If you’re like me, you love people except when they are difficult and driving you crazy. One day I decided I needed to have some guidelines for how I deal and interact with people. These will definitely help at work and in your relationships outside of work too. I would love to hear your thoughts or additions to these, so please comment below!

Rules for Engagement

  1. Recognize that most people (including you) operate out of self-interest. Bummer, I know. We want to think we are all altruistic, but we aren’t.
  2. Enjoy people but don’t count on them for your happiness. Happiness is an inside job. You have to do the work on this one.
  3. You need to communicate a little more than you think you do, but not so much that it’s annoying. Most conflicts with people arise from assumptions and misinformation. If it isn’t clear, clear it up.
  4. Realize that most of us are inconsiderate at times. It’s easy to see when others are inconsiderate, but there are times when we are too, we’re just too inconsiderate to realize it.
  5. You aren’t responsible for other peoples’ feelings, though you should strive to be patient and kind. We can’t please everyone, but we can be nice.
  6. There are some whack jobs out there. Don’t take it on.
  7. People are capable of taking care of themselves. Let them.
  8. Make a decision to stop people-pleasing immediately! Join an anti-people-pleasing club, hire a therapist, but rid yourself of the need to please others.
  9. Set boundaries with others by telling them what you will and will not be doing. I learned this from parenting class (e.g., the car is leaving in 5 minutes, I’m not buying any toys at the store today, etc.)
  10. Speak in a direct, kind and charge-neutral tone. This is an art. Still working on it.
  11. Avoid overdoing for others. It often leads to resentment. See #8.
  12. Take very, very, very good care of yourself. You’ll just feel better and you’ll be less cranky and better able to deal with #6.
  13. Be kind to others in your mind, not just in your words. Notice negative thinking. Are you complaining about other people in your mind all the time? Take a bath and read a book on Happiness. Cultivate optimism.
  14. Recognize we are ALL works in progress. Quit getting disappointed when people aren’t perfect. We all have defects of character and they aren’t going away anytime soon.

This is all easier said than done, but awareness is the first step.

At Careerfulness, we help people manage the stress of relationships at work. Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation.