3 Tips on How to Be Tolerant of Others

Fall is here and you know what that means! Over the next few weeks, people will be sitting around dinner tables full of relatives that they can’t stand, eating turkey and silently thinking, “How can I be related to these people?!”

Distant relatives always seem to be the butt of jokes, but we’ve all had experiences with people we don’t like. Annoying coworkers, noisy next-door neighbors, rude waitresses, pushy salespeople … you get my drift. I don’t know about you, but there are just some people in the world that I just can’t stand, for whatever reason. Even so, I do my best to be tolerant of others—at least while I’m around them!

Why You Should be Tolerant of Others

Tolerance is mainly known as a willingness to accept others and their beliefs, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them. That’s why tolerance is often used to in terms of religion (“I don’t agree with his beliefs, but I’m tolerant of them.”) but I like to think of it more broadly.

When I’m stuck on a train beside someone that’s driving me nuts, I don’t want to cause a scene by telling them to shut up and find a new seat. When I’m at a family gathering being bombarded by stories that I’ve already heard at the last five family gatherings, I don’t want to upset my relatives by being rude. I want to be tolerant of others and still keep my sanity.

Here are a few tips that can help you be more tolerant of others.

1. Listen Carefully Without Jumping to Conclusions

It’s really easy to blow someone off as soon as they strike up a conversation with you—almost like you’re mentally rolling your eyes even though you’re nodding politely. For once, listen to what they’re saying—really listen­. Don’t be put off by their appearance or the fact that someone else told you they’re a little weird. Listen to them, at least for awhile—we all want to be heard.

2. Try to Understand the Other Person’s Point of View

Now that you’re listening to someone, resist the urge to totally discount what they’re saying because it sounds “funny” or “weird” to you. If you’re not totally sure the about point they’re trying to make, ask them questions. Try to understand what they’re telling you—maybe they aren’t getting their point across as clearly as they think they are.

3. Agree to Disagree

You might not agree with the person and their beliefs or opinions, and that’s okay. We’re all different.  That definitely doesn’t mean you have to become best buddies and switch over to their way of thinking, but once you accept that it’s okay to “agree to disagree” it should be a lot easier to have discussions with people.

Becoming more tolerant of others will allow you to get out of your comfort zone and possibly expand your social circle. You might realize that you really enjoy someone’s company—someone that you would have avoided if you hadn’t tried to listen to them and understand them.

Take Action. Get Results.

23 thoughts on “3 Tips on How to Be Tolerant of Others”

  1. Hi Steve:

    Well what a beautiful post for a Saturday, first part reminds me of my sons, they can not stand any relative around. I like agree to disagree. Eight weeks to that day, when we will like gifts from every one and no ones face. I am not like that but seems to be the general trend including my children.

    Your post made me go in the memory land where once I go it is hard to come back.

    as you say To your life success

  2. Being tolerant is very important in the world we are living in. One should always be open-minded enough to accept other people’s points of view. That is in my opinion the way of thinking we should all take. Lack of tolerance is not going to result (and has never resulted for that matter) in anything good. If we look things at a more global level, we can easily see that this is not far from the true. Pretty much every war there has been, has evolved from a simple thing such as the lack of tolerance (including in terms of religion).

    • LOL,

      I am sure that lack of tolerance in religion is not only included, but in the sweep of history really is responsible for more death than all other factors combined. Most churches we think of today are very compassionate and tolerant places, but this was not always so historically.

      But all that aside I agree 100%, globally lack of tolerance has been the cause of some seriously bad stuff, and still is to this day. When a person (or organization) has the ability to be truly tolerant it reaps amazing benefits.

      You never know where the next amazing idea that will revolutionize your processes will come from, by being open to all you make sure -to the best of your ability- that you will be there when opportunity knocks.

  3. Very well said, Steve! It’s so easy to jump to conclusions and think that the other person is wrong, just because you are not able to understand their viewpoint. I believe that two people can be of different opinions and, at the same time, both be right. To think that someone is wrong just because you are not able to understand their viewpoint is in a way, in my opinion, being narrow minded. Unfortunately, agreeing to disagree is quite uncommon, with some people just not able to comprehend the possibility of agreeing to disagree.

    • I totally believe that two people can have differing opinions and both be right. What works for one person may play to that persons strengths, while anothers will play to their strengths.

      One thing I have learned in 35 years is that there are few absolutes. As soon as you are sure something is 150% correct, something will jump up and bite you in the ass. All you can do is base your knowledge on an accumulation of as many facts and viewpoints as you can get and roll from there

  4. Fran, I hope you had a safe trip to memory land! Family and tolerance is a VERY important point. That curmudgeonly old uncle you see only one time a year has a lifetime of experiences and drama he could share if people were to take the time to listen.

    The sad truth is that many people do not realize this until they are grown up and many of these people that could have shared wisdom with them in their youth are gone.

    All that it takes to receive the wisdom of a lifetime is tolerance and the ability to really listen!

    • Hi Steve:

      In last ten years of my life I have changed a lot. I like to live as how a person should be and not how people want me to be. Reason for this was change is accepting the fact that differences, arguing, not respecting other people opinion, takes away peace. It makes your blood pressure go high. Negatives make you mentally and physically sick. So get rid of the negatives. The only way to live without negatives, is simply let it go. Try not to think of the negatives. Do not remember it Just let go. forgive people and ignore people. I am good I have to keep my sanity together. I have to behave like a normal gentle and straight forward person. That is how I want to live. So I let go.

      Let me know how you feel about it.

