5 Steps to Being in Close Quarters With Someone You Don’t Like

I remember the exact moment when I realized that it was very likely I would never be able to actually like the particular person that was standing before me. I distinctly remember that sinking feeling in my stomach as well when I realized that I would have to see this person, often, for a very long time.

It’s completely normal not to like someone at some point in your life. Just as we have preferences about what foods or music we like or dislike, people can often be the same way. What’s important in those situations are the actions that we take based on those feelings.

Its completely possible to be in close quarters with someone that you do not like. Totally doable. I’ve done it on many occasions and therefore broken it down into five helpful steps.

  1. Acknowledge your feelings about that person and if it helps at all, write it down somewhere private to get it off your chest. Don’t ruminate on the details, just think through your reasoning and try to think of both good and bad things regarding this person.
  2. Prepare yourself. Think about how your next encounter is going to go. Is this person chatty and talks over you? Think of a way to politely ensure that won’t happen. Do they frequently disagree with your ideas? Find a professional way to respond and come prepared with a few follow up questions.
  3. Let go. Yes, you read that right. Just let go! Obviously if someone wants to be miserable they will be and you don’t have to be that someone. It sounds cheesy to say to take the high road but in this case being the bigger person may have an added bonus. Not only do you appear to be a cool-headed, professional adult, which will get noticed, but your ability to remain calm and unfrazzled will surely annoy that someone you dislike at least a little bit.
  4. Regroup. After an encounter with this individual do a quick mental recap. What would you like to do better next time? How could you have maintained more calm? What went really well that you’d like to keep using for future interactions? If it helps, feel free to write this information down somewhere private.
  5. Redirect your energy into something that makes you happy. One thing that people commonly do is direct far too much energy into negative feelings towards another individual. Once you’ve learned to harness your emotions a little bit regarding this individual , and let go of what you can’t control, then it’s time to direct that energy into something positive in your life. When you encounter this individual that you dislike, simply remember that you already assigned that energy to a positive activity, and you won’t waste any extra energy on being negative. Repeat Step #3.

Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t able to perfectly perform these steps the first or even the tenth time. It took me several months to master each step and keep myself on track for each encounter. The problem with frequently interacting with someone you dislike is that they have the tendency to get us riled up, and that can be a difficult habit to break. However, once you are able to break the cycle, you will most definitely find the rewards, and tranquility, amazing. After a while being in the same room as that person will no longer be a big deal, and eventually you won’t even care if they are there at all.