How to Get Along with People Who Rub Us the Wrong Way

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Click above for Fox2 video on this topic

We all have people in our lives with whom we find it difficult to get along.  In many cases, we can simply avoid them.  However, what if those we “don’t like” are people we just can't get rid of? Like a sibling or parent, or hey what about those in-laws; or maybe it's a coworker or boss, or member of a community in which we are deeply invested.  We might wish certain people away, yet the truth is, people we have a hard time getting along with—they are in our lives for a reason. Even if we decide to keep them at bay, and we have a choice in the matter, our feelings that get evoked are important not to run from, but to learn from. Furthermore, the actions we might need to take, or not take, can play a significant role in elevating our own growth to a new level. Now, this does not mean we need to make someone we don’t enjoy, or who hurts us, our best friend.  At the same time, we don’t want to miss the learning opportunity that these challenging people might present for us. 

This growth-oriented paradigm makes the first step very clear in navigating the process of trying to get along — and that is EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITY. Once we transform our mindset from ‘I am a victim’ to ‘I can learn from this,’ then the internal journey of discovering the message and gift can begin. Here's an example: 

Say you have a judgmental sibling — a bully if you will — and you find yourself feeling small, doubting yourself or often feeling guilty about your choices when you are around her. The reality is she is offering you a window to see your own issues of being too easily influenced and overly concerned about how she and others evaluate you. When you take care of your own issues around being too easily influenced, the rest won’t matter.  If you feel comfortable with your choices, then her behavior or words won’t bother you. But you have to own your choices and what you know to be true. This leaves you less vulnerable to anyone else’s opinion throwing you off-center. You may never be super close.  But likely, you will get along better—and you will have extracted the internal benefit of getting stronger from the process.  

Now let’s move to what can be done externally to try and get along with those we kind of, or very much, don’t like.  Sometimes, we are best to keep a safe and savvy distance.  However, if greater interaction is more appropriate, I would seriously suggest to LEARN DIPLOMACY. I cannot stress enough the importance of learning this uncommon, yet very trainable, skill. In other words, don’t allow your initial emotions or instincts to control your words and actions. Rather, be proactive and invest time and care in how to best approach this person and situation. Once we have made progress on our internal work that comes from embracing the challenge, we are better prepared to add behaviors that can really make a difference.   

People who use Personal Diplomacy well:

  • Pause before allowing reactive behavior or words to take over;
  • Respond from a place of internal strength, clarity and an open heart;
  • Freely consult a 3rd party for guidance;
  • Learn the language the other person will likely hear best;
  • Focus on unity over being right or dominating;
  • Set boundaries respectfully and with human dignity. 

Another key factor to getting along with those who rub us the wrong way is to understand that our five senses limit us. We often feel separation from those who are different from us. Maybe they live by a different set of rules. This doesn’t mean we need to become like them. Yet once we can let go of feeling threatened by their differences and embrace our own truth, it’s much easier to ALLOW OTHERS TO BE WHO THEY ARE RESPECTFULLY —while at the same time, not compromising what we know to be true for us.   

NO ONE HAS THE POWER TO MAKE US UNHAPPY — unless we let them, which occurs mostly because we do not grasp the immense power we have within. When we see life as one giant loving game, with players around us to help us get stronger and closer to our true potential, then we can depersonalize and allow enough spiritual space between the friction, and dislikes we find towards others, to see that it’s all for the good.  

As humans, we can find far more that is the same than is different. It's our human ego, the more primitive part of our being, geared toward survival and 'what about me,' that blinds us to this essential truth. But we possess a far more powerful aspect of our being and that is free will. We can choose what we focus on and what reality we decide on which to build our lives. That being said, to get along with others, we have an incredible capacity to FIND COMMON GROUND, LOOK FOR THE GOOD IN OTHERS AND CHOOSE OUR FOCUS. 

Fulfillment in daily life depends in large part on the level of empowerment we feel within and our ability to get along with people who might be different from us. How exciting to realize our inherent power to increase peace in our lives and in our world, one relationship at a time.