      Fran A

  5. Steve, can’t disagree with anything you said about tolerance and it’s importance, but what happens when some of your family members are not tolerant and cant agree to disagree? Some members of my husbands family were deeply opposed to our marriage. I understand many of their reasons. In some respects they were right. Even twenty four years after the event, some family visits can be very difficult, but we are still together.

    My solution is always to have a plan. Family visits are timetabled and filled with activities, I find people have less time to argue if they are kept busy.

    My hope is that as long as we do keep communicating one day that ‘agree to disagree’ moment will arrive.

  6. Steve..Great insights on being more tolerant of others.

    Becoming more tolerant of others does allow us to get out of our comfort zone and expand the social circle. No doubt about it.

    Lack of tolerance has given rise to a lot of serious bad stuff. When a person has the ability to be truly tolerant, they can really reap the benefits. So true. Looks like we as a human are finally learning from our history.

    Later Steve…

  7. Great post here Scott.

    I find most people don’t follow #1 at all. They never listen, or if they do, they jump to conclusions before having all the information they need without second thought. I think we can all take some lessons from the art of slowing ourselves down.

    By slowing the process, we can appreciate both our own decisions as well as other people much more.

    In terms of toleration and acceptance… the perfect cure to that is by traveling in my opinion. Traveling you get to meet all sorts of crazy people from various cultures, and the craziest thing is how they all seem for the most part pretty much the same.

    We’re all human in this here human condition 🙂

  8. I think another way to be more tolerant of others is trying to figure out what their intentions are. If a guy is annoying because he won’t stop talking, for example, ask yourself why he’s doing this? For example: Is this guy not shutting up because he really wants to make a good impression on me? And is that such a terrible thing? I think we can often relate to people’s base motives, even if we don’t like or agree with how they carry out their actions.

  9. Steve, Listening as a skill is so difficult for people to do. Yet the importance of it is so great. How often do you truly listen (without distractions) to what somone hsa to say and not get distracted by routine tasks.

  10. Hi Steve
    Another plus for being an Aussie….we don’t do thanksgiving lol
    Seriously though I loved this post. If we spread more love around and respect our differences; maybe there would be less trouble in the world. Harder to do than say though. The older I get (you know someone is getting old when they start a sentence like this!) the more I tend to listen to what others think as I was so sure of my point of view when I was young but as I have matured (insert get older) a lot of those thoughts and opinions have changed. Thanks for reminding us of this.
    Patricia Perth Australia

  11. Hi Steve,

    Very nice post my friend. I think agreeing to disagree is one of the best ways that we can use to be tolerant of others. I view differences as something beneficial as it makes the world nice. Imagine if we all think alike, look alike, dress alike, study the same somthing etc… life would be boring. I agree with you sometimes, it is really hard to socialize with people you can’t even stand. I think we all have been there in our life. Thanks for sharing

  12. Hi Steve,

    I love your article on tolerance. It is much needed in our day and age. In fact, it is needed in any day and age. IF people were more tolerant, there would be less cause for conflicts and wars. As long as we are living in society and not in some mountain or desert, we will always have to deal with people. And dealing with people means we will come into contact with some who will really try our patience.

    I feel that the best way to be tolerant is as you have mentioned – try to understand the other person’s point of view. But I would take it further to empathize with them and to put myself in their very shoes. By doing so, I realize that we are not so very different. I try to let go of my own views and ideas for a moment and see if I can follow their line of reasoning to reach their conclusions. Doing so does not mean I give up my own views or that I agree with them fully. I am merely trying to understand them better. With deeper understanding, tolerance comes naturally.

    Also we should try to find common ground with people. No matter how different we are, we all have something in common. At the very least we are human beings, so we face the same difficulties and hardships. When we work to find common ground, it becomes easier to be tolerant of people. We are similar in some way.

    Thank you for this great article!

  13. Hi Steve,

    Helpful tips which I do agree with 😉

    I find that simply listening can be the most helpful exercise in practicing tolerance, for intolerance is based on tuning out.

    Thanks for sharing your insight.


  14. Remember, you cannot control how others act…but you can always take ownership of your own reactions in return.

    Tolerance (especially in today’s day and age!) is critical, but so many people (kids, adults, etc.) just plain fail on it. At Rutgers, a gay student committed suicide because his roommate secretly broadcasted his personal moments to the Internet. So sad that people can be just plain amoral.

    Sharing this post with my network – thanks!

  15. I think of myself as an open-minded and friendly person and although sometimes I meet people I really don’t want to talk too, I don’t think I ever been rude or tell them that in the face.
    Even when in school I hung out with popular kids and with less popular or even those who were considered weirdos. I was talking to them trying to understand them without labeling them like anything else then normal people and I think that is why I got the get so many different friends.

    I am really glad I was/am like that because now I keep in touch with many of them and some even helped when I was in need.
    Tolerance is not something we should struggle to accomplish but something we should all have when interacting with others.

  16. The world we live in is smaller than ever before. Not by size, of course, but by ability to communicate and travel, and a great way to learn about something is to listen to others.

    I think would depend on the wacko beside me when go to shouting and asking to move. Sometimes, just have no choice. ha/ha

  17. This is one of the hardest things for me because I’m just so naturally reclusive around a lot of people in public – I want to get in and get out and when people do something that disrupts me than it really puts me in a bad mood – I know it’s bad to get pissy at people but it just always seem that people never think of others – I want to say it’s my area but it’s like that everywhere.

    Just need to focus on my own things; ignore the haters 😛

  18. thanks for the tips. Im totally agree with most of them. In a few words based on my own experience I can say that you receive what you give. If you give disrespect thats what you are going to receive. And our mind is like a different world so we all think and act a lot different from others. So you are going to agree in many issues with some people and disagree in many issues with the same people. Even so you have to find and enjoy the things in common. regards

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