You know those people that are... hmm..., undeniably high maintenance at work? Get real. No matter how much you try, you are not going to change them.
1. You've Got to Rewire
In truth, it's all a matter of rewiring your brain process. If you had a negative first impression of a neighbor six months ago, that's going to color the way you view that person now. Be conscious of the fact that you have a negative impression, and do your best to re-frame this perception so that they're on a clean slate, just like anyone else you might meet on the street.
2. You're the One Seeing the Fault
Yes, that's right. Even the nastiest people have friends. So, what does that mean? If you find them so bothersome, it says something about you, not them. Why is this so?
Carl Jung actually came to the conclusion that the reason some people irritate us so much is because they embody something of ours called the Shadow Side. The Shadow Side, simply put, includes the parts of ourselves we don't like; the parts we dissociate from, and subconsciously deny as being in existence. So, the things that get under our skin about other people are often our own disowned or unacknowledged issues.
Rephrase the way you think. For example, instead of complaining to your coworker, "Mr. Smith is so exasperating!", you might say: "I get so exasperated by Mr. Smith." It makes all the difference, and it'll help you rewire.
3. It's Time to Overlook
Now that you've recognized that you're the one who sees the fault, it's time to overlook those character traits. How can you do this? Picture a close friend or family member. Mentally list all their character traits. Your best friend might be loyal and generous, but how come her stubbornness doesn't faze you? It's a simple answer: we all overlook shortcomings for the greater sake of a relationship.
Healthy people understand that they are worth much more than a mere sum of their flaws. So, in order to appreciate someone else, you have to accept them the same way you embrace your own imperfect existence.
4. Find Common Ground
Avi Shatzkes Ph.D., an executive coach at ADS Talent Consulting, has this advice to offer based on his experience.
"I often give people an assignment to learn five facts about a colleague they don't like, but have to work with. For example: where did they go to school, what are their hobbies... things like that. This forces them to spend more time with the person and ask questions. Often, the result is that they start to find areas of common interest or shared values. Then the areas of annoyance become more superficial in light of these new connections."
5. Have a Conversation
Will Bennis, Ph.D., a research psychologist who runs Locus Workspace, a Prague co-working space, has to facilitate reconciliations on a regular basis.
"Coworkers frequently resolve things between themselves, so I first give it time. If that doesn't work, I resolve things with a direct and respectful chat. Many of these conversations with people are met appreciatively."
"Often, some part of them knew their behavior was unacceptable, and being told about it raised it to their consciousness. And many times, they simply didn't know. Either way, an open conversation can be very beneficial."
6. Use the Elements of Nature to Your Advantage
The four main elements of fire, water, earth, and air are all echoed in our characteristic expressions. Someone with a fiery nature is quick to anger and jealousy. In that case, you should respond with water; remain tranquil and adaptive. Don't ever respond to fire with fire.
Take a moment to assess your own emotional makeup; it might serve as useful insight as to why some personalities trigger frustration in you.
7. Hold onto Your Reins
Let's say you are making an effort in all the above, but it all backfires because the other person is trying to incite you with purposely hurtful remarks. You can't control how they affect you, right? Wrong.
In his acclaimed book, Man's Search for Meaning, psychologist Victor Frankl describes the power of perspective. "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."
You will always have the reins when it comes to how you choose to respond. So, hold onto them, and don't let anyone alter your mood, or your day.
Liba Rimler contributed to this article.