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Getting Along with People - Part 1

Emotional Needs - Part 2

Making Friends - Part 3

Constructive Criticism - Part 4

Relationship Skills - Part 5

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How to get along with people


We all know how it feels to ‘get along with people’, but what is really happening at these times? What are the ingredients of the secret sociable sauce?

It is clear that some people are more offensive than others. It seems that either they don’t care or they don’t know what they are doing.

If you have problems getting along with people there are three possible reasons why:

1. You know how you are upsetting people but you don’t care

2. You don’t know you are upsetting people

3. You are aware that you are upsetting people but you don’t quite understand why. This article is for the benefit of all you 3’s out there! (And possibly some 2’s too!)

Why people get offended

"I feel put down, put out, misunderstood, threatened, ignored, cheated and deeply offended." Well not really, but I could - why? Because I am human and therefore have basic emotional needs that can be transgressed by other human beings.

We all have basic emotional needs, and to feel happy your needs have to be met at least some of the time.

Emotional needs include:

  • The need for safety and security
  • The need to give and receive attention
  • The need for a sense of status
  • The need for purpose and goals
  • The need for physical wellbeing
  • The need for a connection to something greater than ourselves - community, ideals, beliefs etc.
  • The need for intimacy
  • The need to be stimulated and stretched (but not stressed)
  • The need for a sense of control.
So how can you offend people?

You offend people by stepping on their basic emotional needs.

One common way this occurs is by mistakenly assuming that communicating the problem ‘as you see it’ is the only thing to be considered when ‘giving feedback.’ Anyone can say the words, but it takes thought, practice and skill to deliver unpalatable messages without causing undue hurt.

Of course, there are situations in which the message is more important than the method. If I’m administering mouth to mouth resuscitation to someone I may yell at a friend or colleague for assistance. Yelling at them normally (in a non-emergency) would infringe upon their needs for:

• Status
• Safety and security
• The need for a sense of control

But as long as they get the message who cares?” Well that depends whether you want to get along with people; on whether you consider friendship and the morale of those around you important or not…

Next, why getting on with people is all about emotional needs...

You can learn How to Stop Anyone Smoking with Mark Tyrrell on our Smoking Cessation Training Course (online).

Back to Relationships and Communication Skills Articles

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Mark Tyrrell
Creative Director