Whether in your work or personal life, getting along with people you’re surrounded by can be challenging at best. The inability to get along with people you may not like can have a big impact on your future. In your personal life it might be tension with an in-law (or three) that adds undue stress to your marriage or other important relationships.
In business it may be that you aren’t getting along with your boss. At best, this can make your day-to-day work environment unpleasant, but this could also have a negative impact on your career as a whole. Learning to communicate and get along with others is vital to our success.
Getting along with people you don’t like doesn’t imply defeat, giving in or compromise, it’s a way of getting through life without constantly banging your head against the wall and being miserable in situations where you could, at the very least, be at ease.
So whether you’re a work-at-home parent like me or you spend your week surrounded by people in a busy office environment, here are three ways that you can use to get along with people you don’t like:
1. Take a look in the mirror
The first step to getting along with others is knowing that you can’t change anyone but yourself. It doesn’t do any good to try and change someone. In fact, this will most likely make matters worse. And trying to make someone change their behavior is nothing less than manipulation; and who likes being manipulated?
If there’s something that someone does on a regular basis that gets on your last nerve, take a look in the mirror and consider that this behavior just might be something that you engage in and aren’t particularly proud of. We’ve all done things or act in ways that we’re not happy with. And when we see others act similarly this might be cause for us to lash out or contend with this person. It’s been found that one of the main reasons people lash out is to renew a sense of confidence.
Next time “that person” (you know who they are), does something to tick you off, pause and ask yourself if what they did is really that bad or just something that hits close to home regarding your own patterns.
“Truth is everybody is going to hurt you: you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.” – Bob Marley
2. Avoid trigger topics
There’s a good reason that you don’t discuss politics or religion at a dinner party. These are sensitive topics and people tend to have very strong opinions about them. I’ve seen people get into bitter arguments because they sit on opposite sides of the fence politically speaking. Suddenly one’s accusing the other of lacking sensitivity because they voted for someone they didn’t like.
Five minutes earlier they were laughing together and now they’re making comments they can never come back from. Even when someone agrees with 90% it’s the other 10% that can set off an explosive argument.
But it’s not just politics or religion that might set someone off. Anything from how to raise your kids to what you should be eating and anything in between can induce an argument. Especially when tension already exists in a relationship.
We’ve all been guilty of intentionally pushing someone’s buttons and we know what it’s like for someone to push ours. You know exactly what to say to get someone’s goad. It might even seem amusing, but what it’s doing is creating more and more tension in the relationship.
If you want to start getting along with someone you usually can’t stand being around, consider the topics you argue over and avoid them if possible. Start taking note of some common ground you have and focus there instead.
“Never above you. Never below you. Always beside you.” – Walter Winchell
3. Stay clear on social media
There are certainly benefits to social media, but social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can also be breeding grounds for intense debates. I’ve seen people display their worst side on social media. Maybe it’s because they feel insulated since they aren’t engaging in face-to-face conversations. It’s easy to share your political views or lash out at someone because of theirs when you’re sitting behind a computer or mobile device.
If you have someone in your life you’d rather not be around, then why are you following them on social media? It’s simple to block content and “unfollow” someone on any social media platform. Continuing to tweet and comment with or about people you don’t like only adds to your stress.
So, if you’re ready to get along better with people you don’t like then follow these three steps. Not only will you have a better time being around them, you might even find enough common ground to enjoy their company. You can at least start by tolerating them, but it will never happen without effort on your part.