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Why Can’t We Be Friends??

We like to be liked.  I don’t know the science behind this and I must admit I don’t have any evidence-based empirical data to support my assumption – I just know what I know from watching people, interacting with people, and oh by the way, being a person myself.  We like to be liked – I don’t think many people would dispute this.

Though it may seem harmless, “liking to be liked” can cause some challenges on the job.  If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a person say one of the following I’d have a lot of nickels:

“They don’t like me.”

“What can I do to make her like me?”

“I just want to be friends.”

“Why can’t we be friends?”

I wish we could all like each other – but that’s probably not going to happen.

I wish all of your employees liked you – but that’s probably not going to happen.

The fact of the matter is this – you and I have to learn to work with, grow with, achieve with, and live with people we may not like and who may not like us.

Organizational performance, productivity, and results are the priority.  Being liked by everyone is not the priority.  If you’re objective is to be liked by everyone, you’ll compromise the mission and compromise your values to please people who will never like you anyway.

Here are three quick considerations for you and your team:

  1. Our individual petty differences and issues pale in comparison to achieving our mission.
  2. I don’t have to like you to work with you and you don’t have to like me – But we must respect each other.
  3. Just because a person isn’t social on the job, that doesn’t mean they don’t like you.  That could mean that’s not their focus.  Some people go to work, to work – they purposely choose to separate their social life from their professional life.

Bottom Line: We can be friends, but if we can’t, we can still work together.

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