I have found time and again that (much to the disappointment of my sadistic streak) if there is someone in your life who is just annoying the crap out of you, irritating you or out-right mean to you, and for whatever reason you can’t cut them out of your life, you should just be nice to them.
In fact, I have taken to making a point of being extra nice to that person.
That guy at work who just irritates you and you don’t know why (or maybe you do) next time he comes up to you, stop.
take a deep breath, and give him your full attention for the next 120 seconds.
Make eye contact.
Ask him how he is and really listen.
don’t argue or offer advice. Just try to see things from his perspective, for 2 minutes.
Then you can happily go back to being irritated again.
In extreme cases you can even do something thoughtful for them. If they are a total arse and don’t appreciate it (or worse, feel entitled to it) then you can go back to ignoring them.
When you are consciously kind and thoughtful towards someone who is irritating the crap out of you (without any expectation of a return) usually one or more of these things happen:
- You start to understand them better and feel less irritated by them
- They start to see you as less of a threat and behave better towards you
- they are disarmed by your niceness and the wind goes out of their grumpy sails
- You feel better as a person – even if it makes no difference to their behavior at all, even if they still suck, somehow being nice has the magical ability to make you feel better.
- If they really can’t lighten up, they might at least be appalled enough by your niceness to leave you alone.
Sometimes, in spite of all attempts to be kind and nice and friendly, people still suck. My advice then? Don’t think about them. don’t give them any more attention than a buzzing over head light. If it’s someone you can’t cut out of your life or avoid, at least don’t let them take up space in your head.