Last Updated on June 13, 2022 by Filip Poutintsev
I didn’t care about what other people thought about me before it became mainstream. Throughout my whole childhood, the opinion of others was not relevant to me, even though my parents reminded me very frequently that I should take into account that other people, especially adults, said. I was made to believe that my way of thinking was wrong and unorthodox. Therefore when I first heard in my mid-20s that many respectful, smart and well-known people shared publicly the same views I had, I was quite surprised, even though I strongly believed that I was living my life on my terms.
We are told you should care about the opinion of others
Today every other business or personal development guru preaches about not caring what other people think about you, so this point of view is becoming mainstream.
But things are not as simple as they appear. Though not caring what other people think of you is very liberating, it has some severe downsizes that could even impact the whole society if people would actually start living like this, and not only saying it.
The biggest concern is this:
If you don’t care what people think about you, what would make you obey any social rules and moral code?
I’m not talking about breaking the laws since, for this, there’s a clear and consistent punishment. I’m talking about breaking unwritten rules and norms.
For example, why would you be nice to people, why would to respect them, why wouldn’t you verbally abuse them, why would you stand in a queue, why wouldn’t you spit on the floor in public places, and every other little thing, for which society will not judicially punish you, but as a community will not accept your behaviour?
What will come from not taking other people into account?
A typical punishment for such behaviour is social condemn and shame upon the wrongdoer. Since we live in a civilized society, people will rarely engage in anything else than a verbal argument, which will basically be them telling you that they disapprove your behaviour, so in other words, telling you what they think about out you. But if you don’t care what they think about you, why would you care if they condemn you?
You cannot ignore other people’s opinion if you want to live in a society
Such behaviour will obviously lead to difficult situations where the people who are obligated to serve you and interact with you may refuse to do it. It will become problematic to run any errands with public officers or purchase services and products. Therefore one will quickly realize that what others think about him have a lot bigger impact than what the self-development coaches claimed.
When you should care what others think about you and when you should not?
It’s mandatory to take into account what other people think of you if you want to get something from them. This is the majority of the time since most human interaction comes down to barter. Without caring about other people’s opinion, you will appear as someone who has no empathy and is not interested in them. Even though most people couldn’t care less about what others feel, it’s still important to fake it so that people will not resent you and you will be able to get what you wanted from them.
This applies to most human interactions, whether with your family, friends, spouse, boss, colleague or a shopkeeper. When we interact with these people, we will want something from them most of the time. It doesn’t always have to be something materialistic; it can be wanting to be someone’s friend or a partner. It still requires them to give something to you, and they will never do it unless they feel that you are worthy. This is where adulation comes in, and one of the biggest parts of flattering someone is to make him believe that you are genuinely interested in what he thinks. Therefore you simply can’t ignore his opinion, even if you disagree.
When you can you ignore what other people think about you?
Basically, there are two situations:
The first one is when you simply don’t need anything from that person. He may be below your level and thus cannot offer anything to you, or you are not interested in what he has. This could be because what he offers is garbage, or you just have so much of everything one could dream in life (money and fame) that you don’t need more of it.
The second situation is when the other person may be someone you would like to cooperate with, but he’s such rude and forces his opinion on you that you would rather lose the opportunity than endure all the negativity he brings to the interaction. Of course, in this situation, you have to evaluate which more important to you. You can suffer for 10 minutes and serve a jackass client, knowing that you will get $100 profit and will never see him again anyway. Still, you may not want to work for $2000 a month with a boss that will make you feel miserable every day or live with a woman that sucks all your energy just to get regular sex.