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Other People are Annoying

The biggest complaints I get are about other people.  The boss that drives people crazy.  The driver on his cell phone.  The annoying neighbor or co-worker.  And don’t even get me started on teenagers!  Other people can be the source of our greatest joy and our deepest anger. We can’t live with them and we can’t live without them.  What to do?

The best thing to do is change the focus.  Stop obsessing.  Don’t check their Facebook page; don’t make them the topic of every conversation; stop making them the star of your show.  You can’t control them and when you keep the focus on them you are taking it off the only thing you can control – you.  Do you think they are so obsessed with you?  Chances are they’re not giving you a second thought.  Get so engrossed with your own fabulous life that you care much less about theirs.

Now that the focus is back where it should be, ask yourself what you’d like to do to improve the relationship.  Do you want to work harder or change something about your work (ask for help, clarification etc.) to get along better with your boss?  Do you want to try a different approach with your teenager?  Or work on accepting that he won’t like you again until he’s 30?  The only person you can change is you.  Can you be a role model?  Of course.  Can your actions and words influence others?  Definitely.  But you can’t force other people to do anything. (I’m assuming you aren’t armed.  If you are, trust me, it won’t improve your relationships.)

It may also help to realize that if you have a personality at all, not everyone is going to like you.  Despite your best efforts, some people just don’t click with you or they have their own issues that are so deep and convoluted, you’ll never figure them out.  All you can do is give every interaction your best shot – be nice, show respect, and try to listen.  Any interaction that causes you a lot of pain is one to try and learn from and then let go.  You did the best you could in the circumstances.  You can decide the best way to move forward – apologize, change your approach the next time, or minimize interactions with that person.

Most people are fabulous and we are lucky to know them!  We just focus on the negative.  Think how many people are driving along perfectly and keeping you safe.  Think about all your neighbors who don’t run meth labs out of their homes.  Don’t let your challenging interactions taint all the great ones.

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