“I don’t understand how someone could like that person!” Ever heard this? Ever said it? The problem is thinking there is a reason why people like. People don’t like for reasons. They like for emotions.
Why People Like The Dislikable
First, consider this:
It’s not that people like other people because they’re good. They think they’re good because they like them.
Thus, the main reason why people like dislikable people is because people don’t need reasons to like people. They just do. Some positive emotional connection exists. That can be anything. It’s as different as the person.
Said even simpler, people like dislikable people is because they like them. A good emotional connection exists that does not exist with others. It’s much easier to dislike others without it. Of course, a bad emotional connection could cause it too.
The Real Surprise In Answering Why People Like
The real surprise in answering why people like though is why do people expect a reason to exist? Why do they even think a reason should exist for liking or disliking someone? It can’t just be?
Two main emotions drive this, social acceptance and security. People fear looking stupid without reasons. Questions without answers breed uncertainty and begets insecurity.
C.G. Jung declared this craving for reasons as a disease in his book, Memories, Dreams, Reflections:
Rationalism and doctrinairism are the disease of our time, they pretend to have all the answers.
Effects On Daily Business Decisions
To tame these emotions people shop for reasons. They find reasons for liking someone so they don’t look stupid and can feel secure. That’s how they come to think she’s good because they like her.
Basing decisions on these reasons though can lead to bad results. For example, consider how different we might see the advice of an advisor under these two scenarios:
- The advisor likes the employee because she’s smart, skilled and talented.
- The advisor thinks she’s smart, skilled and talented because he likes her.
Failing to see the truth of the second, decisions based on the first go on every day in business. It keeps those it likes and discards those it doesn’t. It’s how a homogeneous culture blooms.
Before making those decision though, it goes shopping for reasons. That way it can pretend to have all the answers.