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Tolerating others with peacekeeper friend, family

A peace sign made of beach stones is shown on Omaha Beach.
A peace sign made of beach stones is shown on Omaha Beach.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Some people's personalities will always clash. The luckier ones can reach an agreement and be cordial. Others may have more of a Garfield and Odie relationship where one of them may be a little more rebellious about being pleasant than the other. Then there's the nice-nasty group who pretend to be friends but really hate each other. And in the thick of it all is the peacemaker who just wants everyone to get along so she doesn't have to choose sides.

The peacemaker is usually a positive, upbeat person who just wants to see some civility in her social circle. She doesn't necessarily need everyone to hug and make up but just put the scowls, snide comments and eye rolls away long enough to be able to function like adults. If everyone is willing to behave, the peacemaker is usually happy.

The only downside to a peacemaker is the one who tries way too hard to make two people who have no desire to be friends or close family members or co-workers become instant friends. It rarely works and usually ends up in reality-show style confessionals without the cameras.

While the peacemaker means well, there are times when even the peacemaker needs a timeout. So how do you tell the peacemaker to curtail the peace?

Tip 1: Calmly sit the peacemaker down and explain the entire situation (if she doesn't already know the conflict).

Tip 2: The peacemaker may try to rationalize her way into making two parties see the other person's side. It's only natural. However, if both parties strongly feel that their sides are correct, this is a waste of time. Explain to the peacemaker that there is no room for negotiation. As long as the conflict does not turn violent, everyone has a right to their opinions. If the end result will lead to any sort of crime, the peacemaker has every right to continue to defuse the situation though. Never let temporary anger lead to permanent, reprehensible results.

Tip 3: The peacemaker will more often than not think it's rather childish that neither party is willing to cooperate. Expect it. Peacemakers tend to rationalize a situation and somehow blame themselves for not making the argument all better. The kiss-and-hug-it-out tactic as children is never far from this person's mind. Explain to the peacemaker that this is not her fault nor should she take on the responsibility.

Tip 4: Never ask the peacemaker to choose between two parties. If this is a legitimate peacemaker, she can genuinely be friends with two people who don't like each other. It may be a bit uncomfortable at the baby showers, family reunions, birthday parties, weddings, and so forth, but as long as she's not put in the middle by either group, this can actually work. After explaining one side of the argument, do not keep reminding the peacemaker about the conflict. She heard it the first time. Whether she agrees or disagrees, she heard it loud and clear.

Tip 5: Expect that the peacemaker will continue a healthy relationship with the conflicting party. As difficult as it may be to hold in the "ughs" and "yucks" when photos surface on social media sites or photo albums, deal with it. The issue between the two parties has absolutely nothing to do with the peacemaker, and the peacemaker has every right to still enjoy quality time with both parties.

Tip 6: Stand firm in telling the peacemaker to stop trying to force a relationship between the two parties. Peacemakers tend to be stubborn people who try their best to exhaust all possibilities before believing that the situation can't be resolved. However, peacemakers can make a situation equally uncomfortable if two parties can be fairly cordial but the peacemaker wants to force them to be friends. Let the peacemaker know it's time to knock it off. Otherwise the peacemaker may find herself in the middle of the argument and losing good friends herself.

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