The 4 Agreements Applied to Dentistry (Part 2) – Don’t Take Anything Personally

Blog post about the 4 agreements

In the first article, we examined how office managers and leaders can “be impeccable with your word.” If positive language has woven its way into your daily routine, you will be more confident with your interpersonal dialogue with your team and patients.  In this part of the series, we’ll examine how the phrase “don’t take anything personally” applies to our dental workplaces.

Don’t Take Anything Personally

Absorbing the opinions of others is like poisoning yourself with beliefs that are not true. This could be someone who comments negatively about you or someone else who just projects their negative feelings upon you. If you agree with their opinion, you also become trapped in their negative existence. Other’s opinions will reflect how they’re feeling at that moment.    Agreement 2

Nothing others do is because of you.

People are free to behave in any manner they choose. What they say or do isn’t any reflection of your words or actions. We all have free will to choose the nature of our behaviors, positive or negative.

How this principle applies to our patients:

When patients are upset about their benefits (or lack thereof), they fuss at us; they’re misdirecting their frustration; we’re only the messenger of information. The frustration they’re exhibiting should be directed elsewhere. Sometimes, patients misdirect their frustration at us when they are looking for a very specific window of time for appointments. Kindly remind them of the next availability overall (positive verbiage) and within their provided window.

How this principle applies to our team:

Our team members have personal events, conflicts, relations, etc. outside of the office that sometimes impact their moods or behaviors. Keep yourself positive regardless of any friction that may arise, and remember that their behaviors are a reflection of themselves. Empathy and understanding may help soften their tone, but ultimately, they must choose positivity.

What others say and do results from their perception of their rules.

Everyone has evolved their way of doing things and believes it to be the best. They are living within the agreements they’ve made with themselves.

This is especially true of our teams; it’s difficult to break someone of habitual behaviors and tasks. Introducing a new way of doing something will probably be met with resistance because the resistor believes their way is best. Understanding this and explaining why the new way is necessary may help smooth the transition to a new procedure.

We all make rules about how things should be, but when you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Everyone has an opinion, and usually, it’s shared even when it’s not asked for. That doesn’t mean that you must absorb anyone else’s opinion, nor do you have to have any feelings about their opinion.

This usually shows itself within the team as interpersonal dialogues that could lead to disagreements, hurt feelings, or misunderstandings between team members.  Patients typically share their opinions of current events when making small talk.  For both situations, it’s best to listen & respond without injecting your own opinion.

Other’s opinions or feelings cannot affect you once you realize they don’t mean anything to you. They are not facts, just thoughts and feelings that belong to someone else. Unless someone asks, “What do you think?” an opinion should not be shared.

When you make “Don’t take anything personally” a habit within the office, you won’t find yourself in needless drama or conflict. Trust yourself, believe your thoughts and feelings, and stop believing the opinions of others. If you keep this agreement a part of the office and with yourself and live your best life with an open heart, you will not be affected by the judgment or opinions of others.


In part 3, we’ll review “Don’t Make Assumptions” and how this is crucial in our offices.


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About the Author

Lora GraetzerLora Graetzer, MAADOM

Lora Graetzer, MAADOM, DISIPC, a Master and lifetime member of AADOM, is dedicated to professional education and personal growth. Outside the office, you can find her outdoors enjoying an adventurous and busy life with her husband and 2 children. She is the Vice President of BAM Leadership League, an AADOM-approved DPLN, and 2023 Tier II Chapter of the Year! Check out the educational opportunities, peer connections, and fun that await you at







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