Unless you’re a genetic anomaly, it’s likely you will meet people you don’t like throughout your lifetime. Whether it’s your mother-in-law or one of your colleagues, you’re bound to come across someone you simply don’t click with.
According to Deep Patel, author of the book A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success, it helps to remember nobody’s perfect. That includes you.
In a blog post for Entrepreneur.com, Patel highlights some tips successful people use to deal with people they don’t get along with. After all, it’s unlikely you’ll simply be able to avoid people you don’t like — in fact, Patel argues if you restrict who you can work with, you are only limiting yourself.
Instead of burying your head in the sand, try and shift your perspective in the ways successful people do. Here are some of his tips.
As much as we hope to like everyone we meet, it often simply isn't the case. Patel says the first step to dealing with the people you don't click with is accepting nobody gets on with everyone, and that's ok. It doesn't mean you're a bad person, and it doesn't mean they are either (not necessarily, anyway.)
Patel says it's important to remember your own emotions are important, but ultimately you have control over how you react to situations. People will only drive you crazy if you allow them to. So don't let your anger spin out of control.
If someone is rubbing you the wrong way, recognise those feelings and then let them go without engaging with the person. Sometimes just smiling and nodding will do the trick.
The key, Patel says, is in treating everyone you meet with the same level of respect. That doesn't mean you have to agree with a person you don't like or go along with what they say, but you should act civilised and be polite. In doing this, you can remain firm on your issues but not come across like you're attacking someone personally, which should give you the upper hand.
If you don't get along with someone, there's no reason to blame anyone. There's every chance you're clashing for reasons that are out of your control. Patel says you should broaden your perspective on situations, because more often than not a disagreement is probably a misunderstanding. If not, and you really do fundamentally disagree, then try and see it from their perspective.
Try not to overreact, because they may overreact in return, meaning things escalate quickly and fiercely. Try to rise above it all by focusing on facts, and try to ignore how the other person is reacting, no matter how ridiculous or irrational. Concentrate on the issue, Patel says, not the person.
Usually, the way we communicate is more important than what we actually say. If someone is repeatedly annoying you and it's leading to bigger problems, Patel says it's probably time to say something.
However, confrontation doesn't have to be aggressive. Patel recommends you use 'I' statements, such as 'I feel annoyed when you do this, so could you please do this instead.'
Being as specific as possible will make it more likely the person will take what you're saying on board. It will also give them a better opportunity to share their side of the story.
Sometimes it might just be easier to let things go. Not everything is worth your time and attention. You have to ask yourself whether you really want to engage with the person, or your effort might be better spent just getting on with your work, or whatever else you're doing.
Patel says the best way to figure this out is weighing up whether the issue is situational. Will it go away in time, or could it get worse? If it's the latter, it might be better expending energy into sorting it out sooner or later. If it's just a matter of circumstance, you'll probably get over it fairly quickly.
If you need some space, take it. You're perfectly within your rights to establish boundaries and decide when you interact with someone. If you feel yourself getting worked up, take a time-out and get some breathing space.
Patel says physically separating yourself can help emotionally disconnect from the situation, meaning you can look at it logically without getting caught up in your emotions.
Friends have a great ability to bring a level of objectivity to a situation. This means they're valuable to have around when you find yourself dealing with someone tricky. Patel says they can help you think about how best to deal with a difficult situation, and they're also good to vent to. You might find that's enough, and you don't need to take the matter any further. If not, you may feel validated in how you feel, and you can confront the person you don't like knowing other people have your back.
If you find someone is constantly belittling you or focusing on your flaws, don't bite. The worst thing you can do is be defensive. Patel says this will only give them more power. Instead, turn the spotlight on them and start asking them probing questions, such as what in particular their problem is with what you're doing.
If they start bullying you, call them out on it. If they want you to treat them with respect, they have to earn it by being civil to you, too.
If someone is really getting on your nerves, it can be difficult to see the bigger picture. However, you should never let someone else limit your happiness or success.
If you're finding their comments are really getting to you, ask yourself why that is. Are you self-conscious about something, or are you anxious about something at work? If so, focus on this instead of listening to other people's complaints.
You alone have control over your feelings, Patel says, so stop comparing yourself to anyone else. Instead, remind yourself of all your achievements, and don't let someone gain power over you just because they momentarily darken your day.
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