All of us encounter unlikeable people from time to time. These are people who in one way or another manage to be very unpleasant to us in every encounter.

Yet, even though the experience of coming across an unlikeable person can be very unpleasant, there is always something we can learn from the experience.

Sometimes the only thing we learn is to avoid that person in the future. But, isn't that a valuable lesson? In the future, we may learn to avoid unpleasant people quickly, saving us a lot of hurt.

What if we use the experience of encountering an unpleasant person as a chance to shine a spotlight on ourselves? What if we take that person’s most unpleasant qualities, and ask ourselves if we are ever guilty of behaving the same way?

By using an unpleasant person as a mirror, we may detect some unpleasant qualities of our own.

Sometimes the reason that other people are unlikeable is simply because they don't know better. In fact, they may not even realize that they are behaving in an unlikeable way, and if someone points it out to them, they may change. So, we can use an encounter with an unpleasant person as a chance to point out to them some ways in which they could change.

Some of us, when we meet a person who is unlikeable, decide that what we need to do is to save this poor person, so we lavish all our attention and understanding on them. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Eventually most of us learn that we can’t make others change, but we can change ourselves.

We may have to have the experience of trying to change many unlikeable people before we learn this lesson.

What else can we learn from unlikeable people? Some people will only be unpleasant to us, while they are charming and pleasant to others.

In such a case, we will be convinced that all the other people are wrong if they manage to like the person we dislike. And yet, what can we do about it? If we set out to try destroy that person's reputation, we are behaving worse than they are. We have to simply accept that some people won't be nice to us, and there's no explanation for it. We simply have to find a way to deal with it.

Perhaps one of the biggest lessons we can learn when we meet someone who isn't nice, is that we can take a different path. If they are mean and cruel because of the way that life has treated them, we don't have to be. If they are conceited and insensitive, we can use the pain of encountering them as a reminder that we ourselves can try harder to be good to others.

If we start to congratulate ourselves that we are superior to those who are smug and conceited, then we can remember that we are just as smug and conceited as they are.

As we go through life, we will find many encounters that uplift us, but we will also be bruised by some encounters that hurt us and confuse us because the people we have met are flawed. They may be weak and cruel, or simply self centered and unthinking.

We can use every encounter with another person, whether good or bad, as a way to learn something deeper about ourselves.

Author's Bio: 

This article is by self improvement author Royane Real. You can read many more articles that will improve your life and sign up for a free newsletter at my new website at