"I Do Not Like That Man. I Must Get To Know Him Better"

"I Do Not Like That Man. I Must Get To Know Him Better"

A lesson on friendship from Abraham Lincoln, Elle Woods, and Me


A few years back, I was complaining to my mom about some trivial problem with a classmate when she provided me with the quote, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” This quote comes from the one and only, Abraham Lincoln, and is something that I have been unable to get out of my head since starting college.

Since August, I have had a lot of time to meet new people, start new friendships, and continue developing friendships that I made in high school, with kids who attend college with me and kids at schools across the nation, alike. Thanks, Snapchat and FaceTime for making half much easier.

Back to my point, though. Making friends in college is different than it is in high school. We are immersed in life together for seven days a week at college, whereas in high school, we have about 40 minutes to make friends during lunch plus the little time after school or on the weekends. In college, we see people, usually, from the first thing in the morning until we go to bed. We walk to class with our friends, study together, eat together, explore together, watch TV together, and if you are unlucky enough to have gotten stuck with a communal shower (like I did), shower together. With all that time spent around other people, it is easy to become crotchety and grumpy, especially if you want just a little space. Like even for one minute. This kind of stuff builds up, and people just have bad days once in a while.

People don’t always hit it off right away. I can count on one hand the number of times that I have made a friend immediately after starting a conversation with a new person. Most people just don’t click right away. That said, I have made a lot of friends who, at first, I disliked. When I say, ‘disliked,’ I don’t mean that I hated them, but just that something about them rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t imagine that we would have much in common, or I thought that something they did was kind of annoying. Sometimes people just make a poor impression because they are insecure, nervous, or having a rough day. I don't know, maybe they miss their mom or something. There are a variety of reasons why someone might have a bad day, causing two people to not get along at first. Consider Elle Woods and Vivian Kensington from cult classic, Legally Blonde, for instance. They both had legitimate reasons to dislike each other, but even they made it work!

(Shoutout to Elle for being so wise...)

So, I encourage you, whether you are in high school, college, or beyond, to get to know the person you dislike. You probably dislike them for no real reason, and can even learn something from them. I’m not saying that you should like everybody. I certainly don’t. But I am saying that people can surprise you. So, take a risk and talk to the “rude” person. He or she is probably not rude, just misunderstood. If you don’t like someone at first, get to know them better!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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