If you’re an active person with an opinion, it’s almost impossible to avoid conflict. This is the 21st century. The world is connected. There’s nowhere left to hide. And that means you have to interact regularly with people who are different from you.
People are diverse. We like to eat different food, wear different clothes, listen to different music, watch different movies and read different books. We also differ on core beliefs, like religion, politics and philosophy, and even the mannerisms, thought processes and ways of acting and reacting that make up our personalities.
Naturally we form close friendships with people when we have a lot in common, and we minimize interactions when we have little in common. When we don’t share interests, beliefs or ideals with someone, we just don’t get them.
But often we have no choice. We have to interact with people we don’t get because they are colleagues, bosses, classmates, neighbors, or family. Or maybe we are just stuck sitting next to them on an airplane and they want to talk.
Some of these people rub you the wrong way and conflict seems unavoidable. Sure, you can probably get along with them if you keep your head down and your mouth shut and pretend to agree with everything they say. But who wants to do that?
If you do that often enough it will destroy your personality and your soul. It will fill you with resentment and frustration. You will become a hollow, subservient doormat or you will explode with rage and do something you will regret.
Is it possible to get along with these people without losing your personality and opinions in the process?
You won’t get along with everyone all the time. If you are an active and assertive person, you will get into disagreements once in a while. This is healthy and normal. But if you minimize unnecessary disagreements and control the backlash when they do occur, you can get along with most people most of the time. To do this you will need to utilize certain key traits. Continue reading →