Sorry for dropping off the face of the earth. I ended up going back to work and some of my side projects started catching up to me. Nevertheless, I’m glad to be back and I’m more excited than ever to share what I’ve been thinking about. By the end of this blog, I hope all of you are able to gain something valuable from how I view the different people in my life. Let’s get started.
I’ve mentioned before that I really do see everyone as some sort of friend. In that sense, I’m kind of like a kid at a playground. If we played together or talked even once, I’ll write you off as a friend and I’d look forward to the next time our paths cross. I’d even put in a good amount of effort into preserving each of those friendships. That being said, it should come as no surprise that I hate the word acquaintance. Like what does that word really mean? Does it quite literally mean someone you just know? If that’s the case, why wouldn’t you just put in a little more effort and turn that “someone you know” into someone who’s some sort of friend? If I’ve learned anything from my high school and university years, it’s that your network is your net worth. The more people you know, the more likely you are to be exposed to the different walks of life and to different ideas.
I’ve spent this summer trying to better foster my relationship with quite literally anyone who I’ve ever come into contact with. Everyone from family/relatives to people I’ve stopped spending time with. I even pulled out my old high school yearbook and started going down the list of people who graduated with me to see what they were currently up to. If you’re reading this and I still haven’t reached out to you yet, don’t worry you’re on my list and you will definitely hear from me soon. I have to say, I do feel more connected now than I ever did before.
Here’s the thing I realized after thinking about all the “friends” I’ve come into contact with over the years. Not everyone can be the same to you. Different people have different purposes in your life, and you may not serve the same purpose in their lives as they do in yours. That’s pretty obvious, I know. However, by taking the time to realize the most common categories that people can fall under, you can learn to adjust your expectations and behaviours so you don’t get let down, so you don’t let down others, and so you can ultimately better get along with everyone. Let’s go though some of the common categories and how to best get along with all of them.
The Best Friends/Partner in Crimes
You’ll just know who these people are. It would be obvious to you and everyone around you guys. These are the people who are there with you to try out your crazy stupid ideas even if they know that they’re going to fail. These are the people who know when to be harsh with you and aren’t afraid of conflict. These are the people that you can pretty much do anything with, spend as much time with, and they will usually have some traits about them that you don’t have but will mesh well with yours. Best friends are really like family members. You need them in your life, and they need you because together you will do awesome things.
I really shouldn’t need to say how to better get along with these people other than just keep doing crazy things together and keep supporting one another’s wild dreams about the future. If you find that you and your best friends aren’t getting along as much, solving it is actually quite simple. Just sit down and find a new activity that both of you want to do and just start holding each other accountable for it.
These are the people who are in your various “friend groups”. You spend all the major holidays and events with these people. You may not be super close to everyone in the group, but everyone has their role and you love spending time with everyone as a whole. Essentially, when you look back on the crazy times from your university years, these will be the people who helped shape those memories.
In your squad you can have vastly different types of people and each person can fall under a different category. That’s okay. The best way to get along with your squad is to just acknowledge that everyone’s different and to not fall into the trap of doing the same old things all the time. If you do the same things all the time, eventually you’ll get bored. If you guys always go out to eat, maybe try joining an intramural team together or doing a paint night or pretty much anything that’s different. For instance, my friend group and I decided that every time we have a get together from now on, they would be themed events (Pokémon, science, 1935s swing, and lots of other strange ideas). Also, every now and then to keep things interesting try making the effort to coordinate everyone’s schedules for a weekend sleepover or a cottage event. Anything that takes a little bit of effort will go a long way and people will notice that.
The Casual Friends
These people can pretty much be anyone. These are essentially people you like or have a few shared memories with but don’t really get to keep in contact with for various reasons. However, when you do talk or hang out, you always find yourself having a good time around them. Casual friends are important as they keep your life interesting and are great for pulling you out of your day to day schedule. It's never a dull time to catch up with these people.
