Nothing complicates life quite like relationships. Even if it's just your client/barista relationship with the coffee slinger at Starbucks, daily interactions with others are almost always the number one factor in how your day goes. Bringing some basic good manners to all of your relationships can make life so much easier. These tips are probably actually over simplified, but taking the smallest of steps can make the biggest of differences.
1. Give the benefit of the doubt.
Assume that everyone else means well. If they act badly, assume they’re having a bad day and can’t help themselves. Sometimes I like to make up a ridiculous story for why someone is behaving badly (maaayybeee he accidentally dropped his favorite shoe in the toilet this morning and had to wear a pair that doesn’t fit!) This keeps you from being constantly offended (aka angry), helps you react to trouble positively and saves you from embarrassment when the other person really does have an overwhelmingly good reason for being “off” (like a death in the family).
Always treat others with respect. This doesn’t mean sniveling and groveling and brown-nosing. It means speaking to other people as though they have the right to exist, or even to disagree with you. It means not assuming the other person is an idiot. Even if they are (let’s face it, sometimes they are), it means speaking to them as if they’re not. A respectful tone of voice and body language can break down all sorts of walls and, in my experience, gets you what you want FAR faster and easier than snide remarks, cut-downs or rants.
3. Don’t assume your thoughts/wishes are obvious.
We all know that making assumptions causes trouble, right? This is SO clear in our relationships, where it seems like a good 50% of conflicts come from someone not doing something that he or she never really knew should be done. This ties in with giving benefit of the doubt. Before assuming you’ve been ignored or slighted, assume that you were misunderstood. Then speak respectfully to correct the situation.
4. Know when to admit fault.
Don’t apologize for things you didn’t do. That’s just annoying. But when you ARE in the wrong, admit it. It builds your credibility, and when something isn’t actually your fault everyone knows you would be honest if it was. This is also an amazingly simple way to stop arguments in their tracks. The trick is to be specific about what you’re admitting to (do NOT say, “I’m sorry for whatever I did that made you mad,”) and about how you’ll avoid doing whatever it was again in the future.
5. Be your own best friend.
Don’t rely on someone else to make you happy. Counting on someone else to pick a restaurant you like or to make your weekend the best ever or to fill your heart with joy is just going to get you disappointed (and angry). Know what makes you happy and speak up for yourself (respectfully).