Who doesn’t want to be liked?
Being liked signals belonging, safety, and appreciation.
People like these signals, and long for them even more in a polarized society where there is a sense of danger. Polarization invites the sense of being an outsider if one can’t adhere to either side and a sense of danger if there is disagreement.
In most cases, the sense of safety and the sense of danger will not be conscious. They are looming in the background until something triggers fear or relief from it.
In most situations, human beings are trained to deal with these natural reflexes. They thus moved somehow out of awareness and into automatisms.
However, there are situations in which the desire and thus priority to be liked and the confirmation that one is being liked will be less useful.
Focusing on being liked takes energy away from being on task, pushing cooperation forward, or making unpopular decisions.
The idea isn’t to decide that being liked isn’t relevant and simply push forward. It easily creates lonely leaders trying to get everything done on their own or controlling the work that is being done in detail. To be followed leaders need followers and followers need to feel the sense of having a rewarding relationship and a sense of contributing to something they care about.
The state of these relationships is a big reason why hesitations come along with decisions.
And it’s where the desire to be liked can transform decisions and move them away from the named objective to become the objective.
A different view on coming to a decision is to inquire into the relationship and ask oneself if the relationship will be harmed by the decision. Being liked is an easy decision scheme, it seems to lead to a yes or no answer. It’s also why it is more challenging to ask oneself if the relationship will be harmed, it’s a question that requires to consider a variety of factors.