Reduce Negative Feelings in Relationships

When you alienate others, you prompt negative feelings in them. Have you ever had the experience of wanting to buy something, but the salesperson alienated you? Perhaps you were turned off so much that you did not buy from that person—even though you really wanted the item. That’s how strong the negative feelings can be.

Every successful salesperson knows not to alienate the customer. However, too often we talk to people in ways that prompt negative feelings, which alienate and often promotes stress. Negative feelings stop any DESIRE to do what you would like other people to do. People do good when they feel good—not when they feel bad or when they feel coerced.

Why Telling Prompts Negative Feelings

Quite simply, telling people what to do alienates them. We like telling other people what to do, but no one likes to be told what to do. Think about it: “Do you like to be told what to do?” Of course not. The reason is that there is an inference that the person is incapable of handling the situation without your help.

Since alienating promotes negative feelings, the question arises, “How can you avoid it?” The answer is to reflect on how the other person will feel after listening to you.

Some parents and many teachers often alienate those in their custody. The word EDUCATION comes from the Latin “Educare”—to draw out. This means that we adults should be encouraging, enabling, and assisting young people. Instead, too often we alienate and prompt poor relationships and stress.

The approach of how not to alienate is to be positive. The manager in a store that sold various kinds of nuts asked one of the salespeople the reason what she sold more than others. Her reply: “I simply start with very few nuts and keep adding more—while I see others start with too many nuts and keep taking more off.”

When you focus on thinking, communicating, and behaving in ways that prompt positive and good feelings in others, alienation and negative feelings are totally by-passed.

Tip: Whether you are speaking to someone you care about or someone you have just met, demonstrate emotional intelligence by not alienating the person. Rather than telling, share and ask reflective questions. As Howard Schultz of Starbucks fame says, “If you treat people that they have what it takes to succeed, they’ll prove you right.


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