As I write this, we’ve just finished a week of frigid weather. No matter where you live, it’s been bone-chilling, teeth-chattering, blanket-wearing cold.
It’s good when you have friends to talk with about the weather, sports, and everyday life.
What if there was something you could do every day to keep your friends, make new ones, and brighten almost any room you enter?
You can find the answer in the second principle in Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Give honest, sincere appreciation.
It sounds simple, doesn’t it?
We all want to be liked. You don’t want to feel lonely at a party, at work, or at church. If you do, you might consider working somewhere else. If the folks at church aren’t friendly, you can go to the church down the street. If a party is boring, you’ll find new friends to hang out with.
We want it to be easy to have friends, but the truth is, it’s not easy. Everyone won’t like you. People can have a bad day and take it out on you. Some may take advantage of you, and when you find that out, it can hurt like a punch in the chest.
We don’t want to be seen as manipulative. So we hold back on some of the pleasantries. We don’t ask our friends how they’re doing. We don’t compliment them when they do good work. We forget to thank them for favors. So instead of being seen as manipulative, we risk being seen as taking our friends for granted.
So, how can you warm up every room you enter?
Give compliments. It can be something simple like, “Hey, that dress looks good on you.” You could say to a colleague, “I really enjoyed your presentation the other day.” You might say this when meeting someone for the first time, “I’m pleased to meet you.”
Compliments grease the wheels of your relationships. Give them and you’ll move more smoothly through life. Forget them and you’ll get mired in disappointment, friction, and loneliness.
How can you give compliments without being manipulative?
Here’s a dirty little secret. Mark Bowden says in his book, Winning Body Language, that all communication is manipulative. So don’t feel guilty about it. The question you must answer is what are you trying to manipulate someone to do? Is it for her good or yours? Can you both win? Answer that well and you’ll ease any guilt feelings you might have.
Besides, she’s trying to manipulate you with her communication, too.
How can you really give sincere and honest appreciation?
The acid test of sincerity you must pass when you compliment someone is this – have no expectation of reward.
People think you’re being manipulative when they can tell you’re being nice because you want something. If you take a “nothing to lose” mentality, you won’t seem greedy and controlling. If you get what you want, great! If you don’t, great! By making someone’s day better without any expectation of reward, your life will be immeasurably better.
Resolve now to give at least three people a sincere compliment today. It’s the quickest and easiest way you can keep your friendships from freezing over. If you do it every day, you’ll be welcome wherever you go.