The question of how to be constructive around people you don’t enjoy, but with whom you have to spend time, is a challenging question.
It’s easy to advise, “Just be positive.” Yet, it is critical to maintain a respectful and etiquette-ful attitude. How does one do that?
Each time you encounter people you don’t enjoy being around, you probably notice yourself tense up, feel a sense of dread, and your mind immediately goes to a place you’d rather be instead of where you are.
Try mindfulness instead.
This method of breathing will help you relax and active listening will help keep you in the present moment and able to carry through with a conversation. And being present in a conversation will help you find a way to politely end it as quickly as you can.
While you may be looking for that welcome escape, the current conversation deserves your attention. The following tips can be used as needed to help get you through.
You never know when another person suffers from low self-esteem, social anxiety, or a feeling of not belonging. The bottom line is, we don’t always know another person’s story, although assumptions may have been made through gossip.
Even people you don’t enjoy being around have qualities you can appreciate. Spend some time in conversation to look for those qualities. Ask open-ended questions that may prompt an interesting anecdote, or a funny story from younger years. You may be surprised at the common ground you can find.
Keeping the focus is on being civil and polite, and, if possible, keeping interactions to a minimum, can help us get a grip on our own negativity. When we encounter people we don’t like, it can sometimes be because we see something in them that we don’t really like about ourselves.
Remembering that we are all doing our best in every situation we encounter might be helpful. And as individuals we won’t naturally handle things the same way, so giving a little grace is warranted. Because we are all perfectly imperfect.
Many topics for The Etiquette Blog come from questions, such as this one, that readers pose. Thank you, Readers!