Most of us have to be around someone we don’t particularly like and it’s hard to have to work with difficult people. However, most of us don’t realize the power we have to change how we feel about that person. Instead, we maintain our ill feelings, hoping they will eventually realize their faults and change for the better or that they will just go away and leave our lives. That might sound silly, but we generally don’t think the situation through to that extent.

Before I go on, I want to acknowledge that there sometimes are people in our lives who are truly terrible people, perhaps they are abusive to others or doing illegal things. These are people who should be avoided and reported if they are doing bad things to others. What I’m talking about today is people who may have personalities different from ours, those we find annoying or challenging to befriend. Keep people like that in mind when reading this article.

When we expect others to pick up on our feelings and change for the better, we are handing the power of our happiness to them. They are the ones causing us irritation or annoyance and we leave them the power to them when we don’t do anything about it.

The Exercise

Think about someone in your life that you dislike. Now answer the following questions:

  1. Why do you dislike this person?
  2. Does this person dislike you?
  3. What are a few things they do that bother you?
  4. Do you treat them with kindness and respect?
  5. What do you imagine your relationship with this person will be like a year from now?

Considering the answers to your questions, do you have a valid reason for not liking this person? Maybe they have an annoying voice, ask too many questions, are grumpy or are a know-it-all. Maybe their sense of humor is different than yours and their comments just rub you the wrong way. But do you have a legitimate reason for not liking them? Have they gotten you in trouble for something they knew wasn’t your fault? Have they harmed you in any way? If they haven’t actually done anything to harm you, consider whether your feelings are actually valid.

Does the person dislike you? If not, why do you choose to dislike them? If so, why do they dislike you? Always consider their point of view and don’t leave yourself blameless in situations if you’ve done something to upset them. Finally, realize that maybe they don’t actually dislike you; maybe they’re shy or feel the negativity you put off and are just responding to that.

I actually had two friends who were acquaintances of each other and could not figure out why the other didn’t like them. They were paranoid about what they possibly could have done to upset the other. This went on for a couple years until their circles of friends merged and they were forced to face each other. They found out that neither actually had any issue with the other, they had just misinterpreted a look on the other’s face at one time or another and took that to mean they were disliked. Now they are great friends and laugh over the misunderstanding.

What are things the person does that bothers you? Are these valid reasons to not like the person? Maybe you don’t like the way they answer the phone, or maybe they talk too much or are too noisy. But are these valid reasons to be annoyed by the person? Are these things you can let go of and get over? It seems silly when you think about it to let someone change your state of mind just by answering the phone in a way you don’t like. Again, that’s giving them the power to control your happiness.

Do you treat the person with kindness and respect? This is a self-evaluation to determine whether you are faultless in the situation. Even if you are cordial to someone, if you are harboring negative feelings toward them, they can pick up on it and react accordingly. If you have negative feelings toward someone, it makes sense that they would have negative feelings toward you as well.

Finally, what do you imagine your relationship with this person will be like a year from now? Will it be the same or worse? Do you hope they won’t be part of your life for some reason? Do you hope they’ll just leave the company, neighborhood, group of friends or school you’re at, or do you plan to leave? Chances are, you’re going to have to deal with this person for a long time and if you don’t do anything to change the situation, there is no reason why the situation will change.

By answering these questions honestly, you will will get a real perspective on the situation and find ways that you can change to make things better.

The Challenge

Today, I challenge you to start changing your attitude toward this person. Are you resisting? Maybe you think they should change how they act or maybe they should just go away. Don’t give them the power. Take over the situation and own the power over your happiness.

Take these following steps to change your attitude and improve your relationship with this person:

  • Think kind thoughts about the person. As often as possible, find something positive about the person. Maybe they’re wearing a nice outfit, or maybe they’re really good at some part of their job, or they’re considerate of others. Find the good and focus on it. Make a list, if it helps. Just try to seek out the good in the person. They will feel your positive attitude and feel less apprehensive toward you.
  • Be kind to the person. Is there something you can do to make their life a little easier? Can you give something to them earlier to make their job easier or bring them something to save them a trip? Challenge yourself to find things that you can do to make them happy and they may start doing the same in return.
  • Compliment the person. Maybe you’ve never really said anything nice to this person so they have no reason to think you’re a nice person. Change their perception of you by saying nice things to them. Let them know what a great job they did on a project, how nice they look today or how amazing their homemade lunch smells. Just be sure to be genuine and they will have no choice but to think how nice you are.
  • Speak kindly of the person to others. Chances are, you may have said some negative things about this person to others. By doing so, you may feel you are getting them to be on your side to team up against the person, but instead, you’re making yourself look bad. Start giving the person credit for good things they have done or how they have helped you. In changing your attitude and the attitude of others, you will build a positive circle of support to help you change your attitude.


Chances are, if you make these changes and maintain positive thoughts toward those who challenge you in life, you will notice they no longer bother you and you may even develop great friendships with these people. There is also a chance that no matter how hard you try, the person just won’t warm up to you. That’s okay.

The goal in this challenge is to change your own mindset so the actions of others no longer controls your happiness. You deserve to be happy and by maintaining positive thoughts toward others, you will radiate positivity and happiness, which will attract people to you. Don’t let a coworker ruin an otherwise good job for you with their negative attitude; focus on your happiness and all the positive things in your life and your happiness will multiply.

If you took my challenge,  I’d love to hear how it worked for you and what you did to change your attitude toward someone! Just let me know in the comments below.