How to love someone you don't like

What advice do you have for loving people that you don’t like? I have several people at work and social groups that I have trouble liking… sometimes for no good reason!

I know I should pray for them, and I try to, but when I’m around certain people at work or events, I find myself just not liking them. I’m sure it boils down to 99% me being judgmental and not giving them a chance, and 1% that we are just incompatible.

I actively am trying to find positive characteristics in them that I can admire and like to override my brain and open my heart more. What is a good prayer or way to do this?

Thanks! :slight_smile:

What is it that you don’t like about them? Do they complain too much? Do they plot against you? Do they harass you? Are they overbearing?

I should hope no one plots against me!

A lot of the time it is just a conflicting personality trait like you mentioned, or sometimes I feel disrespected by them, or that they generally don’t like me so how do I go about liking them? Sometimes, it’s just a bad first impression and I jump to judgment (I’m working on it!).

I have, many times, become friends with people I did not like, and usually it has been working together or time together that caused this. It’s like putting two rocks in a rock tumbler, and both come out smooth over time.

But I would like advice on how to pray to approach this, and how to openly allow myself to LIKE them, not just love and wish the best for them.

Sometimes the best way to love someone we don’t like is to stay well away from them.

By all means, look for the positive in others. This, along with prayer, is the best way to try to overcome our dislikes. But sometimes we simply have to recognise that we don’t get along with certain people and it is a kindness not to impose ourselves on them in some vain attempt to befriend them. This isn’t always the case, but it’s important to recognise when it is the better option.

Yes. Working with another does create a bond. But, I have worked with others who had serious behavioral problems; I personally don’t care to be in their presence, irregardless of any bond we may have created. In my opinion, those folks have severe mental problems (whether or not diagnosed by an M.D.), because I just can not understand their behavior towards others.

I advise you avoid folks with serious behavior disorders, you put effort into liking those you dislike for any reason other than a serious behavior order, and you pray for your enemies.

It is not necessary to feel good around everyone. However, we can say a prayer putting them and ourselves in the Lord’s heart and asking for the grace to treat them with dignity, and politely not allow them to disrespect you. It is your will to do the right thing that counts. Feelings come and go. It is also good to ask the Lord for his help to see them with His eyes.

Love is in the will. Not the emotions.

If you are not liking people for “no good reason” and you think 99% of the time it is because you yourself are being too judgmental and “not giving them a chance”…why, then, are you saying you should pray for them…when it seems you should be praying for and about yourself?


Well, I know that I should not point out the speck in another’s eye when I have a log in mine…which is why I’m asking for advice.

And yes I am praying for them as well, because that is my act of love. Even when I find that I do not like them.

The reason I say I jump to judgment is that they have qualities that are not evil or harmful, but annoying. Someone who constantly interrupts, for example. Or someone who is dismissive or hard to talk to. These are traits that I find difficult, and make someone unlikable to me- not unlovable. I realize that the only corner of the universe that I can change is myself (as Aldous Huxley says) which is why I am attempting to find a way to be more accepting and adapting.

You don’t have to like everyone. You are supposed to love them, but this doesn’t mean the gushy valentine’s day kind of love. This means you wish them well and you will try to help them if they need help. Otherwise you can stay away from them if you need to.

You might consider reading St. Therese’s Story of a Soul. If memory serves, she spends some time dealing with this very topic. It’s hard to imagine a saint finding others annoying but St. Therese mentions that several nuns got on her nerves, which was especially difficult given that they were all living together in the cloister. One nun used to fidget and make a lot of noise during quiet prayers, which St. Therese found distracting. Another nun would frown at her and be harsh to her. St. Therese wrote about how she handled these situations. She tried to see these nuns as God saw them and to blitz them with extra love and friendship. In other words, she would go out of her way to smile and say nice things to the nuns she disliked most. I hope you find it as edifying as I did. You could also try asking St. Therese to pray for you.

