The “Five Rules” for working with people you can’t stand

Despite what our mother’s may have told us, not everyone is going to like us.

It also goes to reason that we are not going to like everyone with whom we come in contact.

And while we all know that you can’t chose your family, the same can also be said regarding your co-workers. The only difference being that while you can limit your interaction with family members to special occasions, or once a year gatherings, it is not as easy do the same when you don’t like someone at work.

The question is, how do you work with someone that, like nails being scrapped across a chalk board, rubs you the wrong way . . . or worse?

In today’s post, I will talk about the “Five Rules” for dealing with people you can’t stand.

Rule No. 1: Never Involve Others In Your Misery

It is human nature to seek confirmation that it is the other person and not you.

This means that you will likely employ a number of social tactics including rallying other people to stand with you. After all you reason, if everyone feels the way I do, I must be right.

ganging-up2The problem with this is that you cannot control how others will respond and ultimately react.

You may very well gain consensus, but in the process create a lynch mod mentality that will cast a pall over the entire office.

In the end, you might even end up being the one who is seen by everyone else as the troublemaker and ironically, at least in their eyes, become the very person about whom you are complaining.

Besides, and generally speaking, the vast majority of people do not want to get involved as they are dealing with their own challenges and frustrating personalities. So if you must vent, do so with people outside of the workplace.

Rule No. 2: We Have All Been Jerks At One Time Or Another

Without the need to consult a series of extensive studies, it is safe to say that everyone at one time or another has aggravated someone in our daily lives – even if we don’t know it.

girl-looking-in-mirrorIf you recognize this, you open the door to both empathy and compassion.

This doesn’t mean that you should willingly or blindly accept unacceptable behavior. What it means is that you will encounter it with less anger. As a result, this may actually open the door to an opportunity for meaningful dialogue, as the other person may not even recognize that they are having such a negative impact on your life.

The key here is that if a discussion does take place, an empathetic frame of mind will enable you to have a constructive conversation, as opposed to an accusatory or combative exchange in which there are no winners.

Rule No 3: Get To Know Them

WhoAreYouThere is a famous song in the movie The King and I which goes as follows:

Getting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like you
Getting to hope you like me

The suggestion is clear . . . if you get to know someone, really know someone, you may actually get to like them.

Even if you do not end up liking the person who has been the source of your workplace angst, you might at least better understand them. Maybe even find areas of common ground around which you can build a rapport – as long as it isn’t a shared dislike of another co-worker.

Rule 4: Ignore The Ringing In Your Ears

If rules 1 through 3 doesn’t help you to diffuse your aggravation, or at least lessen your dislike towards a co-worker, then you have to learn how to contain your feelings without suppressing them.

Take a step back, breath and try to look at the bigger picture. In essence don’t get stuck in the moment or fall prey to tunnel vision – which is easy to do when you are angry. Instead, look beyond the individual, and focus your energies on your work, and on the positive people with whom you do come in contact.

IgnoringIt is like when your ears ring. The more you think about it, the louder and more noticeable the ringing gets.

The same is true when trying to deal with someone you don’t like.

When you are so involved with all that is going on around you, and do not make the person the center of attention, you will eventually begin to notice them less and less.

Rule No. 5: Leave or Accept

“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.” – Eckhart Tolle

When you continue to complain without taking meaningful action, you will eventually find yourself in a pit of discontent of your own making.

There are of course a variety of sayings upon which I could call to illustrate my point. Fish, cut bait or go ashore, or lead, follow or get out of the way. Right off the top of your head, you probably have a few yourself. The point being that you ultimately have to do something more than wallow in your anger towards someone else.

This means you either learn to live (or work) with the other person or, you move on. There is in the end no middle ground for you at this stage.

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