krishma asks: Everyone likes me, but I still feel that they are not truly interested in me. Why?
Hi Krishma –
I’m so sorry! What an awful feeling that is! I’ve been to parties like that – all the people come up and pat me on the head and say “Nice Doggie,” but then they walk away. They don’t want to play with me, or even just get to know me. It’s a really painful feeling; sometimes I think I’d prefer it if they just ignored me completely – at least I wouldn’t be so confused!
Now when you ask me why this is going on for you, I have to say, I have no idea. When it happens to me, I suppose it’s because none of those people are really dog-lovers, or at least it’s just that they have something else their minds are on. For example, let’s say that party was actually a meeting where people decided whether or not to go into a huge business venture together. Then even if someone there really would have liked to pay lots of attention to me, they still would leave me alone while they concentrated on the numbers and stuff.
Is it possible that it’s like that for you? Are all the people around you so obsessively interested in one particular thing that they’re just not paying attention to you? For example, when Handsome was in high school, football was a really big deal there. And Handsome (even though I think he’s perfect) was a horrible football player! He didn’t even like playing it. So he wasn’t on the football team, didn’t care about it, had nothing to do with it. And because of this, it was no insult to him that, at certain times, no one paid him much attention; it’s just that all they cared about was football! What made it tolerable for him was that there were other times he did things that people actually noticed (like writing for the school newspaper). So at those times, he did matter, at least a little.
So I have two bits of advice for you, Krishma. First, try to do something that people find important and interesting. Sing, or write something great, or act, or excel at a sport, or… whatever you like (it’s really important that it’s something you like. Or better, something you love!).
But secondly, do you know what I do at those parties? The ones where I feel ignored? I go find a toy, and take it up to a person and drop it right in their lap. And I stare them right in the eye. And they instantly know that I want to play with them. And maybe half of the time, it works. They laugh, they say how silly I am, but they suddenly become interested in me.
Now can’t you do something like that? Can’t you, when no one seems interested in you, try to be more interested in them, and figure out something they’d like? Maybe you could ask someone to study with you for a test, or work out with you at a gym, or go to a movie that you know they really want to see. By doing these things, you’re making yourself more important to them.
But I have one warning for this. Some people are users. They might even be fairly nice people. But while I’m all for you reaching out to make yourself more important to others, I don’t want you to give up on your own integrity. Don’t become someone’s servant, or worse.
And remember, you might just be in the wrong environment. The things that make someone important in high school are very different from what makes them important in college, or in their 20’s. Pursue your passions, find what you find most interesting about yourself. And I’ll just bet that, eventually, you’ll find others who find that interesting too.
Good Luck, and Thanks!