Lover, Liker, Loather

I’ve decided to be a Lover.

My trip through “ScIreland” was a delight. And I knew the people I interacted with and I were divided by a common language. There were differences in Belfast, for example, not only because of the language differences but also because of the cultural differences. People who have been divided by war — or The Troubles — see life and the world differently than I do. There were differences even between the Catholic and Protestant sections of town. For example, graffiti in the Catholic section wasn’t acceptable while it was almost encouraged in the Protestant section.

Recognizing those differences I withheld judgment on a particular billboard I saw. All around Belfast were billboards with the words “Lover, Liker, Loather”. I had no idea what the billboards or the words were about, but the words captured my imagination. Was this a social commentary about The Troubles? Maybe it was an ad for a mental health center. At the time I had no way of knowing, but I like to create stories to help puzzle pieces fit into my world. So I did that with this family of billboards.

I finally decided they captured the three general attitudes people had about the world if we can so grossly categorize people. And we do lump people into big buckets of definitions like that all the time! Pigeonholes don’t work for people, other than in conversations to explore concepts. The catch is to not take your categorizations too seriously. So, given that I want to explore these three words as they apply to people’s attitudes about the world, go with me for a bit here. Ok? Ok.

I had a pretty immediate and strong reaction to these billboards. I could see the different people in my life who fit those three categories. You know those people, too.

The people who appreciate the world and the experiences they have, even if the experiences are…uh, well…trying — growth opportunities, if you will. They just seem to love themselves and everyone and everything in the world. The Lovers seek adventure and embrace it when it finds them. These are generally happy people, regardless of their circumstances.

The Likers are the people who have a comfortable life. They may not be happy with everything about it but they get along fine. They seem to accept the status quo. These people hold down the fort while the Lovers are out adventuring through the world. We all have a role in life, don’t we?

Then there are those who aren’t happy or content about anything. The Loathers grumble when the sun shines and when it doesn’t. They grumble when they are hungry and when food is put in front of them — it’s the wrong food, of course. These are the people who drag the energy of the liveliest party down, sometimes just by walking into the room. These are generally unhappy people, regardless of their circumstances.

These are the thoughts that whizzed through my brain as the bus whizzed past these billboards. I thought it was an interesting brain challenge to share with you. Then my curiosity got the better of me and I had to find out what the billboards were all about.

LOL! Well, in some ways I wasn’t too far off. But, the joke is on me. This is an ad campaign for a grocery market — LIDL (pronounced like little — with a Northern Irish accent, of course). Their tag line is “Big on Quality, Lidl on Price”. You decide how it’s pronounced. See their take on their Lidl billboard concept.

So, where do you fit into this pigeonhole of personalities, as illustrated above? Are you a Lover, Liker, or Loather? The world needs more Lovers. Can you move left a bit toward “Lover” in this pigeonhole discussion, and add more joy to the world?

‘Scuse me. I’ve gotta shift a bit here.

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