What If You Hate Someone You Work With?

Several years ago I was invited to speak to a couple dozen
psychology students at The Ohio State University. They were working on their
MBAs so as you might imagine it was a group of very bright young people. No doubt
they had far more insight into psychology than I possessed but I did have
something they didn’t, something they could all learn from – a lot of real-world
business experience.
As I shared the psychology of persuasion and its
application to the business world, we got off on a tangent when we came to the principle of liking. This psychological concept
simply alerts us to the reality that it’s easier for us to say yes to those we
know and like. Think about it for a moment – there are many things you’d willingly
do if asked by a friend that you’d never do for a stranger. So, make more
friends and more people will be willing to help you when you need it.
At one point someone asked, “What if you hate someone you
work with?” I replied, “Hate is a very strong word and I can honestly say I
don’t hate anyone I work with.” Then he rephrased his question, “Okay, what if
you really dislike them?” I
responded, “I don’t really dislike anyone I work with either.” I went on to
explain why that was the case and I’d like to share my thoughts with you in
this post because it might just make your life a lot happier and less
Learning about the liking principle coupled with more than
25 years in business has taught me this – how much I like someone depends far
more on me than it does on the other person. That’s because I can make simple
choices that will not only get them to like me
a little more, but will get me to like them
more at the same time!
A couple of ways to trigger liking are to offer up genuine
compliments and look for things we have in common. Let’s start with
compliments. I firmly believe there’s good in every person. If we look for the
good we’ll find it, and it will get easier and easier to keep finding more good
things. Unfortunately all too often we look for the negative and that’s also
easy to find. It’s a choice so which will you look for?
Abraham Lincoln said, “Everybody likes a compliment.” When
we do find something good and tell the
other person,
they feel good and begin to associate those good feelings
with us. In other words, they start to like us a bit more. But here’s the
interesting thing – that same approach is working on us too! When you look for
something worthy of a compliment in another person and tell them, you begin to
convince yourself that they’re a good person. The very same factor that causes
them to like you makes you like them at the same time.
Studies show when it comes to things you have in common
with someone else, engage on those things and they’ll come to like you more.
That happens because we give a lot of benefit of the doubt to people who root
for the same team, were born in the same town, attended the same college, have
the same pets, etc. And just as sharing compliments works in reverse, so does
this approach. In other words, when you find someone who roots for your team,
went to your college, has the same pet, etc., you come to like them more!
I shared this with the psychology group and went on to
tell them what I’d come to realize during my career was how much I like the
people I work with depends more on me than it does them. That’s because I can
continually make choices to offer sincere compliments and look for things we
have in common. As I do this, I come to like them more. It doesn’t turn
everyone in a best friend and it doesn’t mean I’ll come in early for coffee or
go have beers after work with them all, but I can enjoy them while I’m with
I’d venture to guess if you think about people who don’t
enjoy life and the people who are a part of their life you’ll probably think of
people who are not very outgoing, who don’t look for the best in others and are
probably fairly negative.
Here’s my two-fold challenge for you this week:
1. Make a concerted effort to look for things you have in
common with other people AND then talk about those things with them.
2. Choose to look for things you can genuinely compliment in
other people AND then offer up a sincere compliment.
I guarantee if you make this “the way you do life” you’ll
have an abundance of friends, people who like you and people that you like in
return. Do this and you’ll be able to say as I did years ago, “I can honestly
say I don’t hate, or really dislike, anyone I work with.”
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.


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1 reply
  1. Renelle Vann Mamauag
    Renelle Vann Mamauag says:

    You have no right to hate a person. When you feel you hate that person, you just hate because you feel you are inferior but not just that. There are a lot of things that can trigger hatred even your office mate. Do you wish to hate until you die? Be considerate, learn and accept. There will be no stress in your life if you just accept the fact that you hate someone because you feel you are inferior.
    Thanks Renelle


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