How I Learned to Play Nice With Others

Learning to Play NiceConfessions of a People Lover

I have a confession to make. There are some people I simply do not get along with. There, I said it. Notice I didn’t say I hate these people, but the honest truth is that sometimes I can only handle them in small doses.

I equate it to my love of chocolate. Two Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, awesome! Two pounds of Reese’s in one sitting, not such a smart idea.

While this may sound harsh, I’ve accepted it as my mental reality and that’s not a bad thing. There are just certain people with personalities that I do not feel mesh well with mine.

I have another confession.

If I’m being emotionally intelligent about it, most people will never realize that I secretly want to plug my ears and scream “blah-blah-la-la-la-la-la-la-la” as they’re talking.

After all, that would be very rude. And I’m no longer three years old.

My daughter just started college this year and some of the stories she shares leave my mouth agape. She’s encountered other young adults screaming out, “I don’t want to talk to you!” She’s also witnessed books being slammed down, doors shut harshly, and dramatic exits. A field day for a psych major!

Learning to get along with others is a critical skill that must be developed.

As humans, we are built with an intrinsic need to socialize and participate in groups as part of our survival. Who we choose to socialize with on a personal level is entirely up to us, except when the decision is made for us.

Such as in the classroom, around the holiday dinner table, within the workforce, on the soccer team, dance club, church, etc.

You get the picture.

Emotional insight is the ability to sense and understand emotions in yourself and others. I’ve found that there are two basic, but key, takeaways that will serve you well if you embrace them:

1)      You cannot change what others do.

2)      You can only change how you react to others.

I’ve repeated this mantra to my children since grade school to help provide them with a framework of what adults come to know: “There are disappointments and life doesn’t always go our way.”

We all have hot buttons and pet peeves (geez, we’re human after all and this emotion is real). The trick is to remind yourself that someone else may not even realize what they did or how they said it even bothers you. Or maybe they do, and they push that button to see what reaction they’ll get from you.

Staying emotionally balanced is not that hard once you master the concept that you, and only you, are in control of your emotions.

Once you learn how to manage your own behavior it’s easy to play nice with others. Becoming more aware of emotional intelligence will help you navigate through any social situation—from playground to profession, you can become a lover of people too.

Post by Suzan Kurdak, former FLVS Communications Specialist

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