Monday, June 15, 2015

6 Tips for getting Others to Treat you Better

People don't always treat us well.  Sometimes they are rude and belittling, sometimes they are disrespectful, sometimes they are completely insensitive to our needs.  When this is the exception, not the rule, we may simply choose to look past the behaviour and offer some empathy, knowing they must be facing something stressful to be behaving the way they are.

But, what about those people that seem to always be rude, always be belittling us, always disrespecting our needs and wants?  You know who they are...

  • Co-workers that count on you to do all of the work
  • Friends who cancel outings with you always at the last minute, knowing you'll understand
  • Partners who talk down to you
  • Bosses who dump work on you at the last minute every Friday evening
  • Family that counts on you to do all of the prep work for the family gatherings
If you have people in your life that are not treating you the way you would like them to, it is time to accept your responsibility in them doing so.
What you allow is what will continue.   - Unknown
We have far more control over how others treat us than we tend to acknowledge.  Consider how you treat others in your life.

  • Do you have friends that you wouldn't hesitate to drop in on without notice, simply because you are in their area... and others you wouldn't even consider visiting without having given a week's notice?
  • Do you have family you can be open and honest with... and others that you don't share your thoughts and feelings with at all?
  • Do you have co-workers that you don't mind helping out... and others you begrudge their requests of you?
In each of the above cases I'm sure that you acknowledge there is a distinct difference in the way you treat others in your life, chiefly driven by your experience of them.  You may have a friend that is very laid back about the state of her house and so you know that she doesn't need any notice before you drop by, whereas another friend would become completely unglued if you dropped by and they hadn't had a chance to 'tidy' things up first.  

Your experience of 'them' led you to alter the behaviours you engage in.  Likely far more than you even consciously realize.  When visiting your more laid back friend, you are more likely to make yourself at home, putting your feet up, making the tea, letting their dog out, behaviours you wouldn't even think of engaging in when visiting your more uptight friend.  You have modified your behaviours to fit more appropriately with each of them.  

Think, then, as to how the experience that others have of 'you' has shaped the way that they behave and interact with you.  
  • Co-workers that rely on you to get the work done - because you always do it without pushing them to contribute
  • Friends who cancel out of plans at the last minute - because you always have 'no problem' with them doing so
  • Family that counts on you to prepare everything for family gatherings - because you always handle it all, telling them they needn't worry about bringing anything
People don't do things independently of outcomes.  If they are not treating you the way you'd like it is because they are getting something that they want from the exchange.  If there wasn't something in it for them then they would stop.  Think about what they are 'getting' from you.  If you want them to modify their behaviour then modify yours such that they are no longer receiving the reward they are after.  

If you are looking to get others in your life to treat you better then you need to shift how you are treating them.  Although we can not change the behaviour of others, we always have control over...
  • How we interpret the behaviours of others
  • How we respond to those behaviours
  • How we allow those behaviours to impact our lives
If you're looking to create a 'change' in how others perceive and treat you, start with the following tips to get you started.

Name Your Limits

You need to be clear about your boundaries if you want others to respect them.  What are you willing to tolerate, accept and live with?  What aren't you?  If you aren't clear on this then you are going to be giving very mixed signals about how you want to be treated.  It has to be clear to you before you can begin making it clear to others.

Give Yourself Permission

Sometimes we are fearful of the reactions of others, or we feel guilty at the thought of putting our needs first.  However, boundaries are a sign of self-respect.  If you want people to respect you, then you first need to respect yourself.  You must give yourself permission to put yourself first, to accept you are deserving and that you have rights and needs that are just as important and valued as theirs.

Check Your Personal Engine Light

This is a great gauge to use in coming to understand where boundaries are needed.  Any exchange that drains your personal batteries, that leaves you running on fumes, deserves a much closer look.  If your exchanges with someone always seem to leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed - then you are not being treated as you should and likely need better boundaries.  If your Check Engine Light goes on it is a signal that you need to address.

Use Your Feet

Don't feel that you have to remain in a negative situation.  Vote with your feet and simply walk away when someone is treating your poorly.  If you can't give voice to your concerns and needs in the moment you needn't remain and take it.  Walk away until you are in a better place to address your needs.

Demonstrate the Behaviour

It will be difficult to get someone to treat you with respect if you don't demonstrate respect for them or yourself. Emulate the behaviour so they can replicate it.  This is a two-way street my friend. Don't expect others to treat you better if you consistently treat them as less.

Right to 'No' Better

'No' is a complete sentence.  It doesn't need explanations, it doesn't need embellishments.  Learn how to say it.  You have the right to say No to being lied to, to say No to taking on the responsibilities of others to say No to unhealthy relationships.  Consider where your life might improve through the judicious use of a 'No' or two.

As it turns out, we have far more control over how others treat us than we may prefer to believe, typically because it means that we need to take some actions that will prove unpopular and therefore challenging for us.  The question you need to ask yourself is... 
What will it take for me to accept no less than I want from others?   
Believing you deserve better and that you have a right to better gives you the strength to begin expecting better.

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