We have all encountered someone who we have a difficult time getting along with. Reasons vary for why we struggle to get along with some people, while we seem to have no problem with others.
With some, it is the short fuse or seemly uncontrollable anger. Others might have mood swings that make them hard to get along with because you can never tell what temper they’ll be in at any given time. Others are overly sarcastic. Then there are those who are never wrong and nothing is ever their fault; they are masters of blame-shifting.
We have all encountered someone who is challenging to be around, whether at home or work. It may be a family member, a neighbor, a friend or an acquaintance. As a matter of fact, sometimes we are the ones who are hard to get along with. But let me offer some guidance for getting along with difficult people.
“To err is human; to forgive, divine.” I am sure you have heard that saying many times. The truth is that the saying is misleading. Because while to err is human, to forgive is also human, aided by the divine.
Forgiveness is a tricky thing because our first thought when someone hurts us or treats us unfairly is to desire justice. We immediately want to hurt them back; we want them to hurt as badly as we did or worse; or to lose as much as we have lost—and more if possible.
Last week I looked at listening as foundational to a healthy relationship. If you are to have and maintain healthy relationships at any level, you must learn to be a good listener.
Listening is most challenging during conflict. In such cases emotions run high, with anger being the dominant. When emotions run high, reason can hardly prevail. And without reason rising above emotions, conflict escalates, often leading to serious consequences for all involved. Many times in the middle of a conflict you may have heard the phrase, “You are not listening to me!” Or perhaps you used it yourself.
To be human is to be in relationship. We cannot survive without it. Whether you are a parent, neighbor, friend, spouse or a leader, you depend on healthy relationships to get along with others. The foundation on which all relationships are built is good communication. When communication is good, relationships are healthy; when communication is poor, relationships are poor as well. Regardless of whom you are relating to, good communication is the key to building and maintaining a healthy relationship.