I like to think of myself as a likable person. A nice, friendly, easy to get along with person.
(I'm sure if you cornered Hubster, he could tell all sorts of tales about my strong opinions and meltdowns and other things that can make me not-so-nice of a person. But I'm talking about generalities here.)
I'm pretty easy going, non-confrontational, and like I said before, nice. At least that's what I want to think.
Several months ago, I had a very difficult time during residency. I vaguely mentioned it here. Most of that difficulty was because of one person. A single person that did all they could to make my life miserable. At first, I thought this person was just a rude, unhappy person. After all, I had seen them belittle nursing staff, condescend pharmacists, humiliate medical students. But as the month progressed, the meanness, while still generalized, was more vindictive when directed towards me. And it hurt. Initially, I tried apologizing for whatever I may have done to frustrate them...not work hard enough, not study enough, whatever. But no matter how hard I worked, this person only became more difficult to work with. It got to the point they were sabotaging not only my professional appearance, but my ability to safely take care of patients. I talked to senior members of the team, without any success. By the time it came to attention of administration, I had gone off service.
Here's the point where I have to be honest. I've talked about my horrid experience with this person to my colleagues. I've mentioned their name. I did nothing to repair any of the damage that was done.
For months, I've known that someone in the hospital hated me. Luckily, being in different specialties, we haven't seen each other.
Until now. We ended up on the same service for (thankfully) a brief time. I had been dreading this for weeks. And the first day, it was every bit as awkward and painful as I thought it was going to be. This person didn't even acknowledge that I was part of the team, or even in the room.
Every instinct I had wanted to go and apologize for the terrible interaction we had so many months ago.
But I didn't. Although I may have been wrong in sharing the treatment I received with so many people, I know for a fact I did not deserve that treatment. But it is obvious that this person still can not stand me.
And this is what makes me wonder.
I've had some unpleasant interactions throughout residency. Where people just don't like me.
So, I like to think that I'm nice, likable, and friendly. But maybe I'm not as likable as I think I am. Maybe I'm not as sweet as I try to be.
I just can't stand the thought there is someone out there who doesn't like me. I know that person will never like me. I doubt there is anything I can do to change their opinion. And maybe, in this case, I'll be okay with being unlikable. Because here, the alternative doesn't feel good either.