You will probably have a lot of casual friends in the span of your life and it will be very difficult to always stay in touch. For casual friends, you don’t need to keep in touch often, but when you do choose to reach out, actually call them or invite them out to do something! Don't just send them a casual text. People will always feel closer to you if you’re the one who decides to call them to catch up or do something. I personally try to reach out to people that I’m casual friends with once every couple months for dinner and a long conversation about their lives. Heck, there’s some people I’m very fond of, but I only get the chance to catch up with them once or twice a year. That said, those one or two meetings a year are always better than nothing. Keep in touch with people you meet, you don’t always need to wait for them to set things up.
The Professional Friends
These tend to be the people you work with and the people who you get to know from Linkedin and networking events. A quick list of people who would fall under professional friends include professors, supervisors, lab partners, co-workers, and older mentors who are there to help guide your professional career.
Getting along with these people is actually quite straightforward. All you have to do is be on time with meetings and your work. However, making the effort to get to know them outside of their professional lives goes a long way in showing that you care about them and that the dynamic isn’t purely work related. People may love to talk about their work, but people also love to talk about themselves. I love getting to know my professional friends. I’ll often schedule time to grab drinks or dinner with professors and co-workers just to hang out. However, it’s important to know that you can’t expect to spend a lot of time with them. They’re most likely busy people who offer you some form of mentorship, but that doesn’t mean they can’t eventually be good friends.
The People You Don’t Like
The truth is you’re not going to like everyone. It can’t be helped. Maybe, someone does a few things that annoy you or maybe they wronged you for some reason. Heck, maybe they’re just annoying people in general. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember a few things. People can change. Yes, it is very hard to change, but it is possible. Since people can change, I think it’s important to give that person an honest genuine chance to showcase that change. You might be more blown away than you think. You don’t need to be best friends, but you don’t need to be rude. Treat everyone the way you want to be treated. If they respect you, respect them back. Being cold will never help you. Yes, you can be mad from time to time, but don’t stay mad. It’s such a drag and it will take too much of your mental real estate to not like and bad mouth someone.
The best way to get along with people you don’t like is to just be nice and keep them at bay. They don’t need to be part of your squad or even part of your casual friend circle, but I’m sure it wouldn’t kill you to grab coffee with them every couple of months just to listen to what’s new in their life and to see how they’re doing. I’m a strong believer that the nicer you are to everyone, the more luck you’ll have when it comes to people being nice to you.
The People Who Don’t Like You
Maybe, you’re the person that someone dislikes. Let’s be honest. It sucks, but sometimes you can’t control it. I get the fact that no one wants to be disliked, especially if you’re the happy go lucky extroverted person that wants to be everyone’s friend.
They're a couple things you can do to try and get along with people who don’t like you. If you did something wrong, take ownership of it and apologize and do something that really shows you care. At the end of the day, apologies are just words and they need to be followed up with some sort of evidence that shows that you are genuine. (Also, no matter what people say, they love hearing apologies and seeing change, so don’t do nothing if you can do something.) If the person finds something about you annoying or fake, just try toning down that trait when you’re around them. Overtime, that person might just forget about what they didn’t like about you. Lastly, if someone is just always mean to you and it seems almost irrational, just ignore it and kill them with kindness. While they bad mouth you or act cold towards you, just keep being nice to them. When they say bad things about you to others, say nice things about them. Remember, it takes a lot more mental resources to be angry and rude towards someone than it is to be happy and nice. Eventually, they’ll just be confused as to why you’re so nice to them and will probably end up just being semi-nice back and who knows maybe they’ll even become a casual friend. In the case that you tried everything I listed above, and they still don’t like you, well at least you look like the better person.
I love everything having to do with people and the interactions among everyone. I even hope that whatever I choose to do with my life reflects the passion I have for seeing the world as a better place for everyone. At the end of the day, interactions and people are complicated. There’s isn’t a secret formula to tell you how to get along with everyone. There’s going to be times where a person doesn’t really fit a category and you just need to grow as you go in order to better get along with them. I hope this blog about the various types of people in your life and how to get along with them was helpful. Till next time.
I'm Farshad. I'm a PhD student 🔬, musician 🎶, and productivity nerd 🤓, who's currently researching nanotechnologies and cancer. In my spare time, I enjoy learning and exploring new ideas in the world of science, technology, and philosophy. I'm also always exploring new ways to help myself and others live better, happier and more meaningful lives.