Turning Adversaries into Friends

At some point in our lives, we run into someone who seems hell-bent to do whatever they can to ruin our enjoyment of life.

Most of the time, we can simply ignore them for the short time they exist in our world.

But what if they are a co-worker, or someone who attends a regular event you don’t want to give up?

Here’s what I try to do in these situations.

The first step is to acknowledge that it’s going to take some effort, and if you want something to change, you have to be the one to change it.

Crying and complaining isn’t going to do any good.

The second step is to start with the basic assumption that every human being wants to feel good, and sometimes, they think that tearing others down will build themselves up.

In other words, they simply don’t know any better.

Now, the next step is going to feel like more work than you may want to do, but it’s critical.

Take time to get to know this person.

What is their homelife like?

What do they enjoy?

Who inspires them?

What are their dreams?

If they already had everything they ever wanted, how would they spend their time?

There’s a quote from Abraham Lincoln who said, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”

When you create a stronger bond with someone through understanding them, they will usually feel that stronger connection, and respond in a more positive way.

In asking these and similar questions, make sure you aren’t harsh in your asking, or it will feel like an interrogation.

Make sure they feel accepted and loved, as much as you are able to project those feelings.

In other words, be a friend who cares about them.

Many times, when a person is harsh and hateful, it’s because they aren’t getting the love and attention they need.

Now, I realize this may sound like wimpy, do-gooder wishful thinking.

That’s because it’s not quite as simple as it first appears.

There’s more involved here, the most important of which is that you have to present yourself as a strong individual who is doing this by choice and not because it’s the only thing you can do.

When a strong individual takes the time to reach out to you, it means a lot more than someone desperately trying to get you to like them.

To put it another way, you have to care, but not too much.

It’s also important not to come off as a know-it-all or someone doing missionary work.

People want friends and partners. They don’t really want to be saved.

When you can present ideas and suggestions as one friend talking to another, you’ll get a lot better response.

There’s an old saying that says that everything a person does is either an expression of love, or a cry for help.

When someone is hyper-critical of you, or blocks you from getting what you deserve, it’s usually because they feel something lacking in their own life.

Taking a few minutes here and there to befriend these people will go a long way to smoothing the pathway for both of you.

This was the core message in a talk I gave recently, called “Channeling the Divine Mother“.

If you haven’t already seen it, check it out.