“She sets my teeth on edge.”
“He makes my skin crawl.”
“People like that make me sick.”
Have you ever said that, or, being polite, thought that, about someone?
I know I have.
Why do we like or dislike people?
When we take an instant dislike to someone, we often describe our feelings in these physical terms. If challenged to explain our negative reaction, we tend to mumble something about what they have said or done, or that “they just rub me up the wrong way, that’s all”.
Conversely, when we like someone, we often reach for more cerebral terms.
“He speaks my language.”
“She really gets me.”
“We are on the same page.”
Why do we like and get along with some people from the first second we meet them, while others, although ostensibly perfectly pleasant and popular, make us want to run screaming from the room?
We could try to lie on a couch and explain to a psychologist exactly why we like or dislike a person. Soon, that professional would gently nudge us into realising that, as in so many things that send us hurtling into therapy or reaching for the bottle, the like or dislike of others is mostly about ourselves.
We project our own personalities onto others
People we instinctively like are normally people with whom we feel a kinship; someone with characteristics that we like and admire in ourselves. Sometimes it could almost be a projection. I want to see myself that way but don’t quite give myself permission to do so, because I am too modest or afraid to be slapped down. So, I allow myself to admire and praise you instead.
And the people who ‘make us’ nauseous, irritated, angry (as if anyone but ourselves can make us feel anything!), well, they are the people whose negative qualities are those we recognise in ourselves – subconsciously of course. Instead of facing this reflection of ourselves, we try to avoid it.
Tout comprendre c’est tout pardoner. “To understand all is to forgive all,” goes a French saying. While we can’t force ourselves to like people or vice versa, at least we should try to understand where they are coming from. We should take into consideration that the aspects of them that we dislike probably resonate with the murkier depths in our souls.
Why else would we bother to call up such strong feelings instead of meeting them with indifference?
Do you have to like your colleagues?
In business, we don’t necessarily have to get along with staff, teammates and customers, but oh, how it helps.
A team where each player works well with the others is so much greater than its parts. At the same time, one individual in the wrong place can lead to team friction and drag the whole company down.
Wouldn’t it be great to find out how to get the best out of your hires? How to create a work environment where people want to stay and stay, simply because they go so well with their colleagues, their manager, their job and your company culture? How to create a team that is strategically aligned and works well together?
Isn’t it good to know that you don’t have to try and fail, waste endless time and money on trying to put people together who shouldn’t – or indeed should – be?
Team analytics tools, such as the new and unique PI Team Discovery functionality can provide powerful insights.
We can’t guarantee that your new recruit will become everyone’s new best friend. But really knowing the core behavioral drives and needs – and our own – undoubtedly leads to better awareness and understanding. And less team friction!
Why not connect with one of our expert Consultants to book a free 1:1 Talent Strategy Session to help your team understand each other better?