We all have to deal with people who rub us the wrong way from time to time.
It is an inevitable part of human interaction, to encounter people who feel draining, to be around or impossible to get along with.
For many professionals, this is actually part of our job and how we serve our clients.
While it may be unrealistic to turn these relationships into friendships, you can take steps to create some ease in the relationship.
You can’t change the person in front of you. But you can work on how you perceive them – remembering that difficult people are often that way for a reason.
If you listen closely to a person’s story you might find that behind their abrasive exterior, there is a woundedness, suffering we could never have imagined. With this understanding. It becomes easier to offer kindness.
When you open up to this possibility you can develop more patience and gentleness than you’d ever thought possible.
All you have to do is to listen.
The practice of deep listening, not only shows the other person that we hear and understand them. It also builds trust. It forms a bridge so that they may also see us and relate to us in a different light. And it’s amazing how relationships can transform when people feel heard.
What would happen you put your judgments and preconceived notions aside for a moment and took the time to listen truly and deeply, listen to the person in front of us, no matter how challenging their personality?
What if you paused long enough to drop your expectations and try to understand where they’re coming from instead of assuming you already know?
The next time you find yourself anticipating a challenging exchange with a demanding client or an annoying colleague (or family member), take the time to listen with less judgment, with less label, watch as a patience and compassion arise within you.
You may realize these difficult people aren’t so difficult after all.
Discovering this about a person (or yourself) opens the door to a wider conversation, deeper understanding, and a better relationship.
Give it a try. Let me know how it works for you.
Ps .. This is one of the many lessons from my mindfulness practice through the Calm app. It’s been an important part of my toolkit for over 4 years.