Growing up, I was always either the guy that people liked or the guy that people knew was there-- positive or neutral feelings. I was never disliked. When my friends argued, I often took the neutral standpoint. If I was brought up in conversation, people would say, "Oh he's a smart kid," or "Yeah I was in his class... I didn't know him too well."
Perhaps it was because I didn't divulge much about myself to anybody, or maybe it's because I was always either quiet or nice in most social situations. Call it artificial, but I safeguarded my secret homosexuality with a smile plastered on my face. Don't get me wrong; I disliked a good handful of people, but my reputation in high school was a positive one, and people therefore treated me accordingly.
In the past few months, however, I've met someone who, despite my smiles and hugs, spews nothing but insults about me and to me. At first, I pretended to laugh it off and continued trying to be his friend, but to no avail. Eventually, I degenerated to giving him glares and snippish comments, and it is apparent in our social group that animosity is abound.
I'm not used to this. I'm not used to someone disliking me so much. To brashly snapping at his face. To snarling about him behind his back. To actually hating somebody. Somehow I feel that my actions are justified because he never accepted my olive branches, but I know that it's still not a Christian thing to do; I'm not turning the other cheek.
A few nights ago, my friend, when in a drunken stupor, gave me some advice. He said, "I'm going to tell you something. There's always going to be somebody who hates you, and somebody who likes you. The trick is not to care. Look at me; everybody hates me. Do I care?"
I've heard this piece of advice before, but for some reason it stuck that night. Of course some people are going to dislike me if I actually show them the real me. Now my only problem is... How do I not care?