this guy isn’t too happy with his neighbors

The more people you rub shoulders with, the more opportunities you have to make friends…or enemies.  Being a flight attendant requires of me to spend quite a few hours in a claustrophobic space, with a fair amount of crabby individuals (there are fantastic passengers too!!!).  In all fairness, I don’t always wake up on the “right side of the bed,” but I have managed, for the most part to get along with my passengers and my co-workers (or at least I think so.  They might say differently).

So, we’ve established that I can get along with strangers and acquaintances, but can I kick it with the people who I love the most?  The people who really know me?  My family?  How do I get along with the people in my life that I can’t say, “see you later” to?

I’m on family vacation week, and it’s made me wonder if the family vacation dynamic ever changes with growing up.  If y’all remember those family vacations, the road trips before iPods and iPads, when you screamed at your brother or sister, and Dad kept saying, “You two better stop it!  I’m going to pull this car over RIGHT NOW!!”

Oh. Was that just my childhood memories?

I’ve realized that, most of the time, the people who I love the most are the ones that I have the most difficult time getting along with, and to be quite honest, the majority of the time, it’s yours truly being divaesque difficult.

The family vacay, the one that I have been anticipating for weeks, the one that I couldn’t wait for to begin, has been creating questions in my mind of, “is this really as fun as I thought it would be?”  It has made me take a look at myself and how I handle feeling “people claustrophobic.”

Well, for one, I like to disappear.  I like to detach from a group in order to reclaim my sanity.  But, how effective is that?  It’s ok to use sometimes, but it’s not healthy to always run away.  Conflict is not something to avoid at all costs.  Conflict, when handled appropriately, can make a relationship stronger.

When reflecting on this topic of getting along with people, I came up with Five guidelines.  I don’t think that this is an all-inclusive list, but it definitely won’t affect your life negatively, and when I use these five, it really helps me navigate the wonderful world of people.

  1. Get Sleep:  without rest, my patience level significantly decreases, and I don’t have the energy to interact.  I must take care of myself first so that I can think and process and just be nice.
  2. Listen:  Take time to listen.  Ask questions.
  3. Erase your own personal agenda:  Often, disagreements occur because each of us may come into an interaction with our own personal memorandum, only interested in what we want out of the encounter.  I know that when I make a conscious choice to say, “hey, let me find out what’s most important to the other person.  I don’t need to selfishly always get what I want,”  the relationship develops in a more healthful and honest way.
  4. Three R’s- Respect, Re-think, Re-adjust:  
    • Respect the other person by being nice, honoring what they say, and acknowledging their views and value in being human.
    • Re-think your view, change your paradigm, and see a situation in another way.  There’s a saying that goes, “we see the world, not as it is, but as we are.”  hmmm…
    • Re-adjust; compromise, walk-away, or set boundaries.  All relationships are fluid and changing, so be open to the revaluation .
  5. Assert yourself:  There is a way to say what you need without being disrespectful, rude, or inconsiderate.  Being assertive does not mean always getting what you want or saying what you need, but it is about honoring yourself and your spirit, knowing your boundaries and limits, and enforcing those when necessary.

Oh man, do I ever think that there is so much that I need to learn and put into practice when it comes to my interaction with others.  One of my dearest friends, when I told him that my patience level with this family vacay was wearing thin, and I was wondering how much I would be able to tolerate, he simply said, “Remember there will be a time when you would kill to have a week with them, so go play with your niece and nephew and marvel at how pretty and shiny their world is.”


The most beautiful moments in this world are not found thousands of miles away at this UNESCO World Heritage Site or that historical place, but sitting right next to me.

Read the classic, by Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends And Influence People.

And, I’ll leave you with one lasting thought:  “I Love My Brother.”



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