I am the first one to admit that some days I don't like other people very much. I promise I am not an awful person, it is not always easy to handle every situation with patience and understanding. I know I am not alone in these feelings. I have found that the greatest way to combat this is to understand the error in why we feel this way.

The biggest contributor to this is when you believe that the people around you are all acting against you or in a malicious way. Did someone cut you off in traffic? Bad driver. Someone messed up your order? They have no attention to detail. Someone doesn't do their part at work? They are a lazy person.

This is thanks to a psychological phenomenon called the Fundamental Attribution Error.

There are two ways we use to explain the behavior of ourselves and others.

A dispositional attribution means that you explain behavior as a result of someone's disposition or who they are. For example, someone brings you a cookie because they are nice.

A situational attribution means that you explain behavior as a result of the situation or the circumstances. An example is someone brings you a cookie because they had extras.

The Fundamental Attribution Error states that, when evaluating other's behavior, we tend to overestimate the influence of dispositional attribution and underestimate the role of situational disposition.

Going back to the examples before, someone cut you off in traffic? You might have been in their blind spot. They could have needed to quickly change lanes to avoid an obstacle. They may have just made an isolated mistake at that moment. Someone messed up your order? Maybe they misheard you because it was too loud. They could have not gotten a good night's sleep and aren't as sharp as they usually are. Someone doesn't do their part? They could have a personal issue going on. They could be sick that day. They could not have been able to eat that morning and are distracted by the thought of food.

When we assume that other's actions are due to their disposition, we struggle to empathize with people and tend to misconstrue their actions as attacks on us. If you were to think of yourself in this situation, you would define your actions as a product of the situation and not a reflection of who you are.

If you check your thinking in these situations, you will find it much easier to tolerate people if their actions are just a result of the situation they are in. This helps you be much more understanding and will save your mood!