April 10, 2013

A Survival Guide For Dealing With People You Don’t Like

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I often tell people that I’m grateful that Jesus said, “Love one another,” and not “Like one another,” because although it may not seem like it, love, that is agape or Christian love, is the easier one between those two. Agape is charity, to help someone when they are in need and wish them well. That, I can do. Asking me to like every person I will encounter is asking a little bit too much. And the way the world works, sometimes we have to run into people that we don’t like; sometimes we have to be around them through no fault or choices of our own. So unless you plan on moving to an island and taking all the people you like with you, you can follow this survival guide for dealing with people you don’t like:

1. When that person is your boss.

I’m just going to put this out there: I’ve had a boss who I knew didn’t like me. Which was fine, because the feeling was mutual. This is not unusual and I didn’t take it too personally, which is funny because not liking someone is personal, but I had a job to do. Here is the the thing though, if your boss doesn’t like you, chances are, your days are numbered so start looking for another job. If you don’t like your boss but you like the organization that you work for, I’m not one to tell you this very often but you should in fact, FAKE IT. This is your boss. He or she does have some control over whether you move up in the organization and even in your industry. Why? Because the world is indeed a very small place and people talk. Forget about why you don’t like him or her and keep the big picture in mind. Be more reverent, more attentive, and more hard-working simply because you want to get the heck out of being his or her subordinate as soon as possible. But just in case, also start looking elsewhere.

2. When that person is your professor.

At this point in my life, I generally know how to charm professors. After all, I am the child of two academics. Generally, I’ve liked most of the professors I’ve had and for the most part, I’m a good student. Still, you may come across a few professors that you don’t like and as you go up the education ladder, you get closer to your professors. Let me give you some advice: keep it to yourself. And I mean this in every sense of the word. Professors are usually fair people and although you may dislike a certain one, just be a good student – do all your work on time, participate in class when called on or just because, and also don’t go around telling half the university why you don’t like him or her.

3. When that person is in your family.

I must admit I’m not an expert on this one; I actually like everyone in my family. Maybe absence has made the heart fonder. Don’t get me wrong, my nuclear family and I still get into the passionate disagreement every now and then, mostly because we all have the same problem: We all think we’re always right. But we’re family at the end of the day. If you don’t like someone and that person is in your family, realize that they will forever be a part of you and to the rest of the world, you are “cut from the same cloth.” I’m sure there are extreme cases but I agree with Lady Violet Grantham from Downton Abbey on this one, “The family must never be the topic of conversation.” And yes, this includes your current or future in-laws.

4. When that person is your friend or in your social circle.

There’s always one and it’s usually the friend of a friend. He or she never fails to show up when everybody’s invited for a night out or a get-together and he or she gets on your nerves. I’ve always been of the opinion that you don’t have to like someone just because someone you like likes them…and you don’t. But you do have to be civil and not stir the pot. If that person is giving you grief and it must be confronted, pull them aside one-on-one and simply tell it like it is: That you know you’re not each others’ favorite people but as long as both of you have the same friends, civility, and politeness, and peace shall rain. Also, do yourself a favor: Do not gossip with any of your other friends in the circle about them. It will get back to them. If you must vent, call your mother. This also applies to co-workers.

5. When that person has no significance to you/is somebody that you used to know.

This one’s easy. Ignore them. But still remember that you owe them agape, if not for benevolent reasons, well, because loving your enemies, will drive them crazy! TC Mark

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