Health Advice



Person to Person: Learn to get the good out of people

By Judi Light Hopson, Emma H. Hopson and Ted Hagen, Tribune News Service on

Published in Health & Fitness

Do you scratch your head trying to figure people out? Maybe someone you've been friends with for years is kicking up some conflict. Or, a person you've really trusted seems a little off center.

Most of us have been in a rocky boat with family members, business associates or a dating partner. Our spouses can sometimes pull some real surprises as well.

However, it pays to take a step back, let some of the tension cool down, and take a fresh look. We need to give people room to change and grow, go through some odd experiences, readjust their own thinking, and discover what feels right to them.

It pays to stop expecting continual smooth sailing in relationships. Instead, we have to create some breathing room. Learning to get the "good" out of people usually works. To do this, focus on their strengths and what those strengths bring to your own life.

Here are types of flaws people can have:

- People can withhold important truths. Your sister, for example, might seem to keep critical information to herself. But, the real truth might be that she has trouble trusting people.


- Some individuals won't reveal any of their own weaknesses. For instance, your brother might constantly need small loans from you. But, he might resist telling you he's deeply in debt.

- Some people may ask too much of you. These individuals are constantly rocking your boat and invading your personal time. It's hard to set limits with them, for fear they'll end their relationship with you.

"People we care about can drive us nuts," says an employee assistance program counselor we'll call Sam. "We waste hours guessing what they're up to."

Sam insists that it's easier to manage a relationship by setting boundaries and learning to get the good out of people. "Deal with their flaws, as best you can, and stay inside your own skin," he advises.


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