Annoyed by people you can’t avoid?

November 28, 2013 by Joshua
in Blog, Leadership, Tips

Do you have people you can’t avoid that annoy you and want to handle them more effectively?

Normally I think of this situation at work, but I’m sure it applies to some people with their families on Thanksgiving.

I build on the following two principles and apply them to personal relationships:

Great teams are built on strengths.

Don’t look for blame but take responsibility for improving things to the extent you can.

You behave differently in different situations and with different people. So does everyone else. I think of it as everyone having facets — different faces they show different people. As with a gem, each facet shows more complexity to a person than you could possibly exhaust. Since people keep growing and changing, you never run out of parts of them to observe and interact with. I also think of it that if I were trapped on a desert island with anyone, I expect I would never run out of things to learn about that person.

By contrast, if you built a team on weaknesses, you could cause the best teams to fail.

If I find someone boring or annoying, I take for granted that however boring or annoying the facts I see they have facets I could find interesting. Then I take responsibility to find those interesting facets. If I find them boring, I don’t blame them. I take responsibility for bringing out parts of them I like interacting with. I look for strengths to build teamwork on. I know that with anybody, no matter how awesome, if you pick them apart enough, you’ll find parts you don’t like. Anyone could do that with you. Does that make you a bad person or hopeless? No.

This perspective puts the onus on me to develop social skills to improve such situations. It also motivates me to because it suggests my efforts will reward me.

It doesn’t oblige me to look for these facets. I keep in mind that if I find or create a better option than interacting with this person, I can walk away. Improving my BATNA (if you don’t know this term, start here, it’s one of the more important ones you’ll learn about relationships) works in these situations too.


When relationships aren’t working for me, I take a leadership role to improve them by believing others have facets I’d enjoy interacting with. I build teams on strengths.

I also keep in mind if I can create a better alternative I can walk away. I choose my battles.

Read my weekly newsletter

On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

4 responses on “Annoyed by people you can’t avoid?

Leave a Reply

Sign up for my weekly newsletter