Jun 052014 7 Responses

Three Steps to Liking Every Person You Meet

When did it become the norm to dislike people?

Notice it at work–people are quick to name co-workers they don’t like, to mock clients or customers, and to demean others.

Notice it among friends–how much conversation is spent degrading people, gossiping, or complaining?

Notice it at church–how much time is spent in Sunday School or in the foyer talking about how people have frustrated us.

Maybe it’s always been this way, maybe it hasn’t, but the normal thing to do today is to dislike people. (See: Three Reasons People Criticize You)

Do you want to be different? Would you like to standout?

One of the easiest ways to standout at work, among friends, or in society is to simply like people.

I Like People

There are very few people who I struggle to enjoy. I like people.

And it’s a good thing. (See: Never Give Up On People)

Being a pastor puts me in contact with a variety of individuals. If I didn’t like them, it would be difficult to serve them.

I was playing golf a few years ago with some friends I see regularly and someone I had just met. Throughout the round different names of people would be mentioned and without realizing it, I kept saying, “He’s a good guy” or “I really like him” or “She’s very kind.” Late in the round, the person I had just met turned to me and asked, “Is there anybody you don’t like?”

I thought for a moment and said, “Not really. For the most part, the only people I don’t like are the ones I haven’t met. There are some people on social media who irritate me, but by and large, if I’ve met you, I like you.” (See: 10 Communication Posts Your Co-Workers Should Read)

My new friend couldn’t understand it, but I think I know why I tend to enjoy relationships with a variety of people.

3 Steps to Liking People

There are three basic steps to liking every person you meet.

1. Forgive Quickly. One of my favorite old songs opens with “Everyone needs compassion.” It’s true. We all stand in need of forgiveness. Those you don’t like are likely those you haven’t forgiven. Whenever we are quick to forgive others—not quick to deny mistakes or ignore them, but quick to forgive them—we create a climate in which a relationship can take place. Without forgiveness, we will never have the ability to appreciate someone for who they actually are. (See: Three Reasons You Can’t Forgive)

2. Judge solely on personal experience. Never judge a person based on the experience of another; decide for yourself. Many relationships are tainted before they begin because we have heard how someone acted or treated another. The only problem is that we weren’t there. Everything we have been told has been filtered by someone else. While I might use references before I hire someone or go into partnership with them, I will not allow other people to influence whether or not I like a person. I will only judge you based on my personal experience with you. (See: You Hurt My Feelings)

3. Always seek to understand. The main reason we do not like people is because we do not understand them. We write a story about their lives which is not true. Whenever we seek to understand what motivates another person it helps us to have compassion toward them. If someone ignored you in Wal-Mart, you might think they were a jerk. If someone’s mother died and you saw them at Wal-Mart, if they ignored you the assumption would be that they were distracted or grief stricken. Both situations are the same—they ignored you—but in the first story you assumed they were a jerk and in the second story you assumed they were a grieving child. Understanding changes everything. Whenever someone does something we do not like, seek to understand why they might have done it. And do not jump to a negative conclusion. Determine some possible reasons and assume the best. (See: When You Feel What No One Has Ever Felt)

While there may always be an exception to the rule, almost without fail, if you are quick to forgive, judge solely on personal experience, and always seek to understand, you will make it very difficult on people not to be liked by you.

And when you like people, you tend to like life.

7 Responses to Three Steps to Liking Every Person You Meet
  1. Tammy Elmore Reply

    Awesome!!

  2. dennyneff Reply

    I really like what you had to say and I am picking up the gauntlet you symbolically threw down. I am determined to like people and will try to follow your formula, which if I stick to it, should make it easy (yeah, right!). I know there are a great crowd of people in this age that seem committed to not liking most if not everyone. I also know for a while I will probably be viewed as a hypocrite, or a fake until I earn the credibility of those I regularly associate with. Thank you for yet another great lesson on living life as an authentic Christian. As God brings my name to your thought, I would really love it if you could utter a short prayer for me as I know I’m going to need it.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Can do, Denny. Ironically, this post is somewhat in line with the old phrase, “if you don’t like someone, pray for them.” Prayer makes it possible.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Can do, Denny. Ironically, this post is somewhat in line with the old phrase, “if you don’t like someone, pray for them.” Prayer makes it possible.

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