“You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” —Dale Carnegie
This book was recommended to me when I started my first job out of college. I was working for a senator from Kentucky in Washington, DC, and my boss thought it would be good for me to make more friends and learn how to influence people’s decisions.
Here are a few things I learned from one of the most successful books of all time:
Don’t Criticize Others
Doing this doesn’t encourage someone to change their behavior. It only makes them feel under attack, and instead of listening to you, they will become defensive and fight back.
“Criticizing someone is easy, but it takes character and understanding to forgive others of their mistakes and shortcomings.”
For me, I’ve always noticed how lousy I feel after I put someone down, so taking a deep breath and thinking before you speak is always the better choice.
Make People Feel Important
We all want to feel valued and noticed by others. Look for ways to compliment your friends, family, co-workers and others you meet throughout your day. We all have unique gifts, and taking the time to appreciate those in someone will not only boost their confidence, but also build respect for you.
When you are known for building others up, not only will you make more friends, but you will create long-lasting relationships because people feel good around you.
Smile At Everyone You See
It can seem daunting trying to make new friends when starting at a new school or job, joining different clubs, sports or extracurricular activities.
However, one super easy way to break the ice with anyone is to smile at them. You will appear more confident, attractive and intelligent. When someone sees your smile, they won’t be thinking about what you’re wearing; they will be thinking what a nice, friendly person you are even before you introduce yourself.
Add great eye contact, and this newbie will feel like the most important person in the room. Take a chance. Smile at someone today and see the warmth that unfolds.
Do You Know My Name?
To get on someone’s good side, be sure to say their name and say it several times during your conversation so you remember it.
Think about it…in our distracted world, aren’t you impressed when someone remembers your name?
It’s thought that we care about our name more than anyone else’s, so think of the power of winning others over by simply remembering their names.
Whenever I eat out at a restaurant, I always ask the server’s name; then throughout the meal I make a point to say their name, and without a doubt we receive great service and a smiling face.
Be a Good Listener Who Is Genuinely Interested In Others
Sometimes when I meet a new person, I get so excited about what they are saying that I interrupt them in the middle of a conversation.
We are all guilty of it; however, talking about yourself a lot, failing to listen to others or interrupting them will not make you friends because this signals you’re self-centered.
Instead, listen intently, ask thoughtful questions about their interests, find commonalities and show you care about their accomplishments. This will increase your chances of making a new friend or securing new business because you better understand what is important to them.
Noone Ever Wins an Argument
And if they do, no one leaves the conversation feeling better than before the argument. Usually, the first response is defensive, and then tempers flare. Instead, listen to understand the other person’s viewpoint.
Try to find areas to agree on, and see if you can compromise or agree to think about the situation and come back and discuss it later. Be sincere in admitting your mistakes in the situation and thank them for explaining their thoughts in the matter as well. Your humility will earn the respect and trust needed to ensure a strong personal or working relationship.
If you want more friends or to keep the ones you have, I highly suggest some of these tips.
We all want to be liked, so be friendly, smile, listen and call people by their names. Everyone craves attention, so set yourself apart to make someone feel like they are the only person in the room.
Praise and encourage others often, be humble, avoid arguments and compliment instead of criticize. You will be the first person someone goes to during the best and worst of times because you have earned their trust and respect.