How to Put Up With People You Dislike

Written by lars tramilton
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How to Put Up With People You Dislike
Learn how to communicate with people you dislike. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

In life, we all have to occasionally do things that we do not want to do, and we often do not have any say in it. One of these things is dealing with people that we, simply put, dislike wholeheartedly. Whether you work with an obnoxious and difficult co-worker or have to shoot the breeze with a dreaded in-law, you have to do it and the reality is that it is unpleasant. Learn how to put up with these people instead of allowing them to run (or ruin) your life.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Give the person the benefit of the doubt. If you are in a situation where you have to deal with someone, make an honest attempt to try to view them in a more positive light, at least at first. Abstain from presuming malice and try to look at the person from a more positive point of view. Instead of speculating that a person is trying to harm you, consider instead that he is actually is trying to work with you but just doesn't know how.

  2. 2

    Compliment the person. Try to be the bigger person in situations where the other person actually does something positive. For instance, if your unpleasant co-worker lands the company an important and valuable client, pay her a genuine compliment in order to soften her up to you and make her less prone to acting out (and making your life miserable) on other days when things aren't perhaps going as well. Do what it takes in order to make life easier for you, even if that includes praising someone you genuinely do not like.

  3. 3

    Look at things from another perspective. In many situations, a person we do not get along with simply has a different viewpoint. It may not mean that the other person is inherently a bad person, but simply that you and he differ in how you see the world. Observe the behavioural patterns of someone you do not get along with. For instance, if you dislike a family member because he is obsessed with talking about himself (and himself only), consider maybe that he is unhappy in life and as a result is seeking attention any way he can get it. The better you understand a person, the more you will be able to tolerate him.

  4. 4

    Abstain from asking unnecessary questions. If you do not like a person but need to communicate, one smart thing to do is to focus on brevity. Do not draw out your conversations with this person -- remember that less is more. One way in which to do this is by never asking questions (unless you absolutely have to). The shorter your interactions are, the less the possibility of hostility surfacing.

  5. 5

    Be courteous. As the old proverb goes, "Kill them with kindness." Being polite and well-mannered never hurt anyone. If you engage in polite behaviour, you can help to establish a rapport that is distant and formal, making it less likely that your interactions can spiral out of control and lead to a problem. Make sure, however, that you always come across as genuine rather than mocking. The last thing you want is a person you do not like (but that you have to deal with) believing that you are mocking him.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not let anyone rile you up. Remember that life is too short to get emotionally bothered by someone you dislike. Instead of focusing on how much you dislike a certain person, concentrate on the people that you do like. If you have to deal with someone you can't stand (whether for work or for other obligations), look at it simply as a task -- and then move on.

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