It’s easy to dislike certain types of people. Often, the people you dislike have hurt you or someone you love. As a result, you become biased. You might say, “I don’t like doctors. They’re so arrogant! I hate church people. They’re all hypocrites.”
It’s a normal part of the human experience to like some people and not like other people. If you’ve lived long or if you’ve experienced a lot of difficulty in relationships, you may have a whole list of different types of people you don’t like. This can make it easy to judge people based on how you think they’ll act or what you suspect they’ll say.
Are You Afraid of Differences?
The problem is that these biases can prevent potential friendships before they even have a chance to start. You might look at someone and say, “She reminds me of Emma. There’s no way I could be friends with her.”
Sometimes our dislikes are formed because we fear someone who is different from us. Maybe you’ve decided you don’t like Democrats or Republicans. Maybe you’ve said that the millennial generation are a bunch of entitled whiners. Maybe you think that baby boomers are judgmental know-it-alls.
Are You Always on Guard?
In some cases, you may have formed judgements to protect yourself. For example, maybe you shared a deeply personal story with someone who gossiped about you later. It would be understandable if you said, “I can’t be vulnerable like that again.”
But closing yourself off from support makes it hard to heal. If you’re rejecting people based on what someone else did, you have no room to grow. You’re denying yourself the comfort that comes from a community that longs to wrap their arms around you. It’s not about hurting the people around you. You’re hurting yourself.
If you want to change your life and invite kind, supportive people into it, you have to be willing to do something different. That means suspending judgment and giving people a chance to show you who they are. Don’t be afraid to open your heart to someone new.
Are You Willing to Lower Your Drawbridge?
This doesn’t mean you have to let everyone into your inner circle within five minutes of meeting them. Think of your heart like a castle. Some people open the drawbridge and let anyone come walking into their lives. Some people close their drawbridge and never invite another soul in.
But you don’t have to choose between those two extremes. There’s a third option – lower your drawbridge just a tiny bit. The people who care about you and genuinely want to be your friend will wait patiently for you to lower your drawbridge and let them in. These are the types of good people you should try to surround yourself with.
Who in your life are you avoiding right now because of a past bias? Leave a comment below.