I know this sounds crazy — but do you sometimes feel you are allergic to certain people? Every time you’re around them, your body or emotions react negatively?
Dr. Daniel Goleman, author of Social Intelligence, talks about “social allergies.” It’s a term that explains how you can begin to react negatively even to people you love, like family and friends. Their quirks that were once funny now get on your nerves. It is literally a “social allergic reaction.” I bet someone just came to mind didn’t they?
Here’s what we need to do. First, remember that psychoanalysts remind us that no one person can meet all of our emotional needs. Healthy people dump that idea fast. Humans have seven major neural systems (in their brain) that drive what we want to do and who we want to be with. We tend to want to be around the people who meet the most of those drives. When you are with colleagues or students with whom you work, consciously remind yourself of their value. What is it that first drew you to them or made you want to respect them? If you’re a parent, remember the joy your child brought you or the qualities you admire in them even as a kid.
Second, seek out people (adults or students) with whom you experience a mutually beneficial relationship. Seek to add value to others based on their emotional, intellectual or physical needs. It may simply be a word of encouragement or a confirmation that what they do matters. We can adapt and learn to enjoy people, but must realize it’s important to find those unique people we just “connect with.”
These two steps work like good medicine. They may just be the cure for your social allergies with certain people. (Whom will remain nameless.)
What are your thoughts? What people skills do you employ with difficult people?
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