There are some days when I do not like people.
When I have been driving in traffic surrounded by drivers who are driving badly, I do not like people. When my favorite football team loses to a rivalry, I do not like people. And when I make specific plans that no one seems to be interested in following, I do not like people.
It is safe to say I’m equally guilty of causing people to not like me. I can be somewhat casual in following the rules of the road, inconsiderate of other people football teams, and be thoughtless in following directions.
To Like and Be Liked
It is good for our careers and our health to like the people around us.
The problem is it is natural for us not to like people. We all have two basic characteristics that reinforce our natural dislike of people.
First, it seems bad memories are stronger than good memories. So, we remember negative experiences and quickly project them onto current events making us think warily and negatively about those around us; so we instinctively not like them.
Second, we always want to see ourselves in a positive light, so we also think of ourselves as better than those around us. We see our motivations and actions as positive as compared to anyone else. We automatically think of ourselves as superior.
So, our nature is to automatically think that those people around us are out to do us harm and, since we are better than they are, we must treat everyone with extreme care. All these reactions toward people are before we have had any interaction with them. They could be the nicest, sweetest people in the world, and we naturally start by mistrusting them.
So, to like people, we have a lot of ground to make up.
Liking others and thinking the best of them at work has many positive outcomes. Generalized research shows that people who like other people are more liked, happier, and more successful at work.
Likable people are always the most popular, and the reason is self-creating. If you, in your work environment, feel like you’re surrounded by people you do not like, you will feel less supported, less safe, and less inclined to be generous. In a circular way, those around you feel the same way, so everyone feels vulnerable and disliked.
The opposite is also true. If you feel you’re surrounded by people you like, they will reciprocate and have the same feelings toward you. Seeing the good in others is a simple but powerful way to both improve your outlook, but also improve the attitude of your entire work environment.
As a small business owner or entrepreneur, whe have the ability to impact our work environment just by simply working to like those that are around us.
How to Start Liking People
Here are several suggestions for starting to practice liking people.
- Spend time with the people you want to like. Learn who they are and what they are like. Just spend time with then even if you do not interact.
- Practice complimenting people. Thank them for small courtesies. Compliment them on specific projects and milestones.
- Practice being positive. Smile, make eye contact, and exchange pleasantries.
- Let others talk about themselves without you needing equal time talking about yourself. Not every conversation has to be about you.
2 Timothy 2:23-26 says.
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
By liking people, the people you like will respond in-kind and like you. And, people who like each other avoid controversies and do not quarrel with their friends. Liking people opens the door for sincere conversations and discussions.
God made us all in His image for a reason, and we are to therefore like one another.