Reflecting back to my childhood, I used to be the child that hosts the other kids at play and whenever the day was boring I would wonder what the other kids were doing and go all out to seek them. Back in secondary school, having held class captain roles from primary school, I remember being able to interact with every single member of my class. Be you the “biggest boy/ girl” in class or the one that thinks he/she is a nobody, we would always find a common ground to get along or mess with each other (haha!).
University (and adulthood) showed up and I had become a lot more “careful” and mindful of my associations, while that might have seemed quite boring, it taught me a lot more about life. I still had that personality but it was reserved for intentional friendship and nothing more.
Now, learning more and discovering myself: my strengths, weaknesses, passions and life principles, I have begun to explore meaningful interactions with people where I work and whenever I have the opportunity to be around people. I enjoy observing the diversity in human nature: every man/woman is unique, there is something different about everyone, therefore different strokes for different folks.
Well have you read that book by Dale Carnegie- How to Win Friends and Influence People? I have but this is not an excerpt, this is my version 🙂
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Be smart/ wise: book smart, street smart, any useful kind of smart. Not crooked smart though! I mean who wouldn’t love a friend who contributes to making life easier or better with his or her invaluable insights and ideas? Being able to give useful advice or contribution where needed would make you a lot more influential to others.
So how do you achieve this? Stay improving on yourself however possible so you can have much value to add wherever you find yourself.
Be kind: it can be a bit difficult to truly influence people or make friends when you’re all things but kind. Even Steve Jobs, who was said to have been tough or mean to his employees while alive must have had his moments of kindness, at least when the team was delivering meaningful results.
Kindness can soften the meanest hearts and tends to win you friends faster than other traits. In a world where people are caring less and getting busier (perhaps too busy for building and sustaining meaningful friendships), showing kindness wherever you find yourself will stand you out from majority. And when the busy bodies are all on your case, kill them with kindness!
Be tough: this might seem weird but being tough sometimes tends to result in even stronger influence than being purely nice. It might not win you a lot of friends but the few that are courageous enough to stay are likely to be extremely loyal.
However, being tough is not the same as being mean. Whatever toughness you have should come from a place of love and desire to achieve a positive goal or make a positive impact. Sometimes you need to show people some tough love in order to wake them up from their slumber or help them develop some meaningful character. Only a tough yet impactful person can have such meaningful influence and friendship. There has to be some real value you provide for people to stick with you regardless of your toughness.
The best kind of personality has a good balance of kindness and toughness. I call it the “check and balance” personality. Not every relationship will thrive on kindness alone. Remember that life is made up of variety of human personalities. The nature of certain people’s personalities demand more of your toughness than your niceness especially when you are in a position that requires you to produce effective results such as being the team lead of rather slacky and non-challant team members that are more likely to take your softer side for granted. Having the “check and balance” personality helps you build effective relationships regardless of who you’re with or where you are.
Knowing when to be tough and when to chill and just make people happy is very important to building and sustaining meaningful and effective relationships with friends, family, colleagues, employees and so on.
Being tough seems on the surface like a wrong trait to have but remember life itself can be really tough and when the going gets tough, who gets going? The tough ones do!
Be friendly: don’t wait to be approached, sometimes just reach out and initiate conversations. Show love randomly and be approachable. Show interest in other people, ask them questions that can help you better understand them so you know how best to relate with them and also be willing to share relevant/meaningful truths about yourself and your life experiences.
Be blunt and objective: Express your thoughts and feelings as plainly as you can without hurting anyone. Sometimes we run from the blunt ones because only a few really have the courage to hear the plain truth. However, one of the best personalities you can easily get along with would be the blunt and objective ones. Being objective means that people can rely or trust your judgment to be unbiased and fair because they know your opinion is not coming from any negative place such as a long held personal beef or negative emotions such as envy, jealousy, or pride.
Blunt people don’t play games and they are usually anti-drama too. They tell you stuff other people are too “fearful” to tell you and prefer to tell you upfront when you mess up than to hold grudges and go all dramatic about it. You can count on them to give you genuine feedback/input or insights that can be used to improve your present situation or fuel your personal growth. People with this kind of personality are usually respected by their peers who know that it takes a lot of guts to be blunt.
Be diplomatic: No matter how awesome it can be to be blunt, there are times when being blunt would only do more harm than good. Life is all about having the right balance of all these amazing traits. However, being genuine, loyal (to the right people), fair/objective and respectful should not be compromised.
Being diplomatic doesn’t mean hiding the truth but applying a lot more wisdom in sharing the truth. For example, you caught your friend’s spouse in a compromising situation with his/her colleague; do you go home and bluntly call him/her a cheat or a slut? Do you go on to tell your friend right there and then that he/she made the worst choice of a partner? This kind of situation calls for wisdom which comes from being diplomatic. “Not everything the eyes see the mouth speaks” Sometimes your words wouldn’t do the magic, your actions would.
However, do not confuse diplomacy for cowardice- being unable to speak up for fear of criticism or stepping on toes. While it makes no sense to be a trouble maker, it is usually a blessing to have that person who knows just how to give objective opinion or judgment and is not being fearful of what others would think, say or do about them, under the pretence of being diplomatic.
Be positive and Have a cool sense of humor: mention that friend that knows just how to make you laugh, no matter the situation…
Optimism can be contagious and a lot of times we desire that friendship that helps us see the light at the end of the tunnel even before we venture into its darkness.
Amidst the usual ups and downs of life, only a few would resist an opportunity to have a good laugh. People with great sense of humor and an optimistic nature therefore, tend to win friends faster than most people. They have that special way of making people happy even if it’s just for a brief moment thereby increasing their chances of winning friends and influencing people wherever they go.
Be loyal: Stay loyal to good people; it keeps them around much longer.
Respect yourself and others: respect is reciprocal; if you don’t want your face in the mud, don’t throw mud at others. Showing respect might mean different things: it could mean being careful with humor and knowing when to just stay silent. It could mean using words like sir/ma’am depending on the individual and your relationship, it could also mean carrying out your responsibilities in due time to avoid embarrassments. Whatever the situation, respecting yourself and others is key to building and maintaining meaningful relationships.
Be genuine: don’t live to impress. If you think starving up to buy and wear designer clothes would help you make friends, don’t get mad and lament when you’re surrounded by sycophants and fake people who really don’t have much good to offer.
Be the best version of yourself and don’t be afraid to show your vulnerability.
Pray for grace: I never did this as a child, but growing up and learning from people’s experiences have made me realize that some people just tend to be loved for no specific reason. Wherever they go, they find favor while some never seem to rise above the crowd. Yes, you need to work on yourself and your relationships but more than that, pray for God’s divine grace to have it great wherever you go, regardless of the challenges that may arise.
Now that you have read my version on how to win friends and influence people, I would absolutely love that you share yours! 🙂