About To Blow Your Top? Stop and Think — About Yourself
Originally published: 04.01.13 by Bob Whipple
10 ways to get along with others and avoid simmering disputes.
When working in close proximity, human beings have a remarkable ability to drive each other crazy. The phenomenon occurs daily for most of us. Here are 10 common-sense tips that can change the pattern, so you will have better relations with others.
1. Reverse the roles
Before venting about another person, think about how that person would describe you to someone else. If you are honest with yourself, it might be a humbling exercise.
2. Don't sweat the small stuf
Most married couples fight on a daily basis over little things that become habitual annoyances. If we can just remember that the small stuff is really just that, then maybe we can relax a bit.
3. Live and let live
If a cubicle mate hums when she is happy, there is no reason to have a coronary over it. It is her outlet and way to be cheerful. If it is an unconscious habit, she will never be able to control it anyway. Buy a pair of noise-canceling headphones and play the kind of music you like. Let happy people be happy and miserable people be miserable. Focus your energy on creating your own sphere of cheerfulness rather than expecting the rest of the world to conform to your paradigms.
4. Punch out early
Find some way to get away from the petty squabbles before they bring you to the snapping point. If you cannot actually leave without penalty, take a mental break. Just go for a little vacation in your mind. Actually imagine smelling the giant pines if you love to hike. Feel the frost on your cheeks if you like to ski.
5. Share a treat
Just because someone drives you nuts is no reason to hate him all day long. Find some symbolic olive branch and waive it around. Go get two chocolate bars and give him one. Bring in a bag of his favorite coffee. When we change our body language, accentuating the positive, rather than festering about "their problem," the other person will likely respond in kind.
6. Extend trust
The reciprocal nature of trust says that you can improve people's trust in you by extending more trust to them. When we build a higher level of trust, the petty issues seem to melt away because we are focused on what is good about the other person rather than idiosyncrasies that drive us bonkers. The best way to increase trust is to reinforce (rather than punish) people who are candid with us about our own shortcomings. To do this takes emotional intelligence, and it works wonders at improving relationships.
7. Don't complain about others behind their backs
Speak well of other people as much as possible. The old adage "if you cannot say something nice about someone don't say anything at all," is good advice. When we gripe about others who are not present, a little of the venom always leaks out.
8. Stop acting like children
The lengths people go to in order to strike back at others for annoying them often resembles a food fight in grade school. Escalating e-mail notes in a kind of grenade battle is a great example of this phenomenon. It is easy to avoid these squabbles by not taking the bait. When you go back and forth with another person more than three times, it is time to change the mode of communication. Pick up the phone or walk down the hall for a chat.
9. Care about the other person
If we care enough to not fuss over little things, then we can tolerate inconveniences a lot better. What we get back from others is really a reflection of our
own vibes. If we experience prickly and negative reactions from others, we need to check our attitude toward them.
10. Have your own development plan
Start out each day with a few minutes of meditation on how to present yourself better to others. Have a list of behaviors you are trying to improve. This mindset crowds out some of the rotten attitudes that can lead you to undermine other's actions. We all have improvement opportunities.
Remember that life is short, and to expend energy bickering and griping about others really wastes your most precious resource — your time. It is much better to go through life laughing and loving than griping and hating. The good news is we have a choice when it comes to the attitudes we show other people. Make sure your choice enriches others as well as yourself.