Wednesday,13 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1271, (19-25 November 2015)
Wednesday,13 December, 2017
Issue 1271, (19-25 November 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Entre Nous: Lemonade out of lemons

Let’s talk about better living! Our new interactive family corner aims to expand our lifestyle horizons with practical little pearls of wisdom from the editor and input from our readers

If only there was a way to make all the people we don’t like go away and live on a distant island. We would then all live in a friendly atmosphere. No one would ever be upset or feel maligned, and we would only interact with pleasant, considerate, generous people. But wishful thinking can only go so far. There are ways, however, to be smart in our social interactions.

Here are a few top tips to help you tolerate unpleasant people:

  1. Don’t ignore someone just because you don’t like them. Feeling less than affectionate towards someone might not be the worst thing. You need to accept people who have different points of view and aren’t afraid to argue. Those who challenge or provoke us often help us gain new insights. Remember, you are not perfect either, yet people still tolerate you.
  2. Take the emotion out of the situation and accept that you’re not going to like everyone. It’s normal to meet people who don’t agree with what you think. Once you realise that conflicts or disagreements are a result of differences in values, you should be able to get along with others and agree to disagree.
  3. Treat those you don’t like with courtesy. Cultivating a diplomatic poker face is important. Whatever your feelings are, remain calm. If you are rude to them, they will likely reflect it back to you.
  4. Check your own expectations. Expecting others to do as you would do sets you up for disappointment and frustration. If a person causes you to feel exactly the same way every time you see them, adjust your expectations appropriately. This way you’ll be psychologically prepared and their objectionable behaviour won’t surprise you.
  5. Put some space between yourself and the people whom you don’t like. Excuse yourself and go on your way. If this person is present at your place of work, move to another room or sit at the other end of the table. With some distance, perspective and empathy, you may be able to come back and interact both with the people you like and those you don’t.
  6. Voice your own needs. Avoid accusatory language, but, if certain people constantly tick you off, calmly let them know that their manner of behaviour or communication style is a problem for you.
  7. Turn inwards and focus on yourself. It’s important that you learn how to handle your frustration when dealing with someone who annoys you. Pinpoint the triggers that might be complicating your feelings. You may then be able to anticipate, soften or even alter your reaction. It’s always easier to change your own perceptions, attitude or behaviour than to ask someone else to change.
  8. Pause and take a deep breath. Some personality characteristics may always set you off. Take a look at what these are and ask yourself who is pushing your buttons and why. A deep breath and one big step back can also help calm you down and protect you from overreacting, thereby allowing you to proceed with a slightly more open mind and heart.

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