“If everybody likes you, you’re pretty dull.” Bette Davis
Oh Ms Davis why is it that with a few cold candid, frank words you are able to stop me in my tracks and reduce me to a befuddled bundle of mixed emotions. You see I wholeheartedly agree with you, and can think of nothing worse and I mean nothing than to be considered dull; however I have a really hard time accepting the flip side of the coin; that there might actually be people out there who don’t like me. I mean I can accept people who don’t like me who don’t know me but if you know me and you don’t like me I have to wonder, I have to ask, why not? And yet often the people liked by everyone are those who don’t offend others, who are reliable, do favours without any return expectations, the people who suck it all in and never bitch about anyone. All in all what it means is that you are a ‘nice’ person. And this is a good thing in many ways but it is limiting. Because eventually, if not sooner, people take advantage of your niceness, yet now you have a reputation to maintain, an ego to feed. And the thought that someone might not like you now if you told them the truth, that you think they are rude/selfish/ hurtful/a bully/ or whatever, means that you would loose a fan.And this thought is all too much. And yet if Ms Davis is correct then all you have demonstrated in your pursuit of universal approval is that you are in fact boring, blank, blah. And what sort of a resounding endorsement is that? So I have set myself a task. No I am not going to become some sort of tv caricature of the manipulative bitch no one likes, I will try to stay true to my own beliefs and values, but what I am going to do is ensure that I am honest with myself and my motives for my behaving a particular way. If I say or don’t say something merely to protect my likability I will have to ask is it, or was it, worth it? And surely this wanting to be liked by all, this constant need of others approval or validation, is in itself indicative of a deeper issue, but one that is best left for another day. Surely having or earning the respect of others is a better goal? For the most part Bette Davis made a career out of playing roles that did not lend themselves to her being liked; in fact more often than not she played the ‘bitch’ and quite often a most unattractive one at that. Yet what a career it was. Bette Davis was many things but dull, never! Successful, yes and very much so. In 1999 the American Film Institute named her the second greatest female star of all time. (In case you’re interested, Katherine Hepburn nabbed first place.) So Ms Davis starting tomorrow I am going to be a little more honest, a little more sharp, perhaps a little less liked, but above all, from now on, I intend to be anything but dull.