It is important that people like you. It helps make your day go more smoothly. It helps you keep your job. It makes things nicer and more pleasant. But some things become less likely the more you want them. Like trying to go to sleep. If you have to get up early and need to go to sleep right away, the more you want it, the less likely you'll get it.
But you can take actions that make it more likely. For example, if you want to sleep you can take a warm bath. But you have to let go of your direct concern for the outcome you want: sleep. And any old action won't work. Counting sheep will, but thinking about your troubles won't.
This article is not about sleep. It's about your desire to be liked. You must redirect your purpose. Just like when you're trying to sleep, you can't focus directly on your purpose — on getting people to like you — because that focus will make it harder for people to like you. Focus on something else. Focus on good manners, strong integrity, and making them feel liked.
Don't try to be liked. Don't try not to be liked either. Try to do right. Try to be a decent, honorable, honest person. People will like you and admire you. And they'll really like that you aren't putting any subtle pressure on them to like you by really wanting them to.
This rule will relax you. Of course you want the boss to like you. You want your workmates to like you. You want your kids to like you. And so, if you are naturally somewhat anxious, you have some level of stress to make sure people like you. Stop worrying about it. Give up on the wish. Stop wishing it. Concern yourself with doing right. Remember the big three: Focus on good manners, strong integrity, and making them feel liked.
People deserve a thank you when they do something for you, so thank them for them, not so they'll like you. It is only right that when the boss asks you to do something that you do it willingly. Even cheerfully. That's what they're paying you to do. It is dishonorable to do otherwise. Do it for the sake of honor, not to make the boss like you. Just be a decent human being.
Liking will follow.
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.