People are not difficult… they are different

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One big challenge in life is cultivating and maintaining relationships. On the face of it looks like an easy task but in reality it is challenging, largely because of our approach to others. There is not dispute about the fact that as social animals we cannot live in isolation. It therefore stands to reason that we will have to deal with people of all shapes, sizes and shades. The problem is that there could be any number of people who we dislike, find it hard to get along with, abhor some and embrace some with no qualms what so ever. A simple test is to see how your relationships with your school mates, office buddies and family members are.

We tend to see people as either friend or foe; difficult or amiable; ally or competitor; powerful or submissive; daring or cowardly etc. The result is that we tend to slot people into categories and pick and choose those who fall within those categories that best match our expectations. All those who do not meet our expectations are largely tuned out, separated from our relationship matrix and labeled mentally by us as difficult people best left alone. Unfortunately, in life we often do not have the luxury of alienating those who we find difficult to deal with because often they are influential, useful, unavoidable, powerful and important for us. Take the case of a neighbor who you do not like. The reality is you cannot change the neighbor nor can you easily change your neighborhood. So what is ones best option to deal with a person who you find difficult to relate to; connect with or maintain ties with?

Accept the fact that each individual, even a sibling or a twin is an independent person with her/ his unique thoughts, mannerisms, behavior, likes, dislikes, dress sense, style and values. Once one realizes this, the urge to see people as needing to confirm to your individualistic style will be greatly reduced. More importantly, you will see the other person as a unique person who has the same rights and freedom as you have. Now, you will be in a better position to appreciate their oddities, peculiarities, their behavior and traits that otherwise you will see as an aberration and despise. You can now begin to value the individuality of the other and even if you do not approve of it or in the very extreme loath it, you will still allow them the liberty to be themselves. Except in very extreme cases where an individual crosses all boundaries of societal norms, conventions and prudence, one can still keep up a passing relationship more to remind you of your own individuality and upbringing.

APT is an excellent acronym that will help retain relations.

Attention for another person

Patience to appreciate the other person

Thoughtfulness in responding to another person

Try these:           

What types of people irritate/ annoy you? Can you mentally recall the names of such people? Can you honestly jot down at least two good qualities in them?

Can you make an effort to reach out to someone you do not normally like to get in touch with but as a measure of testing your own learning from this post reach out and spend time with that person.

What is the one quality or behavior or action in you, that will indicate to another that you would like to avoid the other person or minimize your interactions with that person? Can you make an attempt to modify that behavior/ style /quality so that you can have a better engagement with others.

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Bobby Jacob

Bobby Jacob

‘ He hopes to have a positive influence on his readers through his blog posts’

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Col Ravi (Retd)

    Wonderful. Very nicely explained.

    1. Thank you for your feedback and appreciation. Hope you continue to go through my blog posts. Do share it with your social media contacts. Thank you. Jacob

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