Life is infinitely better when you’re travelling, and part of what makes it better is meeting amazing people (unless you’re doing some solo cabin in the woods thing). However, it’s a simple fact of life that not everyone is going to be your cup of tea. Here’s how to deal with people who are different to you (and not be a jerk in the process).
The very first thing to do is remember that differences are what make each of us unique and special. We can’t all be the same. It would be very boring. Sure, you may not like or want tattoos, but before you think ‘Oh I won’t get along with that person because they’re into tatts’, take time to appreciate that this is their choice and you might have something else in common that’s more than skin deep. They could be a dedicated Brooklyn 99 fan too, or maybe you both worked at McDonald’s in high school. Put aside your judgy pants and say hi.
There are many ways to not butt heads with others, but the best one I’ve found (yes, I too am human and have judged people different than me) is to recognise that everyone has something to teach you.
It could be simple facts, information about a career you were interested in pursuing, travel tips, or even a life lesson that will help you in the future. How do you get this knowledge from them? Ask questions! It’s likely you’re both shy and coming across standoffish, so overcome it by asking where they’re from, what travels they’ve done, does pineapple belong on pizza etc. The conversation will start flowing and you might just learn something new.
Different personalities can lead to struggles, it’s normal, but so can similar personalities. Two Alphas in a group can lead to drama, and so can having a few too many class clowns (#guilty). The best way to deal with this is take a back seat and smile. It might be your natural instinct to be the loudest or funniest, but we can’t all be and sometimes it’s your chance to just relax into a new role. And before you think someone is annoying because they’re doing a certain behaviour, ask yourself if your annoyance stems from the fact you wish it was you. It sounds weird, but most of the time the people we don’t want a bar of are more similar to us than we think. Don’t feel threatened, bond! You’ll have heaps in common!
What if you’ve tried all this and you still can’t get on with someone, or someone still can’t get on with you? This is my all time favourite quote:
You cannot please everyone, and that’s okay. But remember that it’s rude to ignore and exclude people. Do not do those things, even if you don’t like the look of someone. This is going back to the early days of school here, and a reminder that you don’t have to be friends with everyone in the world, but being respectful and kind costs nothing and is the right thing to do.