Ah, they say that within every problem lies an opportunity. Don’t they? Well, they should. Melody Wilding writing for Forbes suggests what she calls a “mind trick” to help you learn how to benefit from interaction with people you really can’t stand.
There’s a reason that so-and-so ticks you off. The key is to figure out why, and use that information to grow as a person, and maybe even pick up valuable personal skills along the way. It’s a three-step process.
If you have someone in mind already, skip to step 2. Otherwise, during the workday, stresses can accumulate little by little without you being aware of each one specifically — maybe you haven’t noticed that somebody is, in fact, bugging you. Is there someone you find you’re complaining about to friends and coworkers? Is there someone with a gift for getting you off task or stuck? Is there someone who makes you decide to wait for the next elevator?
They are your nemesis (for the purposes of our exercise).
Identify the precise negative emotion the person elicits in you and why. Does the person make you aggravated, feel inferior, disappointed?
Next, figure out the precise behavior in that person that triggers that emotion. Do they make you wait all the time? Do they interrupt you when you speak? Is their work bad?
It’s a sad/disturbing/embarrassing fact of life that what we dislike in others is often a trait in ourselves with which we struggle. That person you can’t stand is an awesome tool for putting your finger on something that you, deep down inside, know you have to work on. Maybe someone’s tendency to steal the spotlight nags at your worry that you’re not being noticed. Maybe they have some characteristic you’re afraid you have. Maybe they’re just adept at pressing one of your buttons regarding a secret insecurity of yours.
Here’s where the win is: instead of being annoyed by the person’s trait, consider it a wake-up call to work on what it triggers in you. Aha!
In the end, you’ll likely find your dislike of the person cooling off as you work on what they’ve exposed in you. The person may still be a jerk, but you won’t care. You’ll be free and better off for their annoying presence in your workday.