The Twenty-One Greatest Ideas In Human Relationships (Text)
Compiled And Edited By Rev. Bill McGinnis
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1. "LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
This is "The Law Of Love," God's most important commandment for all
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your
neighbor as yourself." (Galatians 5:14 RSV)
This is the starting point, the Scriptural Imperative given many times
in the Bible. (See also Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Romans
13:8-10, James 2:8, 1 Peter 4:8.)
And who is our neighbor? Every other person is our neighbor. (See Luke
10:29-37 for Jesus' answer to that same question.)
But sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we still don't like the
other person very much, or we still feel anger or resentment. What can
we do in cases like this ?
2. FORGIVE THE OTHER PERSON.
The most troublesome harmful emotion is the emotion of anger. You can
neutralize anger by making a direct conscious decision to forgive the
other person for whatever he may have done to cause you to feel anger
("As you forgive, so you will be forgiven." See Matthew 6:14-15)
3. TREAT THE OTHER PERSON THE WAY YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED.
This the "The Golden Rule," our most important guideline for dealing
with other people.
"So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for
this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12 RSV)
This is the most important rule in human relations. You can apply this
rule to almost any situation, and you will not be far wrong. The
Golden Rule puts The Law Of Love into action.
The remaining eighteen ideas are specific applications of The Golden
Rule to different kinds of situations.
4. SMILE AND BE FRIENDLY.
You like it when people smile at you and behave in a friendly way. So
do the same to them.
5. BE COURTEOUS.
You like it when people are courteous to you. And you dislike it when
people are discourteous or rude to you. So be courteous in all of your
dealings with others.
6. BE TRUTHFUL, WITHOUT GIVING OFFENSE.
7. REMEMBER THE OTHER PERSON'S NAME, AND USE IT FREQUENTLY.
You like it when other people remember and use your name. So do the
same for them.
8. DON'T ARGUE.
Arguments are very negative. They poison good human relations. You
don't like it when someone argues with you. So don't argue with them.
And if you see an argument coming, take the appropriate steps to
neutralize the argument before it causes too much damage.
9. FIND AREAS OF AGREEMENT.
Relationships are much better when both people focus on their areas of
agreement rather than their areas of disagreement.
Most people agree on more things than they disagree on. So if you
focus on your areas of agreement with the other person, your areas of
disagreement will seem smaller and less important.
10. DON'T CRITICIZE.
Criticism builds hostility and bad attitudes. Criticism is poison to
good human relations.
You don't like to be criticized; so don't criticize other people. They
don't like it, either. And you won't help accomplish anything good by
As your mother should have taught you, "If you can't say something
nice, don't say anything at all."
11. SHOW HONEST APPRECIATION.
You like it when other people take the time and interest to recognize
and appreciate the good things you do. So do the same for them.
Everyone does some things worthy of appreciation. Find them, and
recognize them in the other person.
12. TRY TO SEE THE OTHER PERSON'S POINT OF VIEW.
You like it when the other person understands your point of view and
can see problems the way you see them. So do the same for him. Try
looking at the situation from the other person's point of view.
13. GIVE YOUR FULL ATTENTION TO THE OTHER PERSON WHEN HE IS TALKING.
You like it when people pay full attention to you when you are
talking. So do the same for them.
14. TALK ABOUT THE OTHER PERSON'S INTERESTS.
You like to have other people talk with you about your interests. So
do the same for them. Find out what things they are interested in, and
steer the conversation toward these things.
15. ADMIT YOU MAY BE WRONG.
This idea is surprisingly powerful and useful!
Here's what to say, whenever there is a disagreement as to a matter of
fact: "Now, I may be wrong about this. I frequently am wrong about
things. But this is the way it appears to me:" (And then state your
By admitting you may be wrong, and by admitting that you frequently
are wrong (You are, you know. We all are.), you almost force the other
person to admit that he, too, may be wrong! Then, with your egos out
of the way, you can both search objectively for the truth!
And if you really are wrong this time, it will be much less
embarrassing for you than if you had been stubbornly insisting that
you were totally right!
16. LET THE OTHER PERSON DO MOST OF THE TALKING.
You like it when people let you do most of the talking. So do the same
for them. It won't hurt you, and you might learn something.
17. LET THE OTHER PERSON TALK ABOUT HIMSELF.
You like to talk about yourself, don't you? We all like to talk about
ourselves! But restrain the urge, and let the other person talk about
18. LET THE OTHER PERSON TAKE SOME CREDIT.
If something has worked out well, don't grab all the credit for
yourself, even if you think you deserve it all. Spread the credit
around, share it with the other people involved.
19. LET THE OTHER PERSON SAVE FACE.
The expression "saving face" means to maintain dignity, or not to look
like an idiot or a worthless person. Sometimes people do things which
make them look like an idiot or a worthless person. If you can rescue
the other person in such a situation, and help him maintain his
dignity, you have done a very good thing.
And maybe someone will do the same for you some day, when you need it
most! "As you do, so shall it be done unto you."
20. HOLD THE OTHER PERSON, AND YOURSELF, TO HIGH AND NOBLE STANDARDS.
People tend to live up to the expectations others have of them. If you
expect a lot from someone, he tends to give you what you expect.
Likewise, if you expect little from someone, that is what you tend to
So act honestly, and expect honesty from the other person; act
morally, and expect morality from the other person; act fairly, and
expect fairness from the other person.
21. GO THE EXTRA MILE.
You are pleasantly surprised when other people do more for you than
you had asked, or more than you expect. So do the same for them: "Go
the extra mile."
Compiled And Edited By Bill McGinnis, Written 1983-2000
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