Memorize Maya’s Method
Hello! Today, you’re in for a treat, my friend. You’ll learn my best secret: I make others like themselves when they’re with me. Then, they like me more!
Maya Angelou, the American poet and activist, said, “People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.”
Pause and reflect on that quote. Think of someone you like—do you remember everything they’ve said or done, or do you mostly like them because of how you feel when you’re with them?
For others to like you, memorize Maya’s method and make others feel good.
“Charisma is not so much getting people to like you as getting people to like themselves when you’re around,” wrote Robert Brault in his book, Quotes and Sayings. He couldn’t be more spot on.
Be Interested Rather Than Interesting
Imagine that at the next team meeting, the topic of foreign traveling comes up. One of your coworkers excitedly starts talking about a trip to Europe she took twelve years ago. You just came back from Europe last week.
How do you react? Do you anxiously wait for an opportunity to interject your own experiences (which are clearly more interesting)? Or do you patiently listen, and when she pauses, you ask her a question about her trip, so she can keep feeling good about her memories?
When you remember that people care more about listening to themselves than to you, the reaction that a likable person would have becomes obvious. (As obvious as the fact they’d never wear a shirt that said, “I’m #1 at being humble.”)
Sure, be an interesting person: Do something more than just running the rat race, have fun, try new things, hang out with interesting people, read stuff that others will find amusing, and quit showing off 32 photos of your cat. But most importantly, concentrate less on showing others how awesome you (or your cat) are, and instead, start asking them questions so they can show you how awesome they are.
Dale Carnegie, author of the bestselling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, said, “You’ll win more friends in two months showing a sincere interest in two people than you would in two years trying to get two people interested in you.” Or something like that.
Aim at having balanced conversations, but let them speak more than you.
Don’t Make Others Feel Bad
“To make people feel good, don’t make them feel bad” sounds like a no-brainer, right? Still, I bet you’ve met more than one person whose remarks leave you thinking, “Why the heck did they say that?”
Some parents tell their grown-up children things like:
• “You shouldn’t have quit that job.”
• “I miss the coat I wore at your graduation [20 years ago], but someone stole it when we moved [12 years ago]. I get so mad every time I think of it!”
• “It’s cold. Wear a sweater.”
• “Your boyfriend’s great! If he had more than two neurons, he’d be perfect.”
• “You need to exercise more.”
Making others feel bad about things they can’t change (or don’t want to change) will only make them, well, feel bad. They will associate you with negative feelings—and avoid you.
Steer clear of:
• dwelling on unpleasant feelings
• passive-aggressive behaviors
• phrases that start with, “You should (or shouldn’t)”
• treating adults like kids
• criticizing the people they love
• telling them to change
I once heard that when two people marry, one hopes that the other will change, while one hopes that the other won’t change, and inevitably, they both end up disappointed. Don’t try to change others—it will only make you both feel bad.
Practice these other techniques.
• Take time to know what the person needs (validation, words of encouragement, a gift, solicited advice, etc.), and give it to them if you can. (Don’t get a new car for your spouse, even if it seems like a good trade.)
• Rather than living by the Golden Rule (treat others the way you want to be treated), live by the Platinum Rule: Treat others the way they want to be treated.
• Admit your mistakes and apologize when it’s called for.
One Last Thought
If someone you know constantly makes others feel bad, please help humankind! Gift that person a subscription to Highbrow, and recommend that they take this course. (If someone gifted you a subscription and recommended that you take this course, take it twice.)
I’ve saved the best for last (kind of). Tomorrow, you’ll learn “stuff” that not even your Aunt Google could have told you. You’ll learn how to remain likable in difficult times and how to survive those who resent you for being popular. Trust me, you don’t want to miss our last episode.
See you tomorrow!
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