“Do you think it’s hard for a woman to be both, tough and likeable,” asks Mary.


Hilary needs to be liked to a certain extend which will allow her to become the US president. We however, don’t. At least theoretically.

Being liked is like a drug. It feels good  – for a short period of time. Soon after you need another dose. Drawing a line, saying no, telling the truth, rolling eyes, grumpy face, stubborn behaviour… building “foundation” lasts forever.

On the opposite side of being liked, standing up for yourself awaits. In my experience, for most women disagreeing presents a little hurdle we have to cope with (in one way or another). Saying what it’s right quite often brings the defensive reaction in some form of punishing (I have experienced shouting, discrediting my work, blackmailing, rumours, manipulating with gifts, etc.). And I am not saying it came from men only; women too.

My whole life I felt the pressure to be liked and approved by other people, although I have always wanted to be anything but that.


Photo: Antje Gallo

For some people disagreeing comes very naturally, for others, well we have to work on it. Like instead of saying “I need a little break” clearly expressing “I don’t like it anymore…”

Although it feels anxious, you literally feel adrenaline will eat you alive, standing up for your values is absolutely necessary. As well as not being liked. Because the other choice you have is falling for everything, and we know only dead fish follow the flow.

“Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively for women. When a man is successful, he is liked by both men and women. When a woman is successful, people of both genders like her less.”

― Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

What do you think; agree or disagree?