Although there’s no rule saying that we have to like everyone we encounter, if it’s someone we have to deal with on a semi-regular basis — like a co-worker, relative, or a friend’s partner — we are expected to be at least civil towards them. This is the case even if we really dislike them, and want to leave a room as soon as they walk into it. Unfortunately, pretending to like someone you truly hate is exhausting and annoying.
While it’s not exactly the same situation, professional actors make a career pretending to be other people. This means that they know a thing or two about acting a certain way when you’re feeling another. Here are some tips from actors to help get you through situations where you have to pretend you like (or tolerate) someone you hate.
Pretend they’re someone else
When Kate Chapman, an actor who regularly appears on Broadway, can’t stand the person she’s sharing a scene with, she pretends that they’re someone else — specifically, someone she actually like, she recently told Business Insider. Try this visualisation trick the next time you’re stuck in a conversation with someone you actively dislike. If nothing else, hopefully it’ll make it pass faster.
Ask (appropriate) questions
Does this person like talking about themself? If so, asking a few situation-appropriate questions can help you sail through the interaction — especially if you simultaneously imagine that they’re someone else as they answer them. “I’m trying to give this person the impression that I actually give a damn about their day-to-day existence,” Gino Dilorio, a professional actor, told Insider about this strategy.
Find something you do like about them and run with it
Even if you’d never willingly choose to spend time with a certain person, there’s a decent chance that you like (or at least appreciate) one thing about them. It could be their cute dog, a good idea they had in a meeting, or a semi-interesting Instagram feed: Whatever it is, concentrating on it can help stop you from fixating on everything you dislike about them.
“I try to make an effort to find a positive aspect of them that I can focus on,” TV actor Anthony Bradford told Insider. “Sometimes those we may not get along with can be great teachers in terms of patience, focus, and communication.”