Coming back to our hometown to visit has me thinking about my previous work career here. I did not love my job, but it paid generously, there was satisfaction when the tasks were handled well, and I made a lot friends. They are friends I still have today and look forward to seeing while we are in town. But…there was the occasional personality that would rub me the wrong way. I tried to handle the situation professionally and move on. Most of the time.
One of the techniques I learned when dealing with difficult personalities at work has translated into working through challenging situations in everyday life….
Think about three positive attributes of the offending person. Either say them out loud to a friend or simply acknowledge them some way. Doing this usually helps to offset the negative feelings you may have. It can be anything…they are creative, hard-working, devoted father or mother, intelligent, good speaker, snappy dresser, funny…you get the idea. If you have the opportunity to sincerely say those positive things to the person, it may soften their feelings toward you, too. (You do know the abrasiveness works both ways…don’t you?)
I know this is kind of a “touchy-feely” thing, but try it. Unless you work in law enforcement, the military, Homeland Security or for Donald Trump [or insert name], most of the time it helps.
You may still dislike the person overall, but your interactions with them may occur with less conflict. The world can stand a little less conflict, right? On a couple of occasions, I have become friends with someone I could not stand to be around initially.
Oh, and believe me, I know I can be the “difficult” person. So be nice.