With strangers, next door neighbors, or casual acquaintances, our approach and way with words is slightly different. We are often more polite, more likely to say "excuse me" and "thank you", more likely to choose our words carefully as to not offend anyone. It is ironic that sometimes we treat strangers better than we treat our loved ones who have probably known us for most of our lives.
Forgetting to be tactful and cordial to people that are close to us can often lead to a deterioration of relationships that matter most to us. But if we cannot be civil with our family, friends, or partners, they can all choose to walk away and cut all ties of communication with us. Sometimes such a move may come as a surprise and we are left wondering what we had done wrong. We may be completely oblivious to the fact that we are treating people like, for a lack of a better word, crap.
To make sure that we are treating others kindly, it is a good idea to listen to feedback that we get from our loved ones, no matter how harsh it may be. If someone says that we are not treating them right, it is worthwhile to reexamine our actions and behavior, instead of simply dismissing their opinions as untrue. The earlier we single out and control our erroneous behavior to others, the better we can prevent or lessen the damage we may be causing to others.
A recent study conducted by the University of British Columbia showed that when couples who had been in long term relationships with each other begin to treat each other the way they did on a first date, their morale was boosted significantly. This strategy - treating people like we had just met them - can be applied not only to romantic relationships, but to friends, family, co-workers and just about everyone else. Moreover, when we treat people in a friendly manner, as we often tend to treat our acquaintances or people we are not that familiar with, our mood will alleviate as well. "We make an extra effort when meeting strangers because we want them to like us," says Elizabeth Dunn, an assistant professor at the UBC Dept. of Psychology, "And by trying to be more pleasant, we end up actually feeling better but we tend to overlook this benefit."
Treating people like strangers may sound like a strange tactic at first, but it really does work. Politeness and kind words go a long way and, at the end of a day, being friendly and considerate will inevitably leave us feeling better about ourselves and one another.