Why You Should Make People Hate You
If you need a new six-month goal, try this one: make people hate you.
You read that right, even if it sounds a little crazy. Hate is an essential emotion. It gets a terrible rap—but sometimes we need it to fuel us. Have you ever rage-cleaned your house? Or worked out after an argument? It pumps us up, gets the adrenaline going and gives us a focus like no other emotion can.
I work in the world of marketing. Most of my day is spent trying to connect with a wide population in ways that are positive and appealing. It’s amazing how many things you may view as innocent or funny which may cause another person distress; it’s easy to get so worried about offending someone that the message gets watered down and becomes irrelevant.
It doesn’t just apply to marketing; it happens in our everyday life. We’re used to wanting people to like us and, by extension, our brand, business or idea. It’s tough to work hard and have another person dismiss you with a quick wave of the hand, all that time and energy cast aside with barely a second of thought. It can be soul-crushing. To avoid it, we may begin to watch what we say, weaken our arguments, soften our opinions. What was vivid becomes washed out.
If you want someone to deeply care about what you have to say, you have to understand that other people will hate and ridicule you. Passion and hate are deeply intertwined—both are necessary in fueling anything we’re devoted to. Whether you’re writing a book, creating a website, circulating a petition or pitching an idea, you need to make people feel something. And if one person hates it, chances are someone else adores it.
People aren’t compelled by tepid emotions. Lukewarm feelings won’t make someone stand behind you; to provoke passion and intensity requires an enemy. Hate is both the antithesis and the instigator. Hate gives clarity to what propels us. It tells us what drives our passion and what motivates us to action. Hate makes you speak up and declare your allegiance, and that is what you need in order to define who and what you truly believe in.
Nobody raves over things they feel so-so about. Enthusiasm is reserved for what inspires us or enrages us. Locker room pep talks require quaking floors, banging walls and pumping adrenaline. Apathy doesn’t win the game—emotion does. You will not lead an army into battle if they’re indifferent to your cause. Rather, you want the people on your side to go to war for you. You want them to stand up and declare their loyalty and passion for you and the things you’re fighting for. But to produce that devotion, you have to be ready to feel the wrath from the other side. You simply cannot have one without the other; if you take a stand on anything, you’ll draw fire from the other side.
You can’t be all things to all people, and you shouldn’t dilute your ideas (or yourself) to suit everyone. Weakening your personality, your humor or your brand doesn’t guarantee anything. (In fact, people would probably complain that you had no real vision or individuality.) Don’t get so caught up trying to appeal to the masses that you become bland. You can apologize for dumb jokes, for thoughtless comments, for bad manners. You shouldn’t apologize for taking a stand, for having an original idea or for believing something different. You have the ability to inspire people and energize them, but you will never do it unless you’re willing to make other people hate you.
Clearing your own path in this way doesn’t mean acting like a jerk to people or being dismissive of them. It’s crucial to be thoughtful—be aware and cognizant of what you’re doing. But you can’t be so scared of feelings that you’re paralyzed by them. It’s OK to have different beliefs and opinions; the world needs to hear them so that everyone around you can improve and grow. You can listen to differing opinions and not agree with them, because respect and acceptance aren’t mutually exclusive.
Unlocking this side of yourself is permission to live a life of passion. To be unafraid to speak up for yourself and to be unapologetic about your decisions and ideas. You can be colorful and opinionated (and respectful), and people will love you—enough to shout your praises from rooftops. Others will hate you—enough to make you question everything about yourself. But let them hate you—because in the end it’s better to know who’s willing to stand with you when you throw down your flag.
Heather lives in Jacksonville, FL, where she graduated with a degree in Converged Communication. She currently bartends to pay the bills, while looking for a new career in public relations. An avid sports fan, makeup hoarder, and mom of two, she survives on strong coffee and inappropriate humor. On days off you can find her dragging her kids on an adventure around town, checking out a new bar with friends, or simply wandering the aisles of Target.