We all have “enemies” — unpleasant individuals we can’t avoid because of work or social obligations. As a general rule, we deal with them by staying away as much as possible. When we must interact, we speak as little as we can. Just the facts and goodbye.
However, there’s a better way to deal with these people.
Find something that you have in common. Maybe a favorite sports team. Or an interest in wine, stamps, or Frank Sinatra. It may seem hard to imagine that someone you don’t like can share a passion with you. But if you dig beneath the surface, you will be surprised at what you discover.
I remember having a tough time convincing HR, a big-shot financial author at the time, to work with an editor of mine. I got them together for dinner one night, and forced a long and painful conversation. I was hoping some common interest would pop up. I tried all the obvious things — business, art, and politics. But they were polar opposites.
Then, just as dessert was served, the subject of “Saturday Night Live” came up. And it turned out that both of them had a perverse fascination with a particular skit that was popular back then.
So spend a little time trying to find something you share with your enemy. Then, the next time you’re together, say something specific and engaging about it. See how the conversation goes. If your experience is like mine, you’ll discover that more than half of such relationships will become less stressful. The essential differences between the two of you won’t go away. But it will be easier to work out disagreements and come to terms when you have a way of having fun together.
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Where Can You Find the Best Business Partners? – You may consider your competitors to be bitter enemies. But in business – especially online – some of your most profitable deals will come from partnering with them. In the Internet Money Club, you’ll learn how to set up these lucrative joint ventures. And put together win-win deals.[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]