No matter where you fall on the extrovert/introvert scale, wouldn’t it be great to learn better tactics to help you get along with the people you encounter in your daily life? Getting along with others is not complicated, but you do have to make a deliberate choice to practice and incorporate these tips into your daily interactions.
1. Listen with the intent to understand.
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
-Stephen R. Covey
If you make understanding another person a priority in any social circle, you will find that it is extremely easy to along with people. It is in the choice to invest time and emotional effort that the barriers to harmonious living are torn down. Planning or preparing yourself to understand others is a massive first step. You can do this by listening to what the person says (no planning your response while they are still talking!), making appropriate comments as they talk, and including references to their statements in your response.
2. Walk in their shoes.
Like coins, every social interaction has two sides. Sometimes, those lines between people can get blurred and cause misunderstandings. Taking the time to view the situation from someone else’s point of view will help you to get along better with them, even if you still do not agree with their views. As the quote says, you can’t understand (or get along with) someone until you have ‘walked a mile in their shoes.’ Get to walking!
3. Be polite.
Quite simple. Rude people do not get along with others. They may get along with other rude people, but those results have never been proven. Be careful of others’ feelings. Wit and humor at another person’s expense may do more damage than you will ever know. A polite demeanor will also leave a deeper positive impact than you will immediately realize.
4. Always take the opportunity to say a kind and encouraging word to or about somebody.
Praise good work, regardless of who did it. If criticism is needed, offer it gently, never harshly. If you recognize someone in need of encouraging, then that makes you the perfect person to do so! There are countless stories of people who have been inspired or motivated by a single needed word of encouragement at a critical time in their lives. When you encourage and compliment people, you create a culture of kindness and the kindness will be reciprocated.
5. Show interest in others.
Show interest in their pursuits, their work, their homes and families. Celebrate their achievements, grit your teeth with them through the rough times. Dance with people who are rejoicing and take time to weep with those who mourn. Let everyone you meet, however humble, feel that you regard him or her as a person of importance. If people around you sense that you support their best interest and also care about the ins and outs of their lives, you will get along with them just fine.
6. Keep an open mind.
Discuss, but don’t argue. It is the mark of a superior mind to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. Accept that others may have a point of view different from the one you hold, or believe something that you do not believe yourself. One sign of an open mind is someone who will listen to someone else speak, without interrupting, even if they disagree with the view being expressed. Differences make us human, idiosyncrasies make us unique and special!
7. Listen intently.
This may not be anatomically true (I wasn’t a biology major), but the tongue and ears cannot both be used at the same time! Holding your tongue and freeing up your ears to listen actively for a bit gives you an easier path to an open mind and allows you to learn more about people around you. Other ways to listen intently include refraining from one-upping or pointing out problems with the speaker’s story.
8. Be positive.
No one enjoys spending time with a pessimist. Sir Winston Churchill said,
‘A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.’
Positive people are welcomed in any social situation because they continually brighten the room or space they occupy by seeing the silver linings in each cloud, and that optimistic attitude is contagious! This is one situation where two negatives do not a positive make. Positive people make positive situations.
9. Be sincere.
While each one of these tips is important, none stands alone. They all operate in some combination with one another, and none more than sincerity. People will sense when you are faking a positive attitude, when you do not have a genuine interest in their lives, and when your kind words are simply a facade. All of these tips without sincerity will end up destroying any positive effect you were hoping to produce. Combined the tips above with a heavy dose of sincerity, you will find yourself getting along with people wherever you go!
Now this list is nowhere near exhaustive, so I’d love to hear what other tips you have heard or employed yourself! Feel free to share them below.