Are you navigating though life by trying to figure out what everybody else thinks, wants and likes, in order to do, be and give that to them so they'll like you? This is very common, but certainly not unproblematic. Here are a few reasons why:
1. It's impossible.
You can't read minds, can you? Well, then you don't know what they are thinking. All you have is your own, made up idea of what they think, and that is what you shape your behavior after. Not the same thing. At all.
2. It's extremely unfair.
Everybody else is a lot of people. They all think, like and want different things. And there is only one of you. It's not a fair game to make one person responsible for satisfying everybody.
3. It doesn't work.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting people to like us (it's very human) but trying to be liked not the best way to actually being liked. Just think about it, who do you like and respect more: someone who is ever-changing and trying to get everyone's approval, or someone who is firmly themselves?
4. It's counterproductive.
If you want people to like you, you have to be you. Otherwise there is no you there to like. Changing to be liked is therefore futile.
5. It's manipulative.
By trying to make everyone like you, you are trying to control them and not letting them be who they are.
6. It's selfish.
Someone who is constantly adjusting to others may seem like they are doing it for the other person but they are doing it for themselves: "I want you to feel good around me because I can't stand it if you don't."
7. It's creepy.
When you are constantly changing people can't trust you. Never knowing where you actually stand can make people very uncomfortable.
8. It's dishonest.
Since it is impossible to be liked by everyone, if you try, you will automatically be inauthentic to at least some people. You will give them a false image of who you are, and simply not be genuine or truthful.
9. You're missing the point.
What most people who try to adapt to what others think don't seem to realize, is that not everyone likes being adapted to! It can be super annoying, it puts a huge responsibility on others to always be in charge, and it can be really frustrating to not get any new input from you.
10. You're looking in the wrong place.
What we want from others is often what we are not giving to ourselves. Not because we can't but because we don't realize that we can. It is not someone else's job to like you, it's your job. Give to yourself what you are chasing from others, and let them be as they are.
If you recognize yourself in this pattern of constantly changing and wanting to be liked, I invite you to reflect on this question: What do I think, want and like?
A lot of people go completely blank when I ask them this question, which is of course a big part of the problem. Many of us got so used to, and extremely skilled at, tuning into other people's wants and likes, that we completely forgot how to tune into our own. It's time to turn that around!
Start with the small things, and practice asking yourself what you think and like in your everyday decisions. Ask, and listen for the answer. It might get a bit quiet, because this is the opposite of what you've been doing your entire life, but keep listening, and you will learn. Make a game out of exploring and finding out your likes, dislikes, opinions and preferences.
Then, as you get clearer and clearer on what they are, start expressing them to others.
You will find that the better you get at knowing what you think, the less it will matter what other people think.
About the Author: Linnea Molander is a dating coach, freelance journalist and blogger for Match.com.