I base this on a couple of things: firstly, throughout much of my adult life, people I have worked alongside/been friends with/dealt with/arrested have told me that this is so, and after thirty - something years of that kind of remorseless feedback, I have to admit that maybe - just maybe - there is something to it. Secondly, I find that many of my instinctive responses to world events or domestic events or even life's everyday happenings, tend to lean towards grumpy rather than calm acceptance. Coincidence? I think not, dammit.
All this makes me wonder how difficult it is to like a person such as myself, because the people I like are in my eyes usually realistic, accepting and prepared to listen. BUT, the thing about liking people (and being liked) is this; does it really matter? If not, I think I have wasted a great many opportunities to progress or simply speak my mind, for fear of upsetting the wrong person, and not being liked, and therefore being held back. This, I think, arises from an inability to really trust many people not to do something nasty to me, and ruin my immediate, mid or long term future. Unfortunately, taking the 'nice' road doesn't seem to have got me anywhere impressive (except of course in love, wherein I couldn't be happier), so I am beginning to think (grumpily) that I may have screwed up this life thing a bit.
I have worked with many people, and been supervised by some people, who were - not to put too fine a point on it; utter arseholes. Such people seem to have no difficulty being offensive and walking away, without fear of consequences, and like a meek little lamb, I have often allowed them to do so. I think I may have got that wrong. I think that, despite appearances (only yesterday a former colleague described me as having a 'tough guy' image!), I may have been too easy-going, and have allowed too many people to get away with too much. As a cop I didn't have a problem dealing appropriately with criminals and idiots, but professional relationships were always a little trickier. Since I left that job and stepped into working environments which by comparison have severe deficiencies of integrity, it's been even worse.
What seems to be a common characteristic of professionally successful or notably achieving people is an overwhelming obsession with themselves, their goals, and their entitlement to achieve their goals, no matter what. Professional athletes, for example, almost to a man/woman, when you dig just a little beneath the surface, seem to be horribly selfish, egotistical bastards. Successful business people seem to be single-minded, focused, results-oriented people. That sounds like code for twattery to me, and I don't like to go down that path; it's unnatural and I have a feeling that life would become much more unpleasant if I tried it.
The thing must be, I've decided, to strike a balance between being a 'bar steward' (bastard) and being the guy that people flock to at parties (by the way, I don't do parties: too many people). I need to develop an edginess that allows me to speak my mind without worrying about the consequences - especially when I'm in the right. It's a tricky thing to master - at least for the meek little lamb within me. Being acquiescent has got me not very much, really, but I also know that the world/universe is a random place, and sh*t does happen. I wonder if speaking the blunt truth a little more - being a little more brave - will make a difference for the better?
Trying to be liked is, therefore, a fool's errand, and it's something that despite my intentions to do otherwise, I'm seemingly programmed to pursue - unless, of course, I can set up a new habit. Perhaps it's an innate thing for humans - who have, after all, evolved (if anybody reading this believes that we were created out of dust and/or a rib, what the hell are you doing on this site? Oops I just said 'hell'...) to live in social groups where fitting in would be an effective survival strategy. It's a tough one to overcome, but there's at least one issue (work) in my life right now where I hold the moral and ethical high ground and which will entail me burning a bridge or two when I bring it up for resolution. Still; nothing ventured, nothing gained, I suppose.
Next week will see me stepping into the breech for the first time in a while, and I guess that we'll see what the other person/people are made of by virtue of their response.