They're an itch you just can't scratch, they ruin your day, and even though you try to avoid them, they keep appearing in your life. They may even be family members! Throughout the rest of your life you will have people like this to deal with, and unless you live on a desert island, they're not going to go away. So why does it happen? One of the main faults that I notice in both myself and others is a tendency to over analyse people.
Have you ever heard someone say "I can't work him out" or "I don't understand what her agenda is" well maybe there's a good reason for that!
We are all very different people. We're unique individuals with radically different views on just about every subject you can think of, and despite our underlying subconscious connection, we are mostly at the mercy of our egoic minds. It is this that causes most of the strife we experience every day in our interactions with other people.
People are only a problem because you let them be a problem.
There is a saying that goes along the lines of "You should be very kind to everyone you meet, because you don't know the daily battles that they fight." This is very true. There are people out there having enormous battles with their own minds, and this is something I understand very well. Some time ago before I found meditation I found myself stressed to the point of insomnia with the deafening throng of thoughts bouncing around inside my head, that white noise of confusion that stops you focussing on anything, and the voice that speaks down to you when you make even the simplest of mistakes. Sometimes it's like listening to two radios both playing at once, and you know how annoying that is!
Most people you meet every day will have those same issues, they all have that same whirlwind of thoughts that keep them from ever being 'in the present' and this can lead to illness, stress, depression, anxiety, and a whole host of other ailments.
Fear of loss.
One of the main reasons we try to work out other peoples actions is fear of loss. Loss of friendship, loss of love, loss of a job, loss of many things. Loss is scary for us because out ego loves company, it needs to be validated, to be listened to, to show off, and to be heard.
Sooner or later you will have to let go of every single thing you hold dear. And I mean everything and everyone. If you have something to say to someone, say it now, and don't fear their reaction. Do you have a family member who is troublesome or is causing you pain? Ignore it. Live your life the way you want to live it and let them live theirs. You can't advise, you can't persuade and you can't force them to do anything that they don't already want to do themselves. How many times have you advised someone to do something, and they went away and did something completely different! They're not listening! Stop expecting them to.
You will go mad trying to work out why someone thinks, does, or says what they do, and even if you think you're right, you're most likely wrong. There are some clever people out there who can assume multiple personalities during any given conversation, and even people like me who sometimes (and I apologise) get a kick out of throwing out an inflammatory statement, lighting the blue touch paper, and standing back quietly to watch the fireworks. I'm by no means perfect..
You will come across people with undisclosed mental afflictions, people fueled by rage, hate, contempt, and these people will just tie you up in knots.
You have a lifetime of work just considering your own affairs and challenges, don't take on other people's too. Quietly go about your own business and be the best you can at what you do, be a positive influence, and be aware. How many times have you have a bad encounter with someone when you were already rushed, angry, or confused? Compare that to the amount of conflicts you have had when you were calm, well rested, focussed and ready.....not as many eh! I thought so! Don't let anyone catch you off balance.
If you really want to help, listen from a place of peace.
I'm only scraping the tip of a big iceberg of a subject here, but the best advice I can give you is (again!) to meditate. Just do it. Find time every single day, even for 5 minutes, to sit somewhere quiet (yes even the toilet) and just stop thinking. Let your mind go blank and enjoy the feelings. It wont be easy at first, but with pratice you'll get there. If you have trouble, you can wait for your thoughts to appear like a cat watching a mouse hole, then when they do appear, let them go. Quiet your mind again. It is only when you attempt this that you realise what a noisy place your own head is!
If that doesn't work imagine you thoughts as a big ball spinning very fast, and next to it is a lever you can pull to activate the brake, you pull it and slowly the ball starts to slow down and then stop, only going at the pace you dictate. Once you find your inner silence you will hear other people with renewed clarity.
Next time you enter into conversation with a friend or colleague, make no assumptions, assume no agenda, and really listen to them, and listen with your eyes too! Watch their facial expressions, their eye movements, their hands, their body stance, what are they really telling you? Stop trying to think about how whatever they are saying affects you, and thereby putting your own politics into play. Listen, relax, and enjoy the interaction.