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« 7. How to be happy around grumpy people »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. Author of "How to develop emotional resilience and manage your emotions".

I once listened, many years ago, to a fascinating interview with Professor Mick Dodson, the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner.

He was talking about the standards he tries to set for himself in communicating with people and how important it was for him to try and keep his cool and be compassionate.

As part of this he said something along the lines of, "Just because someone else is nasty or mean-spirited doesn't mean you have to be. You can still be compassionate and kind." This is emotional intelligence in action.

What a wonderful rule to live by.

But how do we keep our cool when people are negative, nasty or mean and stay happy? How can we still be considerate when another person isn't?

Learning how to be able to do this means we become less affected by other people's emotions. This is an important emotional intelligence skill for all of us to have but especially for those in customer service.

Here are top tips on how to be happy around grumpy people.

Emotional intelligence tip 1: Don't give your happiness away

When you are surrounded by negative, angry or grumpy people it can be hard not to be sucked into their mood, can't it? And yet why give your happiness away because of other people's bad moods?

One of the first steps to take, in order to stop yourself doing this, is to make a determination: "I will not be sucked in by other people's moods", or "I am determined to stay contained within my own contentment, irrespective of other people's emotions."

Remind yourself of this regularly. It can help you in managing your emotions and developing your emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence tip 2: Bad moods don't get you anywhere

In the diary I got once, with quotes from the Dalai Lama, there was one which said, "What irritates us in the first place is that our wishes are not fulfilled. But remaining upset does nothing to help fulfil those wishes. So we neither fulfil our wishes nor regain our cheerfulness".

So remember, if someone has upset you, when you hang on to the upset it is now you who are disturbing your own contentment, and not the other person.

Let it go and return to happiness.

We cover ways to do this in our workshop, "How to keep your cool with difficult people".

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Emotional intelligence tip 3: Keep yourself amused.

When other people are grumpy and you don't want to be, find something to keep you amused inside your head. I don't mean laugh out loud at the other person but you might find the way they walk or move amusing, you might imagine that they sound like Donald Duck; or you might visualise them in a funny fairy dress outfit.

If you can't do this while you're actually with them at least do it when you're thinking about them afterwards so your contentment centre doesn't get further eroded by their grumpiness. When people have high levels of emotional intelligence they are able to move through uncomfortable or difficult emotions quickly. Can you do the same? Can your staff do the same?

This is a unique, practical, 5-star emotional intelligence coaching package with a series of five personally tailored 1-1 coaching sessions with the Director of The Emotional Intelligence Institute, Rachel Green. To find out more click here.

Emotional intelligence tip 4: Think kind thoughts

I started to get irritated myself once in our meditation group. I was sitting near someone who was breathing very loudly. And not only was it loud but it was at a much faster breathing rate than my own.

As I was focusing on my breath going in and out of my body, I was allowing his breathing to disturb my concentration. I started having a dialogue in my head about his breathing! "Can't you breathe more quietly, honestly how can you expect us to meditate and become still while you're making such a commotion" and on my negative thinking went. And out of the window my happiness went.

Later my teacher correctly reminded me that, if I had spread kind thoughts to that person I would have been able to concentrate and maintain my equilibrium. How right he was. I've been practising it since.

I've discovered that when I think kindly about someone I stay happier than when I start judging them with a negative commentary. So if I want to stay happy around grumpy people I know what to do - be kind! By being kind I am cultivating more emotionally intelligent behaviour than by becoming irritated.

Want to develop your emotional resilience, our unique 2 DVD set, plus ebook, plus MP3s are here to help you.

Emotional resilience premium bundle $317 $189. Add to Cart

                   Save $128. Free shipping worldwide

How high is your emotional intelligence & emotional resilience?

There is so much that you can do to develop your emotional resilience and the E.I. Institute has a number of options to help you:

Worried that you don't have enough emotional resilience and that you need to develop your emotional intelligence more? Our unique, practical, 5-star emotional intelligence coaching package is available for you and includes the opportunity to have your emotional intelligence assessed. Boost your resilience now. Find out more here.