Have you wondered why you can click with certain people and some individuals just get on your nerves? When people cannot get along with others, they are generally in disagreement –- on the things they believe in, say or do.  They don’t see the same view point or share the same behaviour as others.  At times, they can become antagonistic or defensive as a form of self preservation or because of survival instinct.

People form social cliques. They enjoy the company of certain people, and commit to working and doing things together.  They click well with one another because they can find common grounds in their thinking, and can identify personality traits which are similar.  On the contrary, when people don’t see eye to eye, they will not commit to stay in the same team.  If the worker does not like his supervisor, he cannot be aligned to work for the general good of the company.  Such thinking and behaviour may create unwanted tensions, hamper productivity at work, and even influence other co-workers.

Building good relationship with people is the foundation for success – for the individual as well as the organisation.  But whether it's in your office or at home, there may be someone in your life that you don't gel with. Perhaps he has a difficult personality, or maybe the both of you are just too different. While every situation is different, here are some techniques that may help your relationship with the other person:


  • Keep your distance: Sometimes it's better to start mending your relationship from afar. You'll have more control over your reactions, and be more objective about the situation without being subjected to emotional triggers. Learn to separate reality from your own bias without overreacting.


  • Disarming technique: Find a kernel of truth in the statement and agree with the person. Using the disarming technique, you're improving your listening skills and learning to be more empathetic as you diffuse the tension. People who tend to lash out can be really unhappy, so try to be understanding. It's hard to pick fights with replies like, "I can see how this is frustrating for you," or "You're right, it is important to be more organised."


  • Create new positive experiences: If the majority of your recent interactions with the person are tinged with negativity, strive to create new experiences on neutral ground. The place where you interact most with this person may trigger strong counteractive feelings, so establish new positive ones.


  • Switch topics: If the conversation is going downhill, switch gears and bring up a happy or neutral topic. This will give you both time to cool down and perhaps even end the conversation on a positive note.


  • Think proactive, not reactive: Since you know you don't get along, you need to make the effort to turn that around. This means being on guard and making a concerted effort to improve the situation. React with logic, not your emotions. 


  • Observe your own emotions: Note how you're feeling when you're dealing with the person. If you find yourself getting upset, take a breather and perhaps come back to the topic later on. You'll be more calm and collected after some time. 

Understand yourself and know what makes people ‘tick’, develop an empathetic behaviour and adjust yourself to adapt with others. We should treat people the way they want to be treated, instead of using your own preferred way. 

Article by Eric Cheong, senior consultant of Brain Capital Group. An accredited senior instructor with Tony Buzan’s techniques in Mind Mapping, Memory, Speed Reading and Creative Thinking, he is also certified as an ACTA Trainer, Developer and Assessor with Singapore Work Development Authority.