Teach people how to treat you

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Andrew

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Andrew

Do friends, family, your boss or even co-workers use guilt to get you to do something? Do some of your relationships work better than others? Is there a benefit to both parties and a feeling of mutual respect? Do you feel like you’re being pushed around in life? Consider this; people will treat you how you allow them to treat you.

You teach people how to treat you and if you allow certain behaviors people will take advantage of you. One way to break the cycle is to not acknowledge people when they’re attempting to take advantage of you. If you siblings I’m sure you remember them doing things to intentionally annoy you like poking you or making weird faces. The more you reacted the more they did it. The same principle applies to adults. People won’t get as much pleasure out of pushing your buttons or bothering you if you don’t give them a reaction.

Another option is to call people out. Be up front and tell them about the behavior or action they’ve done that’s upsetting you. Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re having a problem with people respecting your time. Friends, colleagues and even customers are constantly showing up late for appointments. The longer you allow them to do that the more it will happen. You can try say something like, “I understand (xyz) came up, it happens to all of us. Your time is valuable as is mine. So, if this happens again I will have to reschedule or cancel. We both have a lot going on and I intend to respect your time and mine.” People will either shape up or ship out.

Now, not all of our relationships are negative. Those are the relationships you want to celebrate. Remember, celebrate what you want to duplicate. If someone is always punctual, kind, respects your goals, is appreciative, etc., you want to bring attention to that behavior. You should say things like “I really appreciate how punctual you always are” or “I’m grateful you always get your assignments done on time.”

Appreciate and positively reinforce what people do right. Instead of criticizing complement those who treat you well. For example you could talk about how someone is always on time and how much you appreciate it in front of someone who is always late. This way you aren’t directly criticizing the late person, but they will get the message. Often the lack of praise is a far greater motivator than negative criticism.

Decide to bring people up to your standards and weed out mediocrity in your life. Reinforce the positive relationships and sort out the bad.

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