Story of A Soul, Chapter VII

I feel that when I am charitable it is Jesus alone who acts in me; the more I am united to Him the more do I love all my Sisters. If, when I desire to increase this love in my heart, the demon tries to set before my eyes the faults of one or other of the Sisters, I hasten to call to mind her virtues, her good desires; I say to myself that if I had seen her fall once, she may well have gained many victories which she conceals through humility; and that even what appears to me a fault may in truth be an act of virtue by reason of the intention. Story of A Soul, Chapter IX

St. Terese Liseaux

They, like you, are made in God’s image and likeness. By looking at them with scorn, you would, in a way, be looking at Christ himself with scorn.


Each human person has a special dignity imparted to him or her by the Divine. Personal dignities must be preserved.

I view the thoughts I have for them in the same way I think Jesus would view me (and the rest of the world). He was perfect, as such every single person he came in contact with would have seemed messed up or annoying, yet he loved them (us) more fully than anyone else could. I try to imitate Jesus by loving others in the same way he has modeled that by loving me. Basically understanding the other person is doing the best they can within the limits of their brokenness just as I am doing the same.

Good luck with this trial in your life.

I once had a similar problem… Most of my work colleagues,and most social friends ,we’re so very different to myself, there were no similarities whatsoever, they were into cars, football,gambling on horse racing, alcohol, just nothing at all, but I had to seem vaguely interested ,
I was more family orientated, home renovation. Etc, but I realised that I wasn’t obligated
To like them, you don’t have to love anyone, just be polite and helpful if you can,
Try to reach out and try to find like minded people to yourself, I still only have one real friend,like minded to myself,

Pray for them and try to see them as beloved children of God, like yourself. If this is difficult, try imagining them as brothers, sisters, sons and daughters etc. of others-- they have families, loved ones and people who love them, too.

When I found myself impatient with customers (having worked in the public sector for 26 years,) it helped to see them as someone else’s mom or dad, and how would I want MY own mom or dad to be treated… all people have intrinsic dignity as children of God and we should respect that.

Also, you appear to be a young person. I’m 51… My best advice is don’t dwell too much on others, especially what they think of you-- what other people think of you is *none of your business. *Stay close to Jesus.

I too am having problems with someone. The bad fact is that that someone is the Pastor of my Church. I tried to help him, at his invitation, and he could not have been more curt and rude to me. He is becoming unapproachable. Many parishioners have already left the parish because of the way he has treated them. I wrote him a respectful letter telling him the way I felt about his actions. He wrote a scathing blog as a bulletin insert. The only thing missing was the fact he didn’t say the blog was dedicated to me. Anyway to make a long story short. I don’t really dislike him, but I don’t want to be around him either. I am a member of the parish council and involved in RCIA. As soon as theses are over for the year, I am resigning. I am going to start going to another parish. So for my part, I am going with discretion as the better part of valor and just find a parish where I don’t have to interact with him. This is the way I am going to handle it.

I do not agree with that at all .

Most of the love we have for each other is emotional and because we have shared
profound values etc ;

The kind of love Jesus was talking about is having ’ compassion’ for all creatures ,even if we have nothing in common with them ,or even find them distasteful in some ways .

When we have overcome external barriers like that they are not very clean (one of my own things) ,or are 'foriegn 'or not educated formally, or some other reason which keeps us at bay ,without an emotional attachment we cannot sustain long term a close relationship .
Duty as in compassion is part of it ,but a world where we did not LOVE would be a cold and uncreative one . Only those who are incapable of LOVE of their own first, can then go on to LOVE the world .
Those who say they love the world ,but not their mother and father are not telling the whole truth .

Is going to another parish something you really want to do? It sounds like you are quite involved, and that you likely have close ties there. Should you give your pastor the power to determine whether you leave or stay at your church?

The reason I ask is that my pastor apparently has some issue with me and does not treat me well at all. I’ve asked him several times what is bothering him, that I would like to make it right, but he never responded. I have done what I could to cultivate a good relationship to him, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

It’s hard at times, but I don’t want him to decide for me (by his being negative) where I’m going to go for Mass. At the end of the day, my pastor’s opinion of me is irrelevant. It’s God’s opinion that counts, and he is not God.

Just a thought, to not allow your pastor’s personal issues to determine where you go and what you do.

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