How To Be Gracious To Someone You're Forced To Deal With In Business

Sometimes, you've got to suck it up and play nice. 

On Nov. 10, after two years of publicly speaking ill of each other, our sitting President Barack Obama and President-elect, Donald Trump, met face to face for the first time. Ah, the awkwardness. What to do when you have been the object of the other person’s disgust, or temper, and they have repeatedly gone after your character—and then you’re forced to do business with them? Our current First Lady and incoming First Lady sat over tea to hash some things out as well. It happens every day, where people have to deal with people in business exchanges and hide their disgust. And some stages are so big, there’s no choice but to play nice, for the sake of everyone. 

Many celebrities have said that they use direct contact with Twitter trolls who have been not so nice to them, and that a simple direct message or a tweet to the person has completely turned the situation around, many times with the anonymous person even apologizing for whatever it is they wrote. 

Often times, reaching out directly changes the situation for the better. But how can you get past the initial anger or dislike?

Relationship and etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, founder of the Protocol School of Texas, says in cases where you are forced to deal with the person, the first step is to reach out privately and be calm and gracious

“I think in any case of public criticism, you speak privately, talk through the issues, and determine next steps to move on in a productive and constructive manner,” she says. “Listen to each other respectfully and determine how you are going to work together to resolve the situation.”

Next, have empathy. Then everyone should say sorry—and mean it.

“Try and see the other person’s point of view, make apologies, and keep the conversation respectful,” she adds. “You can disagree with someone without bashing them or publicly shaming them.”

“Name calling, slander and outbursts only escalate the situation and make more problems,  rather than solve the problem,” Diane says. “Let your team know you have resolve the situation and demonstrate a willingness to work together towards a common goal.”

Lastly, definitely don’t shove what happened under the rug. 

“One more thing…I also think there is grace and character in acknowledging that there were things that should have never been said or should have been handled differently,” she says.  

“Make a commitment to heal the wounds and do what's right for the company, the family, (or in the case of the political climate, the country) that has been affected by the divisive rhetoric.

I know we're talking about ‘business,’ but it could also applied to a family and to people [arguing over differing opinions] in our country right now.”

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