10 Best Ideas | How to Win Friends and Influence People | Dale Carnegie | Book Summary
How to Win Friends
The possible situations are endless: you've moved to a new town and forgotten how to get to know people; your long-term relationship has left your social network lacking; or maybe you merely lack social skills -- whatever it is, we all need friends. Making new friends can be intimidating, but as with anything, you should take it one step at a time. A good place to start is from Step 1 below.
Be cool with yourself.The more you find your interests and do them and are happy about it, the more likely people are to also find you interesting. Don't be scared to have a conversation about your hobbies, but don't hog the conversation either.
- If you're sweating meeting new people, if you're thinking about how awkward, lame, and embarrassing your last comment about ferrets was and how these people are never going to want to see you again, it will show. The solution?Stop.People are generally harmless and too wrapped up in what they're saying to notice much else. If you never see them again, it is not the end of the world. There are many other people on this planet looking for friends, too.
Be friendly.If you're not out there being friendly, people will assume that you're just not interested in being friends. Most humans are pretty easily intimidated and like a sure thing; if you're not receptive, warm, and give off those friendly approach-me vibes, they won't come knocking on your door. And since this is a concept you've been taught since before you could practically walk, you know exactly what we're talking about.
- Be willing to listen. Even if ancestry research isn't your thing, be willing to listen and ask questions. More likely than not, you might find a new interest.
Smile.Greet the people you meet by smiling. It's a friendly gesture that attracts people, shows them you're engaged in your surroundings, and looking to have a connection. Can you imagine trying to befriend a stranger you see grimacing in the corner? No thank you. Make it less nerve-wracking for potential buddies by opening up and exuding warmth.
- Maintain open, inviting body language. When you find yourself amongst people, try to keep your body aligned with theirs (and not toward the door, for example). Keep your arms open and stay off your phone. There are people out in the real world that deserve attention!
Get people talking about themselves.Too many of us blame the fact that they get tongue-tied and never really know what to say to account for the lousy social skills, when really it's listening that is the more important of the two abilities. People seek friends who will care to listen to whattheyare saying more than anyone who can talk circles around them. If talking isn't your specialty, you will be just fine without it.
- Ask questions. Everyone loves being asked questionsandit takes the spotlight off you! Open-ended ones, especially. A one-word response (yes or no) doesn't really take the conversation anywhere and puts the pressure on you to follow up, so ask ones that require elaboration.
Remember details about them.How impressive is it when you meet someone once and the next time you run into them they ask you about your birthday, your mom, or some other little tidbit you casually mentioned in passing? It feels so good knowing someone paid attention to you and valued the information you told them. Be that person! Winning friends is all about making the other person feel good.
- You can notice details, too. If there's anything they're wearing, carrying, or have about them, ask! Who knows the interesting conversations this could launch?
Put your shyness and insecurity on the back burner.People naturally gravitate toward confidence. If you're clingy, they'll all be headed for the hills in no time at all. No need to be cold, but know that whatever your audience's opinions of you are, it doesn't really matter. Be you. That's the best self you can be.
Go to all sorts of places.The only way to meet people once you get out of high school and college (and those are people you're thrown in with anyway. How many of them do you like) is to get out and do stuff outside your home. The more you do, the more interesting you'll be and the more (interesting) people you'll meet. That's a cold, hard fact right there, that is.
- All sortsof places. Even places you initially wouldn't see yourself going to -- those are the places you always get the most surprised about! Make it a point to check out that cafe you've heard about. Check out that abstract Jell-O art exhibition. Go to your little sister's softball games for a change. You'll have so many stories to tell by the end of the week that making conversation won't even be an issue.
Get out and go places.The more places you go and activities you go (such as going to Jell-O art exhibitions), the more interesting you'll be and the more varied your perspective on the world will be. You'll have seen more things, met more people, and, at the risk of sounding like your hippie aunt in Denver, you'll be happening. And you'll be busy! Busy meeting people, having experiences, and living life, that's what.
- When people meet you, they'll probably assume a fair number of things. It's your job to take those labels people place on you and tell 'em where to stick it with your dynamic, multi-faceted self. Are you a leggy blonde? Well, maybe you're into magazines and The Bachelorette. Oh crap, you're also a sharpshooter? Woah! Do you only wear flannel and listen to Neutral Milk Hotel? Oh...hold up, you also speak Russian and studied French cooking?Cool.
