Thursday, April 29, 2010

Excerpt from 'Getting Good at Getting Along'

Many people say that the best relationships are those that are 50-50. It’s a nice idea, but it often falls short in real life. People hold onto resentments – waiting for the other person to “see the light.” People insist that others take their share of responsibility when an issue comes up: “I’ve done my part; now it’s their turn.” The problem is, you might be waiting a very long time if you always insist that relationships (and their problems) be 50-50 propositions.

If you’re really serious about getting good at getting along with others, here’s an idea that can transform your life: Instead of expecting people to meet you 50-50, try making it 100-0. You take on the entire responsibility for making the relationship work, and don’t worry about whether the other person is doing their part!

Yes, it’s a somewhat radical idea. But if you’re up to really having amazing relationships at work – and in your personal life – this will do it. You’ll never again feel that you’re at the mercy of someone else. You’ll never feel like a victim of another’s actions or inactions.

Here’s how it works …
• Assume that the other person is a given. “He is who he is.” “This is her personality – she isn’t going to change.” Just accept the person exactly as they are – and exactly as they aren’t. This is who you’ve got to work with.
• Ask yourself, How can I change my words or actions when I deal with this person? You don’t have to change your whole personality – you’re just going to use different language and behaviors when dealing with this person.
• Try out new behaviors and new ways of conversing with your “problem person.” See what works and do more of it. If something doesn’t work, stop doing it.
• Learn from others. Watch others who have excellent interpersonal relationships and learn from them. If you want good relationships like those, mimic them.
• When there’s a problem, take ownership of it. As long as someone else is the problem, you’re powerless. But if YOU own the problem, then YOU can own and control the solution.

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