27 January 2007

How to like someone more (or dislike someone less)

My son and I had a troubling chat about one of his teachers the other day, and I see an awkward parent-teacher meeting in my future. I wonder if Gretchen's hack coming up in my queue now is a bit of synchronicity?

I thought you might be interested in my tips for liking someone better (or disliking that person less). I think this is a particular issue for parents—there are so many people in our lives that we have to try to like, and it helps if we can be sincere! A child’s teacher, a child’s friend’s annoying parent, an in-law, the soccer coach…

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» Learn to like unpleasant people (if you must) from Lifehacker
Let's face it: some people are just natural born buttheads. However, some of these people are part of our lives whether we like it or not (relatives, teachers, coaches, etc.). The Happiness Project has written up a list of... [Read More]

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Yeah, it would have been helpful to read this when my daughter was in kindergarten--talk about your difficult parent-teacher chats! Good advice, Gretchen.

I think this list is great. I may need to print it out for easy reference on those days when it is all too easy to criticize.
However, if you are using this list to help your kids like someone more, I think it is important to recognize their feelings towards someone else before you help them change those feelings. My parents (great people and role models overall) were very quick to defend other people and to help me see things from the other person's perspective. So quick, that I often felt that they were always on the other person's side (not MY side) and I would end up resenting the other person even more.
So I try to give my kids a little time to complain, and a little sympathy for their emotions (if not agreeing with the cause) before trying to help them cool off. Not that I always succeed -- sometimes I might need this list just to remember how to like my own kids!

STL Mom: Very wise advice. So important for kids to know we hear them, even if we don't ultimately do what they want us to do. Crouching down to their height if necessary, looking in their eyes -- listening like that is a great way to let them know that what they say matters (that THEY matter).

My wife just asked me for advice on this very subject about a week ago.

I told her, find one thing in that person that you either think is awesome, or where you totally agree. Once you find that "one thing," think of them as your "one thing" buddy. Be disciplined about it. Eventually that "one thing" becomes the backbone of your perspective of this person, and it makes it easier to tolerate their existence as a whole, which is a major step towards liking them.

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