We see our friend from across the room. He smiles. He laughs with his buddies. When we slowly navigate our way through the crowd to offer our hand, he takes a step back and looks at us as if we had just dropped from a nearby galaxy.
Life could not be more perfect.
Why are some people so difficult to appreciate? Is there a sign on our foreheads that invites others to walk all over us? Or, are we simply too sensitive to understand the nature of relationships and how they work?
1. Be Honest
Every relationship we have comes from an event we either approved or disapproved.
The relationship is there, it is alive, and it will not be going anywhere. Good or bad, it will always be there.
The first step to cooperating with one another is to admit we have to cooperate with one another. As simple as it sounds, it is one of the most challenging things to do. Being honest with those around us will make all the difference.
If we are in a situation where someone asks us our opinion, we need to tell the truth all the time. Some may feel that is a drastic step. Why tell the truth? Why expose us to possible criticism?
Because it is easier to remember the truth than to remember a lie.
2. Show Manners
We walk into a store, find the item we are looking for, and head to the counter for the purchase. Somehow, the cashier has not had the best of days, and she is looking to us as another excuse to vent her frustration with life and the pursuit of happiness.
But we decide to engage her on another level.
She hands us the avocados, and we say thank you. She asks if we will need a bag. We say yes, thank you. We ask her to hand us the receipt instead of placing it in the bag, please. She does so.
We walk out and notice, looking back, a slight smile cresting on her face. Could it have been something we said?
A please and a thank-you can change a situation quickly, diffusing bad feelings, and transforming a potential nuclear event into a kitten’s purr.
3. Appreciate Everyone
When was the last time we patted someone on the back? For some, it may be a meaningless gesture, but for others, it translates to a positive experience.
Let us take a moment to think about how it would feel if someone came to us and expressed their gratitude for something we did. Picture their face. Hear their words—if there were words.
Random acts of appreciation bond people.
Whenever we take it upon ourselves to make someone happy, we, in turn, by extension, make ourselves happy. Silly, is it not? It is true, though. Can someone say feelings of euphoria do not course through our veins when we show gratitude toward others?
That little bit of wonderful happens whenever we give of ourselves to others in a selfless and meaningful way.
4. It Is Not All About Us
Sometimes we are the ones who are the biggest stumbling blocks for others.
Either we face the reality that the world will continue on its merry way with or without us, or we continue believing everything we do deserves a spotlight.
There comes a time in one’s life that being a contributing member of society is far better than living in drama.
Here is an example: Johnny decided he was not going to attend his best friend’s wedding. He could not bring himself to shake the jealousy he feels when he sees his best friend with the girl who once rejected him. So he came up with the flimsy excuse that he will be in Europe that same weekend. What Johnny failed to tell his best friend is that he made his plans for Europe the very moment he received the wedding invitation.
Another example is the story of Mary, who hates that her sister bought a new home. Every time her sister posts a photo of the house on Facebook, Mary skips the post and moves on to other items on her newsfeed. One day Mary came upon one too many photos, that she unfriended her sister. Yes, it was an awful thing to do. Of course, she did later regret it and tried to explain it away. Apparently, Facebook had a glitch that unfriended people on her list arbitrarily. Or so she said.
In both cases, Johnny and Mary allowed envy to take root and skew their perspectives. Instead of being happy for his best friend’s upcoming marriage, Johnny drove a wedge between them that will forever affect their friendship. As for Mary, she may have gotten away with lying to her sister this time, but how many more times will she do the same and not hurt their relationship?
Any one of us can become Johnny or Mary.
To prevent this from happening, we have to remain focused and not succumb to the temptation of always wanting to be the center of attention.
5. Help Whenever You Can
The homeless person on the corner of that hectic intersection needs something to eat. What do we do? Do we give money? Do we hand over a portion of our lunch? Or do we extend an invitation for a meal together?
It is easy to turn away people in need. All we have to do is say we are busy and look the part. No one bothers busy people.
But is that something we want to do?
Days before his crucifixion, Jesus said, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matthew 25:34-40 ESV).
Getting along with others is not just about agreeing and moving forward. It is about getting involved and making a difference in someone’s life.
This also means helping those who do not like us.
Imagine what a world it would be if we all did that.