It’s never a good idea to satisfy and appease everyone. In the process, the only one left unsatisfied and unhappy will be you.
But there’s nothing wrong with being liked by most people. It doesn’t mean you’re bending over backward to please them.
So if you want to be liked by others, you better steer clear of sensitive topics like these ones:
Politics is incredibly polarizing because many people hold deeply ingrained beliefs. When you engage in political debates, the result will often be disagreements and heated arguments.
Although this is arguably truer than ever, differing political views have been a touchy subject since the dawn of time, and even now, you can easily end up behind bars in many countries.
Instead of talking about politics, focus on finding common ground and understanding others’ perspectives without trying to change their minds.
Because the truth is, you won’t change their mind. You understand that, right?
Religion is an equally or more difficult subject for many people.
Religious beliefs are personal and often tied to your identity and values. Even people that don’t believe in God(s) often link their identity to that very fact.
I mean, the ones that often talk the most about religion are atheists. And in many ways, rightfully so.
I’m an atheist who was born a Catholic, and I know firsthand that most religious people never bothered reading the Bible end to end.
If religion comes up in conversation, show respect for others’ beliefs. It’s easy.
3) Radical personal beliefs
Anywhere you look around you, there are people with some kind of radical beliefs. The Earth is flat, the elites are drinking blood, the pandemic was planned, etc.
Okay, believe what you want but don’t be surprised when others ridicule you for your beliefs.
I’m not saying they should, but holding extreme or radical beliefs that significantly conflict with societal norms isolate you from others and make it challenging to connect on common ground (unless they’re the same).
Discussions about conspiracy theories also lead to heated debates and cause people to perceive you as overly skeptical or irrational.
I believe in some conspiracies just like the next guy, but what’s the point in promoting or dwelling on such topics?
While healthy discussions about diverse opinions can be enriching, extreme or controversial views alienate others. Be open-minded and respectful of clashing viewpoints.
Let’s move on to another divisive topic.
4) Money and/or your wealth
For me, it’s easy to meet expenses. Everywhere I go, there they are!
All joking aside, personal finance is another touchy and uncomfortable topic, especially if people feel judged or compared.
It’s best to avoid probing questions about income, debt, or expenses unless the person voluntarily shares this information with you.
Boasting about your wealth, material possessions, or luxurious lifestyle also makes others feel uncomfortable or inadequate, so you should avoid bragging about these things.
I know, I know, why would you have to tone it down just that others don’t feel threatened? But the fact is, no one likes people that brag about material possessions.
5) Family conflicts
Many families have skeletons in their closets, and some have very complicated relationships between family members.
But I avoid asking about or delving into family problems unless the person initiates the dialogue about it.
It’s simply such an incredibly personal topic that can raise many eyebrows and make others dislike you if you talk about your family problems every chance you get.
Family is sacred. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
The same goes for the following thing.
6) Negative gossip
Engaging in negative gossip creates a toxic atmosphere and an uncomfortable environment in many situations.
Avoid talking negatively about others behind their backs and instead focus on positive and uplifting conversations.
I understand that gossiping is fun and something most people do every day. But think about it:
If you talk about others behind their backs, they do the same to you. How does that make you feel?
I’ve quit several jobs because the people were simply unbearable, and most of their toxicity came from gossiping about everyone and everything.
You just know they start talking about you as soon as you leave the room because you’ve seen them do it to others on many occasions.
7) Weight and appearance
Commenting on someone’s weight or appearance is also something that’s common practice. But, of course, it’s hurtful and insensitive to most people.
Body image is a personal and sensitive topic, so it’s best to keep your thoughts to yourself and avoid making judgments or comparisons.
Do you really think that the person struggling with, let’s say, obesity doesn’t know they should probably lose some weight?
8) Offensive humor
A good sense of humor does wonders for your health and lightens the mood in conversations and almost all types of social gatherings.
But if you love making insensitive jokes or comments targeting specific races, genders, religions, or other hurtful and offensive characteristics, you will alienate or marginalize others.
You could argue that people are too sensitive these days, and I’d agree with you to some degree, but I’d also argue that having good taste has never been out of style.
We’re not in the 1950s anymore; deal with it.
9) Highly specialized knowledge or skills
Geeks and nerds are more popular than ever. But do you know who they’re popular with? Other geeks.
To “regular” people, hearing you talk Klingon or hearing you discuss the latest Nvidia graphics cards isn’t that interesting, and I’d go as far as to say they cringe at you.
So if you want to be liked by other people, stop extensively discussing complex or technical topics that few people can understand. It will just distance you from others and limit the conversation’s inclusivity.
Leave the tech jargon for Reddit. The same goes for this:
10) Extreme or niche hobbies
Many people have peculiar hobbies that almost no one around them understands. For me, it’s R/C cars, e-bikes, video editing, etc. Nothing wild, but still, very niche where I live.
I wouldn’t dream about talking to my friends, family, co-workers, etc., about these. They simply don’t understand or don’t care about these topics.
And although sharing your interests is essential for building connections, discussing obscure or extreme hobbies that few people can relate to might distance you from others.
Do what I do, find like-minded people online or in associations specialized in them.
11) Past traumas
Bringing up someone’s past traumas without their consent can be triggering and emotionally harmful.
Allow people to share their experiences if they feel comfortable, but never press them to disclose such sensitive information.
And if you want to share this information with someone, make sure you know them very well and that they can handle such sensitive topics. And by this, I mean that they will keep their mouth shut.
There’s nothing worse than spilling the beans to someone only to find out later they shared your secret with anyone who would listen.
12) Unwanted advice
Offering unsolicited advice can come across as condescending and makes others feel like you’re disregarding their abilities to make decisions for themselves.
I’m always mansplaining things to my wife, but as soon as I see a blank look on her face, I know I better stop that second.
You might think you know what’s best, but you really don’t. What are the odds you’re the smartest and the most capable at any given moment? Very slim.
So unless someone asks for your advice, it’s better not to share your thoughts on what their actions should be. If you want to be liked by others, that is.
13) Intense personal rituals
Discussing highly unusual or extreme personal rituals might be met with confusion or concern by others who don’t share similar practices.
For example, expressing deeply held spiritual beliefs and rituals or experiences with the supernatural.
Or revealing specific affirmations or mantras that are deeply meaningful to you but might be challenging for others to understand or relate to, potentially leading to awkward conversations.
Whatever it is, maybe don’t share it with the world. We don’t need to know everything about you and what you do at home.
There are other topics you should probably avoid if you want to be universally liked. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have deep conversations with people.
It simply means you should know your audience better.