Worrying about what people think is one of the most common problems in human behavior. A lot of self-help gurus suggest that you should not care about what others think of you. And, that is indeed great advice.
But the funny thing is that people care a lot less about you than you think. They care about themselves more.
People are more interested in themselves — their problems, happiness, relationships, health, work, looks, etc., etc.
Think about this: Suppose you are attending a party this evening. So you take a shower, you dress up, you fix your hair, you look your best self, and you go to the party. Why do you dress up well for special occasions like these? Yeah sure, you want to look good. But really, why? Because there are going to be other people and you want to make a better impression of yourself.
So basically, you want to look good for others.
But for a moment, think about it from their point-of-view. Aren’t they doing the same thing? They are also trying to make a better impression of themselves to others. So they dress well to attend the party as well.
When you are at the party, do you really care what the other person is wearing? No, you don’t (maybe “Yes” for some people). But all you care about is yourself. You are busy fixing your hair, dress, makeup, or whatever, making sure that you are looking good.
How to Make a Better Impression of Yourself?
After reading a bunch of books on human behavior and psychology, I have understood that people are more interested in themselves than they are in others.
So here’s what you need to do to make a better impression of yourself — be interested in other people. You don’t need to dress well to impress others. Instead, give them a compliment, ask them about their lives — their work, their health, their relationships. Show them that you genuinely care about them.
The best book ever written on human communication is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This book is filled with great insights on this topic. If you haven’t read it yet, you must. I would like to share a few lines from the book:
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.”
“Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”
“Why talk about what we want? That is childish. Absurd. Of course, you are interested in what you want. You are eternally interested in it. But no one else is. The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want.”
Why People Care Less About You
To understand this, you have to be able to think of things from their point-of-view. Just like you, other people have a lot of things going on in their lives. For instance, they might be stressed because their work-life is not going smoothly. They might be having problems with their partners. Their health might not be very sound. Do you think they really care about your life when they are going through so much in their lives? I don’t think so.
This does not mean that nobody cares about you. Of course, there are people who genuinely care for you, like your parents, your friends, your partner, maybe your kids, your grandparents, etc. But sometimes, we forget to appreciate what we have, and instead, we look for something that we cannot have.
People have no time for your problems because they got enough of their own. They don’t care about your expensive dresses, branded shoes, high-tech gadgets, super-cool accessories, or whatever. For that matter, you might be making the opposite impression on them by trying to impress them with all these things.
Stop Caring and Do This
In his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson explains that the key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more. It is giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true, immediate, and important.
“Maturity is what happens when one learns to only give a fuck about what’s truly fuckworthy.” — Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Stop caring what other people think about you. Instead, focus and prioritize your thoughts effectively on your personal values. What are the things that matter to you the most? Who are the people that genuinely care about you?
As I said before if you want to make a good impression on others, be genuinely interested in them. Ask them about their lives. Listen to what they have to say. Help them solve their problems and make their lives better.
If you are doing the right things that matter to you, do it without thinking about what others will say (unless you are committing some kind of crime). But again, people are too busy caring about their own problems. So you might as well just do it.
But make sure you are not doing it just to impress people you don’t even like.
“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” — Unknown
When you go out the next time, think about the party example I gave earlier. Observe how people behave. You can even do a little experiment: See how people react when you tell them something about yourself versus when you ask them something about them (like their outfit, work-life, relationship, a recent trip, etc.). They are more likely to be excited and happier to talk about themselves.
Remember, people care less about you and more about themselves because they are interested in themselves more.
So instead of caring (or worrying) about what people think about you, do more things that are of value to you. Be grateful for those who genuinely care for you. Appreciate them more. Don’t try to impress people you don’t like. Block the negative people from your life. Don’t judge, criticize, and condemn. Be genuine.