How to get along with others

By : Prasanna Perera, Marketing and Management Consultant, Chartered Marketer, CIM, U.K.

Everything is connected to everything else. We live in a huge system in which every action has a reaction. Life is about these relationships, these connections among other people, animals, plants and other aspects of the environment.

Humans develop emotional and physical connections to others, in order to thrive and be happy. But not all relationships are happy and successful. What makes the difference?

Self belief is important for building successful relationships with others. People with good self belief are convinced of their own worth, and also think the best about others. Three values that contribute to good relationships are trust, respect and empathy. Trust means that you can rely on someone else, and he or she can rely on you. Respect means that you value the other person, and he or she values you. Empathy means you can experience another person's feelings or ideas as if they were your own.

Developing good relationships
With some attention to the needs of others, most of our relationships can be successful ones. This means that we need to really listen for the underlying meaning when others talk. Even though you are busy, it is important to take the time to notice peoples moods and body language.

Building a relationship requires both individuals to focus on their own behaviour, intentions and expectations. In general, people who are focused on personal growth can handle negative feedback constructively. Although receiving negative feedback is rarely fun, learning from it can strengthen you as an individual, as well as strengthen the relationship.

In each relationship, you need to draw boundaries, which are standards we set, to help us preserve our self respect and sense of control. Physical boundaries are the right to control your body and your possessions, emotional boundaries are the right to respectful treatment from others, intellectual boundaries are the right to express your ideas and opinions and spiritual boundaries are the right to stand up for your values and beliefs.

It is normal and predictable that once two people have spent some time together, they will disagree about something. It escalates to a conflict when the parties involved perceive incompatible goals, values or standards. If each person sticks to their guns, the disagreement can escalate. In power struggles everyone is a loser, since the struggle consumes all the creative energy. On the other hand, if handled in a fair and assertive manner, using negotiation skills, conflicts can have healthy and productive results. In negotiating, the first step is to separate the people from the problem. Next, focus on areas of mutual interest, not positions. By focusing on interests, it allows you to find areas of common agreement and similar needs and desires.

The third step in negotiations is to invest options for mutual gain. This can be achieved by means of brainstorming for alternatives, that allow each side to get what they need most. Finally, base the results on objective criteria, which is agreed upon by all parties.

Conflict Resolution
Not all conflicts require negotiations. Sometimes minor conflicts are resolved through compromise. Compromise occurs when people choose a solution that is acceptable to both sides, but it is not the first choice of either party.

Conversion is another conflict resolution method, when one side is so persuasive that he or she convinces the other, and both parties are satisfied. Finally, accepting differences can also be used as a conflict resolution method. Both sides accept the right of the other to choose and make an independent decision. No attempt is made to convert the other party at a later date.

In conclusion, it must be borne in mind that you cannot accomplish anything in life, without the help of others. Hence, the ability to get along with others is paramount. In dealing with others, conflicts will arise and you must be able to deal with them in a mutually rewarding manner.

"Negotiation is the art of showing others how toget what they want, while you get what you want".
"Enjoy people and their diversity".

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