Keeping Your Cool in a Sticky Situation

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Like it or not, there are times when you have to get along with someone you may have struggles with. It could be a boss, an ex-spouse, or a next-door neighbor. How can you maintain good rapport with someone you're struggling with? Be nice, be nice, be nice! That might sound like a pretty tall order, but it's easy if you follow three simple steps.

What Causes You Not to Be Nice?

Start by identifying the circumstances that chase being nice out the window for you. Pay attention and watch for the signals, because everyone has them. You might want to ask your family, close friends, or coworkers to lovingly point out the "buttons" that cause your niceness to dissipate. Is it when your nagging supervisor calls you into the office? When you have to deal with a rude customer? When you have to wait in a slow-moving line?

For me, it's usually when I'm tired that I'm not nice. I get cranky, become abrupt with people, and act unkindly. Because I have the awareness and presence of mind to realize that it's not because other people are extra irritating in that moment, but that the issue lies with me, I usually have the good sense to force a smile and do all I can to make it about them.

Refill Your Reservoir
The next step is filling up your reservoir. Cup your hands together as though you were going to splash water on your face. Your two hands together represent your reservoir, which is filled with your dreams, fantasies, personality, passion, talents, and skills -- everything that makes you who you are, everything that makes you wonderful. Do you ever feel at the end of the day that your reservoir is drained and empty? How does it get drained? Traffic. Bad weather. A new computer system at work. Your boss's bad mood.