Instant Likability

On Facebook, you can purchase likability.  You can even go out and gather friends from your past and from joining new groups and you can post things other people are interested in.  Dale Carnegie says to “radiate a little happiness and pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to get something out of the person in return.”

When someone walks in a room with a smile, you can just feel the happiness radiating and it results in instant likability.  Carnegie says there is a Human Law that must never be broken:  To make others feel important.  I have to agree, until I met someone undeserving and expecting of being treated that way regardless of how he or she treated others.  So at the onset, the beginning of the relationship, it’s easy to make someone feel important and it’s okay to decide later that they aren’t.  In friendships, people want to feel like they matter, like they are top priority, and that they have your attention when needed because it is really you that is important to them.

He says you want your associates to be ‘lavish in their praises.’  I have to disagree.  Have you ever been so over praised you just want to smack them in the face and say “wake up” stop kissing my behind because it’s annoying.  Or been so underpraised and underappreciated that you want storm into their office and tell them all of the great things you’ve done for them and show them how angry you are for their lack of recognition?  Being over and under appreciated is a difficult place to be in, so being likable is not about giving a person everything they want and need; it’s about a perfect chemistry between people where both people give what is needed and both people feel content with the amount of attention and appreciation they are getting.  It’s also about sensing and feeling the other person’s thoughts and feelings or being able to talk openly about problems, resolving conflict, and encouraging a person to reach their highest potential without fear that they might surpass you in knowledge, success, and power.  Smiling when your friend does something awesome or better than you and then competing to improve yourself or situation without jealousy or resentment.  I think instant likability is when you meet someone and they are pleasing to the eye, the mind, and even your heart.  They are instantly likable.  I’ve met some not so pleasing to the eye kind of people and they are not instantly likable; it takes time to get to know their personality and then they become likable.  So we teach ourselves to get passed personal appearances and give people a chance to become likable, by honing in on traits that we enjoy, whether it’s pretty eyes, a smile, the way they say good morning or how they show genuine interest or make an effort to be your friend.

It’s easy to make someone feel important or special when in a position of power and authority.  Sometimes to just stop and address that person by name could change their day, leading them to feel important or noticed.  It could very well change that person’s mind about their career path or on the opposite side, no attention could cause them to leave and not like you as a leader because you didn’t take the time out to even get to know their name.  Yes, every member that is part of a team is important, some more important at other times, but all are important at some point.  Importance and Appreciation in business is not the same practice in the world of friendships, although similar in that it takes time and attention to grow a friendship, but it must be quality, healthy time and attention and it must breed feelings of happiness, comfort, companionship in order to be good a person.  Sometimes people remain friends and spend time together because they are all they have and don’t want to go out and make new friends, so they put up with the bad parts of their friend and try to get appreciation or feelings of importance in some way.  This can be dangerous and troublesome, like a bad toxic relationship where needs are not being met, yet the people hang around hoping for change.

So while instant likability is good and possible, long term friendships with depth require healthy interaction, encouragement, empathy, fun, positive feelings, reinforcement, reward, and sometimes tears to maintain.

In the beginning of a friendship to gain instant likability, it might be beneficial to get to know a little bit about a person by doing some research.  Perhaps you learned their name from someone else and overheard that they grow a vegetable garden on weekends.  To introduce yourself to this person, you might call them by name and catch them at a time when it appears they have a minute or two to lightly talk about their garden and offer a compliment if it feels natural and not pressured.  People notice when you have rehearsed a conversation, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when meeting.  The point is, you want to meet that person, you want to establish a common ground with that person, you want that person to be your friend, so you might engage in light conversation and later ask them if they’d like to go garden shopping with you or if you can come check out their garden.  Something where you can spend quality time together to talk more about each other.

I remember a few times, introducing myself to people in business with the hopes of “networking” and I didn’t know where to begin.  I would tell them my name and mention what project or program I knew they were working on and ask questions to get them to talk about their work, waiting for them to show interest in mine or talking about mine as the conversation would lead to it.  I never hoped to gain anything other than meeting someone and maybe later having a contact in that area of work if needed.  Initially it was like standing up in front of a stadium and giving a speech without clothes on, but that’s because I was shy.  I got over the fear the more I did it, even if sometimes it did feel rehearsed or like I was trying to gain something from it.  Of course I was, but often times I didn’t know what that would be going into it.  Sometimes it resulted in learning things that I was better off not knowing and sometimes it was wishing I’d never even met that person, but the point was to learn how to meet new people and engage in conversation in new surroundings.  Now it’s like common place, very easy to get to know people, but being decisive and selective who I choose to let know me.

In Dale’s book, he often tells stories about conversations and encounters with named people like Presidents, prominent businessmen, using their names and talking about his experience with them.  I found it irritating and self serving.  I realize he was trying to establish credibility for his work, but was perhaps trying to use his relationships to make the reader see his importance and prestige by knowing and being able to use these figures as a reference.  I imagine myself in business and referring to my colleagues by name or accomplishment to convey a point and in doing so, I am aware this may project a sense of superiority and importance to the listener, but there is a part of me that finds it self serving and unnecessary.  It’s almost like riding on the coattails of another man’s success, using their prestige and name recognition while trying to establish your own; creating a natural negative response in my mind.  It would make sense if I was purposefully trying to promote their works to increase their appreciation or to gain appreciation for my knowledge and relationships with these people.  Really it’s a way of saying, “I know popular, smart, influential people, what do you think of me?”

I remember a girl I worked with.  We were in very different positions, me having access to all of the top professionals (not deep relationships) and I’d rarely use their names unless I felt I could really use them to help someone, but because I talked about meeting certain Rock Stars or being in a certain position, she called me a “namedropper.” Internally, I had to question if I was misusing their names and power to emit an aura of superiority that might make one feel less important, but I resolved that this person resorted to name calling as a means to show she was resentful or perhaps jealous of my position and access to people.  I took an internal assessment to check my motives and use of people’s names to make sure I was following purposeful referencing or referrals to help and not to make one feel less important.  I couldn’t help that I did have access to those people and that I could help another person fulfill their career wishes and could show them how to do so, but I couldn’t stand the unnecessary backlash for being in such a position.  I had to question the nature of my friendship with this person to see if she was projecting an ideal that I was not like her or on her level or that she was not like me and on my level or if both of us were simply retarded.  Either way, it was about trying to be friends with someone in a professional setting that struggled with me as a person as a whole because the longer we were friends, her jealousy eminated in other settings, such as boyfriends and on projects.  I was shocked to be called a ‘namedropper’ which created an awareness of the use of people’s names as a reference, being watchful that I did not use them to gain approval or acceptance from another person.

Using someone’s name where you have common knowledge of that person is not a bad thing.  It’s how it is used and what is discussed that matters.  It’s either to give appreciation, to show who lead you, taught you, guided you, or to refer someone to someone else to find an answer or improve.  References and professional contacts are used to show levels of importance, interaction, and to get assistance.  For example, tell them Bob sent you.  Yes, sir, Bob sent me.  Oh, you know Bob, yep, he’s a great guy and tells me you might have what I’m looking for.  Great, we have a common ground and you both must be awesome because you know Bob.

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