Posted by: fathersez | January 8, 2008

My 3 rules on dealing with people

We must all have had our share of run-ins with rude, obnoxious and plain pain in the &*@ people. These run-ins spoil our moods, and sometimes, extend to spoiling our days. And sometimes, we end up paying it forward by being rude and obnoxious to others.

I was one of these rude, obnoxious and plain pain in the &*@ people. I have had friends telling me that sooner or later somebody was going to give me a tight slap. And God knows how many people I must have left with nothing but vile thoughts about me.  

Thankfully it did not require a tight slap to make me come to my senses. 

The change came about when I started writing a book on my experiences. This book was meant as a guide to my children. As I was writing, I realized that I was not the kind of person I wanted my children to be.

And I changed, slowly and steadily.  

One of the more significant changes is in my dealings with people. Now I am a lot cooler and kinder, even though I do say so myself.  

I have to thank my 3 rules for this. 

Rule 1 – Don’t judge anyone by our standards.  

We call a person crazy or silly when he or she does something we consider crazy. Who are we to decide what is crazy and what is not crazy? What is crazy to us may not be so crazy to others. And what may not be so crazy to us may be absolutely bonkers to others. 

We are always free to disagree, but we should not judge.  

Rule 2 –     If we are unhappy with a person’s behavior or   manners, just tell ourselves, that his behavior is a reflection of the sum total of his upbringing, education and experience. We do not have to come down to his level. 

May seem to be a long rule, but it works. 

If we walk into a store and see the attendant reading the newspaper and ignoring us, this is the rule to apply.

We do not have to feel unhappy, slighted or anything along these lines. We can walk away and find another store or apply Rule 3. 

Rule 3 –      I shall treat everyone the way I would want them to treat my children. 

I have 5 children. Like any other parent, and I am sure, like my parents before me, I worry about how they would be treated by the “world”. Their employers, their friends, their future spouses, their colleagues and all the countless other people they will come into contact with as they go about their daily lives. 

I want my children to be treated with kindness and with fairness. I want them to be given guidance and if they make mistakes, corrected in a way that will leave them feeling good. 

And I shall treat everyone I deal with in this same manner. 

These are my 3 rules.  

I try my best not to enter into any argument. After all, no one will really care who is right. If I am drawn into some discussion which may not end well, I just smile and say that on matters like these, I am no expert, and walk away or change the subject.  

So far they have worked for me. And the world now seems to be made up of perfectly reasonable people.

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Responses

  1. In battling my depression, one of the best books I read was Feeling Good by David Burns. He raises the fascinating point that we often let others make us feel bad long after they’re gone. And that we also tend to judge by “mind-reading”…making assumptions like “He’s a jerk” when someone cuts us off.

    Maybe his wife was just rushed to the hospital. Or maybe he’s just an overstressed and miserable person and we should instead be feeling sorry that he feels so rushed that he puts peoples’ lives in jeopardy.

    I don’t always succeed, but it’s an interesting experiment to try. By the time I’m done coming up with scenarios, I’ve often let go of my annoyance.

  2. Mrs. M,

    David Burns is right.

    And your scenario planning is a great idea. It is a very positive way of dropping off these totally unneccessary loads.

    Must remember this.

    Thank you.

  3. The simple fact of the matter is: you can’t change others (for better or for worse) unless they themselves want to change. What matters most is that we don’t allow other people’s behaviour to affect us (negatively). Because whatever we focus on grows and expands. I often back away when a person complains to me about another. It’s not that I don’t care. I just don’t want to be affected. The most I can do is convey kind thoughts.

  4. […] Father Sez has 3 rules on dealing with people. […]


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