In order to be happy and to get what you want from life, you need to be able to get along with others. Making friends and forming connections with other people is one of the most important life skills you can develop.
Here are five ways to make friends and get along with others.
- Be interested in other people.Dale Carnegie, author of one of of the best-known books ever written on building positive relationships with others, How to Win Friends and Influence People, wrote the following:
- “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
- “To be interesting, be interested.”
- Focus on what other people want.Here’s another quote from Dale Carnegie:
“I often went fishing up in Maine during the summer. Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what the fish wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: ‘Wouldn’t you like to have that?’ Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?”
In order to connect with others ask yourself, “What are their preferences?” and “What makes them tick?” Focus on what they want.
- Allow yourself to be vulnerable. The more perfect you pretend to be, the more people will want to be around you, right? No, that’s wrong. People prefer to be with those who are vulnerable. Vulnerability means that you show up and you allow yourself to be seen for who you really are, warts and all. And that takes courage.
Dr. Brené Brown is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. She explains the following:
- People connect more with those who have weaknesses.
- It’s OK to say, “I don’t have all the answers”.
- Look at yourself in all your weirdness and with all your strange quirks and realize that you’re worthy of acceptance just as you are.
4. Demonstrate fellowship. Many of you are probably familiar with the verses found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (it’s for everyone, not just religious people). Here’s what the verses say:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
These verses are heard very often at weddings, so most people think that it refers to romantic love. However, the verse is much more inclusive; it’s about fellowship.
There’s a short book called “The Greatest Thing in the World”, by Henry Drummond. The book contains Drummond’s analysis of the verses I quoted above from Corinthians. As I was looking through the comments about this book on Amazon, I found the following gem:
“Never having been trained in the social graces, I always felt like a bit of a klutz in social settings such as dinner parties and even simple get-togethers. Drummond makes the point that if you have love – if you can feel and express love – you have it all. So instead of focusing on which fork to use for the shrimp and salad, I started focusing on how much God loves me and everyone around me. And that little simple truth enabled me to feel more at ease in every circumstance and in every situation.”
Of course, it’s a good idea to be well-versed in the social graces and niceties. However, what’s truly important in getting along with others is demonstrating fellowship. You demonstrate fellowship by doing the following:
- Look for ways to make others feel at ease.
- Be kind.
- Be patient and be slow to anger; know that everyone is doing the best that they can.
- Feel empathy towards others. After all, at the end of the day, we all want the same thing — we want to be happy, we want to feel validated and accepted, and we want to feel loved.
- Keep focusing on the fact that we’re all in the same boat; we’re all in this together.
5. Follow the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule, as almost any kid could tell you, is that you should treat others the way you want them to treat you. Sit down and ask yourself how you want others to treat you. (If you really want to be a superstar, follow “The Platinum Rule” – treat people the way they want to be treated.)
- Do you want people to recognize your achievements? Start recognizing others’ achievements.
- Do you want people to ask about your day and to show genuine interest in your response? Show genuine interest in others.
- Do you want people to listen to you when you have a problem? Start listening to others.
- Do you want people to trust you? Start trusting others.
- Do you want people to lend you a helping hand when you’re feeling overwhelmed? If so, then you need to get out there and start doing these things for other people.
Here’s the last Dale Carnegie quote I’m going to share with you in this Every Monday Matters: “Winning friends begins with friendliness.”
I think that means that in order to have friends, We must first be a friend. That is, we must follow the Golden Rule.
What do YOU think?