What I Learned From Traveling: How To Like The People You Can’t Stand

On my travels I have met many people who I absolutely can’t stand to be around- the kind of people that make my unjust senses start tingling and who I feel deserve to have thunderbolts cast upon them by Zeus. These people might not even have done anything to me personally, but if I think someone has very poor character, in the past, he has made it on my to-strike-with-thunderbolts list regardless.

Still, all the time I’ve thought it was a waste of energy and only harmful to myself to hate another person and I just wished I didn’t feel so strongly. Until one day I found the emotion to be so ridiculous that I promised myself I would try a new method of interacting with the next person who made it onto my list.

The Method

My plan of action was to treat the offending individual as if I really liked him or her. This would mean talking amicably, offering help, and smiling, among other things. I expected that the outcome would be that I would be able tolerate these insufferable individuals, but I was extremely surprised and happy when I tried this method for the first time and genuinely came to like the person, and even became good friends with her.

I could not stand this girl. She seemed immature, two-faced, and air-headed. Shed been bothering me for weeks, never doing anything to me personally but I nonetheless disapproved of her interactions with other people. When it finally got to the point where I realized how angry she made me, I decided to implement the method.

The next time I saw her I smiled and asked her how she was doing and what she was up to, and she asked the same of me and smiled back. And that was literally all it took. That interaction took me from hate to don’t mind in one minute flat. I kept it up over the next few weeks, and don’t mind turned into like and like turned to friendship.

This girl still doesn’t know how badly I used to think of her. I am happy that she unknowingly allowed herself to be my like-someone-you-cant-stand guinea pig.

And that is it. It is something I wish I had been taught in school instead of learning about the history of World War II ten separate times or calculating the force on a car accelerating in an ellipse on an inclined race track because those really came in handy.

So there you have it: if you want to like somebody, just pretend that you already do.


How do you deal with the people that bug you most?