday party, or not getting accepted for a job stings just a little in the pit of your belly. I learned in my Social Psychology class that researchers have found that pain from being excluded or feeling left out is comparable to that of actual physical pain and can really impact psychological states, think bullied individuals who turn to suicide or school shooters. It has been said that the need to belong is fundamental.

However, I would like to open up a conversation about something slightly different. A topic that I feel many women can relate to.

As young girls many of us are told how to be. Proper, clean, domestic, nice, good, cute, pretty, seen and not heard. These are reinforced throughout our childhood and roll over into our adult lives. We become scared of speaking out, worried about how we are perceived by men. We dont want to come off as angry, bitter, bitchy, etc.. So we do not risk it. We stay in jobs and don’t ask for raises, or ignore when a man in a professional setting comments on our looks or body, and keep quiet when our space is invaded. All because we don’t want to create a scene. For most of her life a womans right to self expressesion has been stifled.

So we develop this Likability Complex as I like to call it (unless the name is already taken). We want to please everyone. We want to be liked because if we are liked then we have been good and if we are good we are liked.