BAM! Body and Mind
Your Life
BAM! Guide To Getting Along

What's Your Style?
Some kids deal with problems or situations by avoiding them. They might always give in to other people, or just pretend the problems aren't there. Others confront problems head on and try to make other people see it their way or do what they want. The best way to work through problems is by understanding how the other person feels. What's your style? Are you totally cool or hot headed?

The good news is that your style isn't set in stone — you can exchange it for one that works better! The same thing doesn't work for every situation — so try something new if your old way isn't cutting it. Everyone — can learn how to deal better with situations, people, or things that make them mad. Realize that anger is a reaction and that your reaction to a situation determines the outcome. In other words, you can choose how you respond to things that upset you. How you look at a situation can determine whether you become angry or not. By recognizing the chain of reactions that builds up to anger, you can break the cycle and keep your cool, even in the hottest situations.

Learn about the anger chain and how to break it by reading BAM's "Cool Rules."
 More Than 1 Way
What could you do if the girl who sits next to you in science class keeps whispering to you? It's distracting and you both keep getting in trouble! If you talk to "chatty Cathy" after class, you might find out that she's whispering to you because she doesn't understand what's going on in class. Together, you might come up with these ideas that might solve the problem:
  • She could try not to talk to you in class, and you could ignore her to make sure she doesn't!
  • She could ask the teacher more questions in class instead of turning to you for help.
  • She could whisper to somebody else when she's confused.
  • You could help her with the assignments before or after class.
  • Both of you could go to the teacher and explain the situation.
After you have some ideas, the next step is to decide which will work...and which won't.
Can't Solve It?
Sometimes that's okay. Just agree to disagree. You can still get along even if you don't see eye-to-eye on a certain thing.
BAM! Guide to Getting Along

Iron out your Issues

No plan will magically solve every problem or situation, but here are some ideas that have worked like a charm for other people.

Take a moment.
Stepping back from the whole mess gives everyone a chance to cool down and think. When you're having a problem with someone, first take some time to understand your own thoughts and feelings. What's really the issue? For example, do you feel like you're not getting enough respect? What do you want? Why?

Next, find a time to work out the problem with the other person. Pick a quiet place where it's easy to talk. Make sure to give yourself enough time. (Out by the school buses 15 minutes before soccer practice probably isn't a good choice!)

Set the tone.
The "tone" is the mood of the talk. When you wake up in a bad mood, it can spoil the whole day, right? You want to make sure that your talk at least starts off with a good mood. Just saying "Let's work this out" can make a huge difference!

Agree on the problem.
Take turns telling your sides of the story. You can't solve a problem if you don't really understand everything that's going on.

When it's your turn, see how calm you can be. Speak softly, slowly, and firmly. No threats (like "If you don't shut up, I'll...), because they can raise the problem to a whole new level-a bad one. No need to get all excited or mad!

Try giving your point of view this way: "I feel ____(angry, sad, or upset) when you____ (take my stuff without permission, call me a name, or leave me out) because___ (you should ask first, it hurts my feelings, or makes me feel lonely)." This really works to get people to listen, because they don't feel like you're judging them. Check out the difference. You could say "You're always late to pick me up!" or "I feel embarrassed when you pick me up late because all of my friends leave right on time and it seems like no one remembered me." You can also try just stating the facts. Instead of saying "You're a thief!" try "Maybe you picked up my shirt by mistake."

When it's the other person's turn, let them explain. Listen. Don't interrupt. Try to understand where they're coming from. Show that you hear them. When people aren't getting along, each person is part of the problem — but most of us tend to blame the other person. When you've done something wrong, be ready to say you're sorry.

The goal is to decide together what the real issues are. Do not pass "Go" until you do that. It's huge!

Think of solutions.
Take turns coming up with ways to solve the problem. Get creative. Usually, there are lots possible solutions. Next, talk about the good and bad points of each one.

Make a deal.
Then, choose a solution that you both can agree on. Pick an idea that you both think will work. Get into the specifics — talk about exactly who will do what and when you'll do it. Everyone should give something.

Matt & Daniel Image Daniel: Okay, I'll try not to brag about my swimming times.
Matt: And I'll try not to get mad just because you're a good swimmer.
Daniel: We'll work on your backstroke next week before practice. Pretty soon you'll be beating me!

Stick like glue.
Keep your word and stick to what you agreed to. Give your compromise a chance. See if it sent your problem up in smoke or if the fires are still burning.

Know when to get help.
Sometimes a problem gets really serious. If you aren't talking and you don't trust each other, you might need another person to step in. If it looks like the problem might turn into a fight, it's definitely time to get help. Someone like a teacher, parent, or religious advisor can help calm things down so you can safely talk out the problem with the other person.

There's no formula for getting along with other people, but following these tips can help. See for yourself!

Read Cool Rules to break the anger chain >>

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