Draw on your current contacts.If you have evenonefriend under your belt, you have access to a ready-made social network. Heck, your coworkers, your neighbors, your cousins -- they all know people you could win over. Take advantage of them! Invite them to a get together and have them bring along a couple friends. Attend recitals, festivals, and other public events that they're going to. Put your connections to work!
- This is also a good way to turn acquaintances into friends. Let that coworker who you talk to once in a while that you know is into red wine that you're looking to get into it too. Do they have any suggestions? Talk to your neighbor about their garden -- how do they do it? Before you know it, you'll be going to wine tastings and joining your neighbor's book club. Maybe getting roped into babysitting, too, but it's worth it!
Know that you never know.That's a terse way of saying, "Go do things where you don't expect friendships to bloom becausethat's when they happen." Your little cousin's soccer tourney? Sure, why not? Open mic night at a local comedy club? Of course! If you frequent these places, you'll wind up seeing the same faces. And you already know you have stuff in common!
Accept invitations.Because if you don't, you'll stop getting invited at all. So while in the back of your head you're totally thinking, "Ugh, this is going to be such a drag," you may want to stick it out. The party might suck, sure, but you could meet someone there who thinks it sucks, too. You might not be the biggest beer, volleyball, or country music fan, but accept anyway. If it really stinks, you can always leave.
- If you're convinced you're going to have a terrible time, you're going to. So don't waste your time going to places that put you in a bad mood. Instead, try to open up your mind to the possibility that it could be fun. And if not fun, it'd at least be an experience. What's the worst that could happen? It sucks and you leave. What's the best? It's awesome, you've met people, and you've found something you really enjoy. How's that weigh out?
Initiate.Heads up: we're all nervous when it comes to meeting people. It's so much easier just to live in our world and wait for people to come into it. But the problem arises wheneveryonedoes that; so take one for the team and do the initiating yourself. People are warm and polite (usually) and they won't reject you in any sort of embarrassing fashion. The worst that could happen is they make quick small talk and go on their way. Nothing lost there.
- In its own crazy way, initiating is terrifying. To make it seem simpler, focus on one thing: making a situational comment. That's all it takes! In line at the cafe? Talk about coffee, the wait, or getting your caffeine fix. At a party? The host, the food, or whoever's off making an idiot of themselves. The conversations can only bloom from there.
Get contact info.All too often people meet and have a good time and both parties would be willing to be friends, but no one makes the effort. It might have to be you that steps up to the plate. Ask for their Facebook name, their cell number, or in some circumstances, their email. And then use it!
- If you've had a good, interesting conversation, don't worry about coming off creepy. A simple, "Hey, what's your Facebook name?" or, "Let me get your phone number so we can go to that Jell-O exhibition sometime" will do the trick. No need to make mountains out of molehills! If you're cool and casual, there's nothing to refuse.
Making Connections Last
Stay positive.When we're first forming friendships, it's important to keep our interactions positive and friendly. If you don't, you risk being that guy or girl who's always such a "Debbie Downer," the one who has a negative spin on everything. New friends are the ones you laugh with, not the ones you cry on...yet.
Ask for advice.Talk about heavier and more serious topics. A level of trust has to be ascertained for that bond to go beyond the watercooler. To start that train chugging away, ask for advice. Bring up a little problem in your life and seek out their opinion. They'll feel important and important to you, making them like you that much more. And maybe they'll return the sentiment!
- Examples are what coffee maker to purchase or where to go when you're on vacation in New Zealand, maybe how to deal with an annoying roommate -- not how to deal with your life-threatening disease. It needs to be a topic the other person feels like they can handle, you know? Something they can weigh in on that will be of benefit to you; you want them to walk away feeling useful, not overwhelmed.
Put the work in.Just like keeping your body or mind in shape, you gotta keep your relationships in shape, too. Once they've been achieved -- you're hanging out occasionally, you're starting to be comfortable around each other -- don't let them dwindle and fade! Send the random text about something funny you saw. Invite them out for coffee, to a party, or to some public event you think they might enjoy.
