Every now and again, someone crosses my path that I just don’t like. This person is invariably a woman. I don’t have any particular reason to not like them, but I just don’t. At the same time, there is something in me that wants them to like me. And we often end up becoming best friends after a period of time of extreme dislike. Ugh, what kind of a fucking weird dynamic is that?

Recently I was given the opportunity to really explore this. I was sort of online introduced to someone by a few mutual colleagues. We had to collaborate on something of a personal nature, and I immediately got irritated with EVERYTHING she was saying. Her responses felt like they were meant to intentionally annoy me. I was convinced.

However, I decided to try a phone conversation so that nothing could be misinterpreted–I know my propensity to do this. The phone chat went great and we were planning well together. Awesome.

The big day arrives and everything is going smoothly. Until it’s just not. A small miscommunication turns into proof that she’s an asshole! Like seriously, what kind of a person behaves that way? (Don’t ask for details, they’re not important and totally not the point.) I was pissed–like really red hot livid. But I knew I needed to be a bigger person, so I swept it under the rug (like a real adult). A few weeks later, I was confronted with another miscommunication with this person and I felt totally validated. SEE?! She’s awful! Ready for the weird part? All of my colleagues love her. My mentors. My closest friends. They think she’s great. And I trust them. So what gives? Here’s the thing: I don’t like this woman because she represents a part of myself that I have yet to integrate. It’s like looking at myself in the future, after I have done some work that needs to be done. It’s a constant reminder that I need to work something out.

What we dislike in other people is most often about us, NOT THEM. So next time you find yourself pointing out all the reasons you dislike someone, take that opportunity to look at yourself and figure out how it’s a reflection of your own shit. I’m off to swallow my own bitter medicine…