How Intelligent People Deal with People They Don’t Like

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It’s 2:53 pm and the day is almost over, but you click over to your calendar once more and what do you see? You have one more meeting scheduled for 3 pm and guess who’s going to be there?

THAT PERSON YOU HATE.

I don’t believe there’s a workplace in the world where everyone gets along. People come from all walks of life and there’s bound to be different ways of thinking. Each one of us are uniquely shaped by our own experiences, the city we were raised in, the people we are surrounded by, etc., which means we have different values and more importantly different perspectives.

Trying to convince someone to your way of thinking is usually a waste of their time and your own.

“A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.” — Dale Carnegie

If you don’t know Dale Carnegie, he wrote, How to Win Friends and Influence People. One of my favorite books of all time. His ideas are so simple that as you read them, you ask yourself, “Why am I not doing this already?”

The point I’m making is that finding the perfect work place doesn’t exist, which means there’s no point in stressing over things that you just can’t control.

This means at the most basic level that you have two options:

Option 1: Keep complaining about this person you dislike and deal with internal anger

Option 2: Learn to deal with this issue once and for all — the intelligent way

If you go with Option 1, what good does it do for you? Nothing. Does it change anything in the future? Nope. Are you happier? No way.

If you go with Option 2, then you can learn how to change your perspective and use that skill for the REST OF YOUR LIFE.

Here’s how it works. When you find yourself about to erupt with emotion and a feeling of hatred for this person, stop and ask yourself, “What can this person teach me?”

This changes your initial perspective from, “I hate spending time with them” to “What can I practice on them?”

Maybe it’s to:

  • Be more patient around someone annoying
  • Work on your listening skills
  • Learn a skill from them (maybe they are better at coding, designing, public speaking, approaching people, etc.)

This way of thinking is counterintuitive, but that’s the idea. To recalibrate how you view this interaction.

For example, at work I used to deal with a guy that doesn’t stop slurping his cereal and bangs his metal spoon against the inside of the bowl every time he takes a bite. IT’S LITERALLY UNBEARABLE.

I really need to buy him one of these.

Anyways, it used to really aggravate me inside, but then I realized I’m only hurting myself and he’s just sitting there eating fucking cheerios.

Today, when I sit next to him, I use these noises as practice to work on my patience, sensitivity to noise, ability to endure discomfort longer, etc.

There’s no point of me getting riled up because I’m only bothering myself.

Start seeking the people you don’t get along with and use that to work on your conflict resolution skills. To communicate how you feel, to show them that you understand their angle, or use it to work on your patience.

There’s a few great scenes from the movie Bridge of Spies with Tom Hanks that I LOVE!

Tom Hanks plays a lawyer, who asks the accused spy, Mark Rylance, “Do you never worry?” Listen to his priceless response.

Look, there will be days where you probably hate going to work because you have to deal with someone you don’t like. Perfectly normal. Just watch out for acting on pure emotion. Always give yourself a few minutes to calm down if you need to have a conversation. 

Moral: the next time you find yourself burning up inside agonizing over a co-worker you dislike, first ask yourself, “Would it help?”

Are there any movies that helped you improve your social skills?