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I remember once working with a woman who found it really frustrating that someone in her office loudly ate rice around lunchtime every day.
And her metal fork would constantly be hitting against the bowl and she was so annoyed by it that she was actually going to go out and buy a wooden fork for this person.
When you think we spend half our waking life at work if there's someone who really gets under your skin, it's crucial to cross that divide.
We've probably all worked with people we don't like.
But really?
You hate them, you actually hate them?
That takes an enormous amount of energy and it makes little or no difference to them.
If they've really done something totally illegal or horrendous, there's probably much better remedies for it.
Most of the time we find that people want to avoid having a conversation with the other person because they dislike them.
But if you don't talk about it, it won't get better by itself.
So some people try to put it off and develop coping mechanisms, but it rarely makes the situation much better.
And soon, it's years down the line and you're still in the same boat, hating this person.
It doesn't have to be like this.
A bit of short term pain, i.e. a difficult but open and honest conversation with the person you dislike, can bring a long-term gain.
We get people telling us we're intimidating when we think we're really cuddly, or telling us that we're shy when we consider ourselves thoughtful and serious.
So think about what you give off to other people.
Here's Ali. He's very bright.
He's quite young, he's very highly educated.
He's just got a great job so he's sent to a conference.
And because, as well as being bright, he's rather modest he decides that he'll keep quiet, pretty much, and he'll just observe what's going on and listen to people who are more experienced.
The people around him who have heard how bright he is and how well-educated see him being a bit restrained and a bit withheld and start to think, "He's a bit aloof."
"He doesn't rate us."
"He thinks he's too good for us", and so they start to freeze him out.
We end up with a situation where everybody's misunderstanding each other and nobody is getting the benefit of their different abilities and experiences.
Ask questions and seek to understand the other person's viewpoint.
Then show them you've understood their viewpoint by summarising back to them what they have said - an incredibly powerful little tool for building rapport.
Too often, people just try to persuade others of their case.
But if you show that you're open to listening to the other person and genuinely want to understand where they're coming from, you'll have a much more constructive conversation.
I remember once in a mediation where one person shouted at the other "You're a pathological liar"!
Now I don't have a problem with someone saying that if that's how they feel.
But I do actually with how it's worded.
If you tell someone they're a liar, they'll automatically disagree.
We all would.
But if you calmly point out that on this occasion and this occasion they have lied to you, you can have a conversation about it without them getting as defensive.
It's probably not personal.
Remember that you don't have to learn to like the person that you're in conflict with - you just have to work with them.
Be willing to challenge your assumptions and then learn from that.
Welcome other's ideas and approaches.
Be yourself, be open, be honest about your own strengths and contributions.
The really great thing is if you're doing those things, not only does it diminish that feeling of dislike and make you better at working with people, but you might actually get to enjoy working with them.
If you liked that, subscribe to the BBC Ideas YouTube channel.
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How to work with someone you hate | BBC Ideas

11492 Folder Collection
Liang Chen published on May 21, 2019    Liang Chen translated    Evangeline reviewed
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