Turn Enemies Into Friends With One Little Confession

As much as you hope, you just won’t love everyone you meet. In fact, you may outright hate some, but you don’t have to. Research from the University of Groningen shows that a small shift in approach to unloved people can alleviate many of these negative feelings.

Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, writing for Psychology Today, studied research conducted by psychologist Melvin Hamstroy (and colleagues) that examined how our biases and opinions affect the way we judge others. They found that when you date someone with whom you have a lot in common, you tend to put in more effort to please them. The opposite applies to someone with whom you have little in common: you will try to avoid him.

So what can you do to fix this? Whitbourne explains:

Hamstra et al. Research suggests that you first tune in to the dimension of your personality , which is a lack of conformity with the goal of your contempt. The person may not be a bad person, but just someone whose personality does not match yours. You are a pessimist, and this person is an eternal optimist. Or you are outgoing and relaxed, and this person seems anxious and withdrawn. Hamstra’s results also suggest that the more inconsistencies, the more your poison will flow towards that person. Recognizing the subjective nature of your reaction to a person you don’t “like” can be the first step in finding common ground. Discussing your differences, perhaps in front of a third person, can help both of you understand how to not only accept the difference, but also form yin in relation to each other’s yang. You may not be best friends, but at least you can learn to respect and end up working despite your differences.

All it takes is a little confirmation. If you can talk about your differences, you can not hate them.

How to get along with people you don’t like very much | Psychology today through a clumsy man


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