What a fine line this is to walk! We all want so much to be liked and the temptation to pretend is great just to get that approval and friendship. Most of us are nice enough naturally. You certainly are; I probably am. When you have a caring heart and an empathetic spirit, it is easy to become a doormat for people, to be gulled into doing things you know are not right or not good for you. It has taken me a long time in life to learn that I can just be me, civil and respectful, of course, but just me. It is okay if not everyone is your friend and not everyone likes or loves you. The people that will matter in your life will find you and you will know. You won’t have to pretend with them, you won’t have to act out something you don’t feel, you will just know. Then you will just be nice naturally, do things for them because you want to, give gifts, spend time, keep in touch. Sometimes it is not easy to maintain friendships, but when it is worth it, you will try. In business, nice vs. civil is sometimes hard to learn. You have to be respectful and friendly at work, but there are different boundaries at work. You don’t do things for your co-workers or subordinates that you would do for your friends, and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you aren’t likeable, just appropriate. And depending on your job, likeable isn’t necessarily what’s required. Even in your social life, sometimes likeable isn’t worth the cost. Don’t be mean, be your natural wonderful self, but don’t be nicer than you really are.