In trying to be a nice person, which let’s face it is hard sometimes, especially in the face of stupidity, rudeness and just plain mean people, I have learned in the past 35 years that it really is ok to not like someone and to stop pretending otherwise.

And it’s ok to not like nice people who aren’t necessarily rude, mean or stupid. You cannot be best friends with the world and honestly who would want to be? Yes, I realize that’s spoken like the true introvert I camouflage so carefully to convince the world that I’m an extrovert, but why should you pretend to be BFFs with people who truly annoy the crap out of you, have ideologies that don’t match yours or that you just cannot stand listening to?

Isn’t it just as bad to falsely “like” people and pretend to care when they talk as just to be honest and know that you’re never really going to care about what they say, what they do or how they do it? I think so.

Now does that mean you can be rude or mean to those people or that you hope they fall off a cliff? No, it just means I don't like youstop pretending, put on your tall boots and rock on with or without their approval of your methods. Whoever “they” is will eventually get over not being able to share their passion for knitting with you hanging onto every word like gospel.

Without sounding too heartless, this message has become even more clear to me in recent weeks since I’ve met a person in another group I am a part of, NOT WORK RELATED. That doesn’t sound clandestine and sneaky at all does it? I don’t want to call out the group (not because it bothers me but because I do have SOME manners), but anyway there is a lady in this group who is just convinced we should get matching tattoos….ok not really but her level of enthusiasm for seeing me once per week borders on insanity and her perpetual joyfulness is truly annoying in the extreme.

There are very few people that I wait on tenterhooks with baited breath to see and this chick certainly isn’t one of them. But anyway, after our first meeting about a month ago she apparently tried to find me on Facebook to send me a friend request and struck out because #1 my Facebook is like Fort Knox, you can’t get to me unless we have a mutual friend somewhere and #2 I don’t want to be her friend so I feel pressured to “like” her status updates, etc! So at our regular meeting she asks why she can’t find me because she wants us to be friends, my response “because I don’t want to be found, sorry”.

I’m pretty sure in that moment I killed her puppy (NOT literally, figuratively of course) but still she looked crushed that our BFF moment was gone. The next time she didn’t ask about Facebook again, instead she brought a board game to play. I dislike board games unless I am playing them with my 9 year old and even then I’m not a huge board game fan, but I figure they come with parenthood. I’m 35 years old, not 7, so don’t ask me to play a board game or you might be disappointed. At that moment I’m pretty sure the look I gave her was the answer to whether I wanted to play, she didn’t ask again.

The next meeting I suggested some possible cooking classes for the group as a whole since I have a keen interest in the culinary and what do you know, my new BFF just LOVES to cook! Who would have known that? So she shows up the next week with her bag of cooking crap in tow and proceeds to “teach” a class on how to make funnel cakes. Was I happy. No. Will I ever be happy. No. Is this reasonable? To me yes, to you I don’t care.

So bottom line….it is ok to not want to share a special bond with every human you come across at Walmart, the gas station and walking down the street or even to want to hug them (Ms Charm & Ms Susan!), and while it’s not ok to be rude or wish them permanent injury, you can politely let people know where your personal boundaries are and maintain anonymity if that is your preference. That’s the beauty of living in a free country.

-Leah Poole, CEO of the Liberty County Chamber & CVB