We all have one. That person who simply rubs us the wrong way. It could be the way they act, the way they talk, or maybe there’s just something about them…you can’t quite put your finger on it. I’ve had “those people” too.
Like the one who always seemed confrontational to me. No matter what we had to talk about, it felt confrontational. I struggle with that.
The one who seemed like they always had to be in the middle of everything, always had something to say, wanted to make the conversation come back to them. That can make me crazy.
Or the one who was bossy…wait that one was me…scratch that.
I recently chose to look at one of “those” people in a different way. Stay with me on this.
I’ve mentioned before that I know I’m not a “slice of cake.” I’m quirky, and have my own stuff that has been known to rub up against people in the wrong way. But I came by it honestly. Circumstances in life over the years resulted in my behaviors.
When I first spent time with this person, I noticed they talked a lot about themselves. Took credit for everything…ok maybe not everything, but it felt like it. Wanted to be the person who finished every story. At first, it bugged me. I was probably judging them. I’ll be honest. But then I became curious.
Instead of letting this person rub me the wrong way…which is really my choice…I observed. Instead of judging (which is just a reflection of me and my wiring)…I wondered. Just like I came by the behaviors I have though “life,” so did this person.
Maybe they had a family growing up that was chaotic, or had to fight to be heard, or maybe life was just tough for them. So they found a way to survive. We all do. We find a way, usually as children, to make situations which could otherwise be “scary” livable. Maybe you grew up in the “perfect” American family. Even in those families, you find the way to get along, to navigate through life and circumstances. There’s still family dynamics, still sibling stuff, parent expectations. You find a way to navigate it…to survive it.
That’s what I started thinking about. The “why.” Wondering about their life what it was like for them. What circumstances developed those behaviors. I chose to look at them as a person, instead of something that was bothering me. It made a huge difference. The person who may have rubbed me wrong became someone who I understood. I may not have completely understood them, but I replaced potential irritation with knowing. Knowing there were reasons they acted like they did.
When you come right down to it, we’re all just people. People who are trying to navigate life with the tools we have. I believe that the vast majority of people want to get along with others. But they may have learned along the way that people in their lives can’t be trusted, or, aren’t reliable, or, love only when they are high achievers, or they have to fight for attention, or…fill in your own blank. So they have ways they interact that don’t always mesh with other people.
For me, I’m going to choose to stay curious. To wonder. And to know that, deep down, we’re all just people. People created perfectly by God who have been through life. Try it. Be curious…I believe it will change your relationships.