Getting Along with Difficult People

 

If the world was perfect, we would live in families or go to workplaces where no one is misunderstood or maligned.

The world, however, is a work in progress. There will always be difficult people who make life trying.

Not being able to get along with everyone might make you feel guilty, but it is a reality. According to relationship expert Robert Sutton of Stanford University, it is not possible, or plausible, to have a backyard full of people you love.

Relationship management is difficult. We can all take a few cues from those who are smarter at it. A smart person knows that the key to keeping everyone  in his  backyard is relating to those whom he dislikes.

Smart people will accept that it is never possible to like everyone at their backyard barbecues. They recognize that they may disagree with some of their invitees because they have different values. They also realize that conflict ensues when one person tries to impose his values over another. These people learn to adjust their expectations.

They do the tough work of  bearing with those they dislike. They may not like a person’s constant criticism, but know that his presence is necessary. A different perspective may prevent them from making rash decisions. They take deep breaths to prevent themselves from acting impulsively.

Harsh as it sounds, they know that a little hypocrisy is essential for civilized living. They treat those they dislike with respect. Doing so also prevents them from exhibiting bad behavior themselves.

They think over the reasons why they do not like certain people. On hindsight, they will realize that these people  show the same traits they dislike in themselves.

They learn to voice their feelings when necessary. A smart person takes an annoying guest aside and tells him discreetly that his behavior is inappropriate. He avoids using accusatory language. He will create boundaries, excusing himself when the time comes.

Get along with everyone at your backyard barbecue with a little social savvy.

 


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  1. Elizabeth O.
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