3 Things I’m Learning About Getting Along With People

For the next week or so, I’ll be posting some of my favorite posts from the archives. I’m speaking at a ladies retreat the first weekend of March, and want to focus on preparing for the sessions I’ll be teaching.

I’ve re-posted readers’ favorites before, but those are not necessarily my personal favorites – the ones that came from the deepest part of me, and seemed to bring some kind of healing and truth to my life as I wrote them. I hope you enjoy them, the second time around!

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stubbornsource

Anytime you live with people, issues will come up that must be dealt with.

Or not.

I suppose you could just avoid people, ignore the issues, and keep going, but that doesn’t usually seem to work out so well long term. It can seem like the more appealing option sometimes, because dealing with issues is HARD. It takes a lot of courage, and a willingness to go through some pain and discomfort. And yet every time I’ve had enough courage to take the plunge, it has been completely worth it.

Sometimes, “dealing with it” has meant working things out with other people.

Other times, “dealing with it” means working things out…in me. (That’s far more uncomfortable!)

Here are three things I’m trying to think about when I am frustrated with somebody:

1) Ask the question, “Why would a completely sane, reasonable person do something like this?”

Ben took a conflict management class for his Masters program this last year, and this was one of the questions he was taught to ask.

When someone makes a choice to do something which seems completely unreasonable, annoying, or foolish to me, asking this question produces the same answer every time: They do it because they don’t know.

They don’t know how I feel, they don’t know all the facts, they don’t realize that it’s difficult for other people.

And that’s okay! Since when does everybody know everything?

Since never.

And when I realize this, I start to think about the situation from the other person’s point of view. I start to see how things might look from their perspective, which is always going to be different from my perspective.

“Not knowing” is so much easier to take than “being a jerk”.

2) Assume that everyone is trying their very best.

Why is it so easy to assume that people are being lazy or careless or rude, and if they would just try a little harder, everything would be fine?

Who says they are not trying their very best?

Maybe they have some heavy burden to carry that you don’t know about, maybe they’re going through a really tough time, and for whatever reason, this is their best.

When you think about it that way, so much annoyance disappears, and it’s possible to give somebody the benefit of the doubt.

3) That person is God’s favorite.

Jon Acuff wrote an incredible post about how every single person is God’s favorite. And when someone is annoying me, and I think, “__(fill in the blank)__ is God’s favorite.” It is very difficult to stay mad and think evil thoughts if you truly think about that one for a second.

The same God who loves me loves them.

He made me, He made them.

I pray for God to get me through a tough time, and they pray to the same God.

Who am I to think that I’m better, that I know better, that my choices are better, that I deserve to be more blessed by God?

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If problems with people are cut off during the thought process, they stay a lot smaller.

And now you know exactly what I’m trying to think when I’m in a difficult situation. I repeat those three thoughts to myself over and over.

Sometimes.

I still have a lot of work to do on this one!

What’s your secret for getting along with difficult people?

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3 thoughts on “3 Things I’m Learning About Getting Along With People

    • Hmm. That is a hard one. I guess it depends on how much time you have to spend with them. If it’s optional, sometimes ending a relationship is necessary. If it’s mandatory, I think we need to pray hard, and ask God to help us see them the way that He sees them. Mean people generally have a lot of hurts and pain in the past, and when we see them as wounded, they start looking less mean. But I don’t think there’s an easy answer to that one!

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