Mr. Dale Carnegie says that all people are interested in themselves, making me dislike his writing style and angle. I simply disagree. People have a natural genuine interest in others if they have the time and room for it. Some people seek out to hate people simply because they are lacking in self love, appreciation, or just in a bad place in life, but generally people want to like others, but certain standards prevent everyone from being liked and accepted.
To be liked, you must be likable. People must enjoy being around you, whether it’s because you are pleasing to the eye, funny, encouraging, or just make them feel good. You don’t have to do anything other than to be kind, smile, and be open to making a new friend. If you’re not open, then the person that wants you to like them may persist and find ways to get your attention and if it’s a healthy way, they just might make you like them. It’s all boils down to time and effort. If they both have the time and enough effort is made, then it’s possible. Some people will attempt to ‘buy into’ a friendship, buy offering financial friendliness and some expect it right off the bat; these are not friends; they are flawed in their thinking or are using money as a means to win you over or show superiority or what I like to call ‘excessive’ kindness. Some are lonely millionaires in need of friends, wanting and willing to share, at no fault of their own. Some will make friends and begin their downward spiral of complaining about their lives, hoping you will fix it or offer up free advice for their desperation. A good friend might come along that just wants someone to tackle the world with, to help navigate through this thing we call life; someone to talk to about challenges, someone to learn from or someone to guide. One might look for someone to spend quality time with so they can have someone to rely that is not a girlfriend, someone they can play sports with or go shopping with, but at some point, your friend is going to need you and you’ll need to be there for them.
Some people think Facebook is a place for friends and they think they have 350-500 or more friends, but how many true and real friends can one person realistically have? They say you can only count your true friends on one hand, but on the other hand, they say you can never have enough friends. It’s about depth, reliability, and contact.
Sometimes people try to hard or want people to prove themselves before they can be considered a friend. Some people need to test the waters before they can swim, mainly due to fear because of past friendship disasters. Some friends can become friends right away and other times it takes work. If it takes too much work, it becomes more of a job and naturally one might wonder why that person would even bother and it’s most likely because they want something from that person; maybe just because they enjoy the challenge, saw something they liked in that person and knew they’d become friends if they could break through the exterior wall built by finding out why the wall was built in the first place.
Not all friendships were made to last forever and some are formed just by wearing the same T-Shirt, having the same hair stylist, or by sharing the same employer or classroom. It’s easy to be likable and when you notice someone doesn’t like you; it’s a simple choice of changing, adapting, or being okay with the fact that they may not like you. To try to gain everyone’s acceptance and friendship is not always easy and can be burdensome down the road as you grow closer since some friends want to be your best friend. You can decide for yourself what makes you likable and how to win friends over, but it’s not by money, just a smile, or just listening alone.
When I first read his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, I laughed; like it was a contest, not remembering how middle school and high school friends were developed. It was a contest; a popularity contest and quite painful. Luckily in adult life, it’s not the same way; although sometimes, in the Corporate World it seems so. Sometimes you can become liked and popular just by being cute or being in the right position or place at the right time; but you can also become the most despised one of the bunch. You can win them over simply by kindness and boundary setting within yourself to decide what you will tolerate and what you won’t. Your observers or friends will watch how you use your boundaries and establish guidelines for how you allow people to treat you, as well as how you conduct yourself in friendships and they will either respect you for being a leader, forthright, and honest, or despise you because of jealousy, envy, or other immature or specific reasons.
If you choose to be 100% honest with people and don’t follow the rule of “If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all,” then you should be prepared for an argument. The outcome will depend upon how much energy is expended in problem solving, understanding, and change which may or may not result in a stronger, deeper friendship.
If you find yourself in a situation where new friends want to talk about old friends, which is perfectly natural, then it’s important to be honest, sharing with respect to show what you expect from your new friend and giving them a sense that you wouldn’t disrespect them behind their back down the road. It’s an opportunity to show your new friend what might upset you or what could cause the downfall of the new friendship.
They will respect your honesty and tact, if you can talk about each other respectfully and not hatefully, by communicating your differences in an ’empathetic’ fashion and discussing how and why it ended. Communicating this will help you and your new friend avoid old friend disasters. Immature friends, or new kids learning how to get over old friendships may gossip and take that information back to the other person, as they are trying to maintain friendships in a midst of a friendship battle, making it difficult to develop a true trusted friendship. It’s best to avoid these types of relationships since they can cause harm on both sides, even if the third friend meant well, serving as a middle man to resolve past conflicts. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s best to just let friends resolve their own conflicts with brute honesty if possible.
As you get older, you realize, some friendships end in court where penalties are assessed for emotional or physical pain and suffering.
I don’t know how to get people to like you other than being yourself, comfortable with who you are and what you bring to the friendship. If it grows as you hope, then it’s great, but if you find that no one likes you and it’s difficult to make friends or maintain friends, then you might consider looking at yourself and your surroundings. It might not be you, but them, or it just might be you and not them, but you have to at least look at this to figure it out. If you really set out to make friends with a person, you should be willing to accept them as they are or walk away and not waste their time in shallow friendships, because there is someone that does accept them and wants to be their best friend just waiting around the corner for him or her to open up and become available.
Friendship is about sharing common activities, stimulating conversations, learning, growing, and being an active part of each others’ lives. Friendships are often tested by other people, circumstances, time, distance, and change. Being able to overcome obstacles together and work through hard times together helps strengthen friendships and friendships that stand the test of time, hardship, illness, family disasters, loss, gains, and growth are the most valuable relationships and take many years to evolve.
Opening up and becoming vulnerable to a new friend after a major life disaster and several losses is difficult, but not entirely impossible. It’s just a matter of putting in the energy, finding someone that looks like they might be a fit, and giving it time to develop and grow.
How to get rid of people is also another area of art. Letting go of a friend without letting them know you’ve grown to despise them, or letting your former friend know you’ve grown to despise them and learning to pick up the pieces of your own heart when you find out they don’t care and didn’t care enough to begin with; learning that what you thought was a friendship was really a shallow ‘counselor’ type time filler and not even real. It’s a heartbreak, especially when you can’t even get an apology, but you get over it, realizing there is probably more to the past friendship for you to figure out; that maybe it was part of your own life’s lessons in learning about your self and human behavior. Perhaps this is just rationalizing it since there is a real heartbreak, but life is learning and when you encounter what seem to be good people who turn out to be bad and you can’t relate it to your own life, meaning you don’t see how it was something bad in yourself, then I guess it was just another human speciman sent to learn a lesson in good vs. evil.
The “Friendship Triangle” is another area of observation and topic where I’ll write about the power and dynamics of a 3 way friendship.