This question originally appeared on Quora: How do I handle people who have a bad opinion of me?
The more good things you do, the more enemies you will have. The more you promote change, the more people who want the status quo will try to bring you down. Even Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi (actually -- especially MLK and Gandhi) had millions of people that had bad opinions of them.
In fact, if no one has a bad opinion about you, you are doing something utterly wrong.
The more you promote change, the more you promote progress, the more you try to change things for what you believe is better ... the more people will have a bad opinion of you.
It is OK if people have a bad opinion about you. Even if you are not MLK and not changing the world, someone will think you are a bad person. Someone might think you are a bad parent or a bad friend or a bad sibling. You cannot please people all the time. And optimizing for pleasing people leads to an extremely difficult life and a life that will likely have little consequence. As the only way to please everyone is to tell them nothing. Once you have views and you are trying to affect things, there will be someone who is not pleased.
The key is accepting that certain people will dislike you. That is ok. Certain people that you actually have a high opinion of might actually think you are a bad person. While regrettable, that is ok.
I once had someone I respect a lot tell me that he had no respect for me and gave me his reasons. It was very hard to hear. But I listened patiently and, at the end, told him that while he lost respect for me, I still had respect for him. Of course, I wish I could tell you there was a happy ending and that we made up and am now best friends. We didn't. I wish we were friends, but we are not.
My advice is to let it go. There will always be people who dislike you for some reason. Maybe it was miscommunication. Maybe it is a values difference. Maybe it is a misunderstanding. But most likely you will never know the true reason. Let it go. Move on. Forgive the person for not liking you. Focus on other friends.
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