Recently I had coffee with someone I met through networking. We soon discovered a small group of mutual acquaintances and naturally we discussed our opinions of them. In most cases we had similar views but in one we had very different perceptions.
I had always found this particular person likeable, easy-going, and friendly. My friend however found them aloof, rude, and slightly offensive. I couldn't believe that we were talking about the same person! I began to re-evaluate all the contact I've had with them, whilst at the same time defending this person to my friend.
The fact is no one sees us exactly the same way as someone else does. We all have different personalities, likes, dislikes, values, beliefs, expectations, and feelings. we react to things in different ways, and we express ourselves differently. The thing is, we make judgements about other people based on our own values or 'moral compass', and this is why we often see people (and in particular their behaviour) quite differently.
it also explains why friendship groups develop – we naturally gravitate towards people who are 'like us'. People 'like us' are easy to understand, communicate with, and work alongside. It takes more effort to get the same results when working with someone who is quite different to us. In fact we often interpret different as difficult, simply because we don't instinctively understand them. It takes more effort to work with that person.
In our latest Power Hour - Handle Difficult People, we aim to help people understand those differences, and provide practical advice for getting around them, and having more productive relationships. The key as always, is understanding. If you understand what is driving someone's behaviour, you are more likely to be able to react to it appropriately, and get the best out of that person and that relationship.
if you want to find out more, why not download our free key points sheet for a little taster? And next time you find someone difficult, try to pinpoint exactly what it is about them that is particularly different from you, and make an effort to acknowledge and respond to those differences.