the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Joy of Being Hated


I knew this day would come. I’ve been dreading it all my life.

Not that I wasn’t prepared. From childhood, I readied the weaponry and armor. I built a protective and sturdy fort as high as a mountain. I became a soldier always on guard, and for decades, I kept the danger at a distance. But in my heart, I knew the door would one day break down, or like a river rapid racing to the precipice of the Great Falls, I would fall, helpless to the current.

Today, despite all my efforts to be as likable as possible, I discovered that someone didn’t like me.  How could this happen?   Every action and response was always so carefully balanced on the scale with my need to be liked.

Who cannot like me?

“Brian doesn’t like you.” said Roger on the phone.


“I think it’s better we go to the game without him.”

“How can he not like me?  I mean, I don’t really like him that much. But why would he not like me?”

“I don’t know. He told me once that he didn’t like you.”

“Then we should bring him to game, so I can have a chance to talk to him and win him over again.”

“There’s no again. He never liked you.”

“Never?  But he only met me twice!”

“And he didn’t like you the first time.”

“What if I called him and asked him out for a beer…”

“Give it up, Neil. I didn’t want to tell you this.  I know you are sensitive. But he didn’t just say he doesn’t like you.  He said he HATES you!”


So, that’s how it ends.

hate - verb

feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone).

synonyms: loathe, detest, despise, dislike, abhor

I’m sure somewhere in my past, others have HATED me.   I’m sure some of  you hate me.   But this is the first time that I have found an eyewitness with legitimate PROOF that another human being on this planet… despises me.  It would even stand in court.

“Guilty as charged. Brian hates your guts.” the judge would say as he slammed the gavel, after hearing all the evidence.

Some people don’t believe in Bigfoot until they see him with their own eyes. I have now seen Bigfoot. I KNOW that someone hates me.

After the initial shock to the system, I took a walk, heading out to Dunkin’ Donuts for a cup of coffee. It was a beautiful, sunny day in New York City. An ice cream truck passed by, chiming away. I expected myself to be depressed, anxious, or even sobbing over the news of being a hated man.   Instead, I found myself walking briskly, almost with a rock and roll swagger, as if a burden had been lifted off my shoulders.

“Someone doesn’t like me,” I said to myself. “Worse. Someone hates me. Someone really hates me!”

I was like the anti-Sally Field, energized by this news of hate. I felt emboldened, empowered.

Why did Brian hate me? I don’t know.   Perhaps I will never know.   But he wasn’t bored with me, or didn’t remember my name.  No, he HATED ME!  Clearly,  I had made a strong impact on him, even if was complete revulsion.  I was SOMEBODY!

When I entered Dunkin Donuts, I  ordered my usual small coffee and plain donut.

“No, wait!” I yelled at cashier, a high school girl. “I’ll have a large coffee with a jelly donut. And I want REAL milk, none of that creamer!”

Sure, my special request could have pissed her off   She might even dislike me for being pushy. But then again,  I already know someone who HATES ME.  What’s the big deal having one more?  Bring it on!


  1. Shannon akaMonty

    See, now the burden of trying so hard to be likable to *everyone* is lifted. I’m expecting a new you now. And just think of what your therapist will say!

  2. Tiff

    Like a breath of fresh air blowing fear away. Rise up and be HATED, enjoy the taste of your hater’s indignation, revel in the aroma of his anger!

  3. Chrisor

    You don’t know what you’ve been missing! As someone who came to this realization about 4 decades ago, people don’t seem to need a reason to dislike someone or even hate them. No doubt Brian is jealous of your many talents. 😉 You never cease to amuse me, Neil, and for that, I’ll ALWAYS like you!

  4. Chibi Jeebs

    It’s interesting: I’ve done a lot of work to combat the people pleasing streak I was born with, but I’m still not at a place where it wouldn’t bother me to know someone disliked (never mind hated) me. Sure, I’d likely shrug it off as a “their loss” kind of thing, but it would 99.9% bravado.

    Kudos to you, Neil! Do you give lessons? 😉

    • Neil

      Maybe if I was more emotionally involved in liking the person I would be more upset. But since I have had little interaction with this person, I can only conclude it is their neurosis.

  5. Tammy Soong

    I think you may have cracked the code. Just get one person to hate you and it’s all uphill from there. I mean, after the donut. Seems like you’ve gotta have the donut.

  6. Jules

    Funny, I have the opposite experience. I assume people dislike me and it’s a shock to find out that someone actually likes me. Okay, I’m not quite that bad but it is surprising to hear reports that someone said they like me.

  7. Linda Roy - elleroy was here

    I get that too. The whole “I don’t really like them, but why don’t they like ME?” thing.
    But kudos to you Neil! Better to be a large coffee with real milk, jelly donut fearless in the face of hatred person than to go through life getting the plain donut and wondering how much cruller the world would be for having done so.

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