- And when your new friend is having a hard time, be there for them. Part of being a friend is sacrificing some of your time. If they ever need a favor, help out if possible or reasonable. If they need a shoulder to cry on, be there! Let them know that you care. Friendships aren't always sunshine and rainbows; sometimes they take a little TLC to flourish.
Never take it personally.The older we get, the more and more plates we're spinning simultaneously. If you don't have any that are dropping, you're doing it wrong. In other words, people are busy. People have lives to attend to. If your friendship isn't at the "OMG WE'RE BFFLs(!)" level, it's fine. You have your own life to lead, too. If you can make each other's lives better from time to time, that's good. That's all you need.
Be agoodfriend.No friendships will last if you don't treat the other person well. Once you get to know each other, it's not enough to be friendly -- you have to be agoodfriend: someone who clearly cares and is worth spending time with. You get out what you put in, really. So if you want someone who trusts you, who makes time for you, who makes life feel good, you gotta do that for them.
- Being a good friend in fair weather is nice, but being a good friend when times are hard is even more important. If your friend is sick you don't have to rush over with a bowl of chicken soup, but do text them how they're feeling and if they need anything. If they're having an issue, let them know you're there for them. And when it's your turn to feel down, hopefully they'll be right alongside you, too.
QuestionHow can I be a good friend?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSpend more time with your friend, help them if they are doing something, know their interests and give them small surprises/gifts (friendship bands etc.). Keep smiling and be loyal and respectful, let them know how important they are in your life. Have long conversations with them, cheer them up when they are sad and invite them to join you in studies. At lunch, give them sweet compliments.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I do when my friend and I start fighting and I can't cool things down?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTell him/her you don't want to fight anymore, and then walk away. Take a minute for yourself and just calm down. If you cannot walk away, say something like, "I really don't want to fight with you, and you're upsetting me. Can we just agree to disagree?"Thanks!
QuestionCan I continue to be friends with someone I haven't talked to in a long time?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerOf course. If you have their contact information and they live nearby, you can simply call them and meet up with them. You can also mail them a letter if they are farther away.Thanks!
- If you're afraid of rejection (aren't we all!) then one rule of thumb is to look out for somebody with a friendly face and ask them for the time (unless you have a watch!). Most - if not all - of the time, the person would be happy to oblige. From then you you can introduce yourself and start a conversation. And if a conversation isn't initiated, then at least you would have obtained some important info (like the time!) without having your spirit crushed too much.
- To remember their name (among other things) when you leave them, say goodbye attached to their name (for example, "Goodbye Jane"). If you get it wrong, then they can correct you and you can remember the correct name. Then, if you would like to get to know the person more (and have the memory of an ant!) then grab a paper and pen and write down the facts about them that you would like to bring up with them next time. Writing things down is good for future reference.
- Laugh, smile and tell jokes! If you don't know any jokes, find some! Just Google "jokes" and take a few with you (in your head). Use some to make you laugh or smile and try to see the humorous side of everything. Smiling is actually beneficial for physical as well as mental and emotional health. It helps you to be happy, and can make you look friendly and hence look more open to making friends with people. People are attracted to happy, smiling people, so go ahead and flash them!
- When you're embarrassed (like you've entered the wrong room, or you fell over), be the first to laugh at yourself (and apologize). This signals to people watching (who may already be laughing as well) that you are easygoing and fun and may relieve some of the embarrassment. And at least the onlookers will be laughing with you rather than at you.
- Good conversation starter questions include: "What are your hobbies?" What music/movies/TV shows are you into?" "Do you work? What work do you do?" (hopefully you can find something in common that you like and you can easily gabble on about this particular subject which you both seem to be experts on!)"
- Try to enhance points of common interests and concerns.It is usually possible by doing this to develop and strengthen lifelong and most satisfying friendship.
- As is common, you might find yourself "tongue-tied". But don't fret, because this gives you a golden opportunity to focus on something: THEM! It is always a good idea to get people to talk about themselves, both to know them better and for the simple fact that people enjoy talking about themselves.
- Write down a list of your excellent unique qualities and skills and carry this list around you when you feel your confidence drooping. Or, better still, make a list of all the things you can do, plus the things you're grateful for, in the morning before you tackle the day.
- Don't be rude.As hard as it is, try not to interrupt when they're talking. Especially with a new friend, this signals that you aren't really interested in what they have to say and they’ll feel that you aren't a good friend.
- Don't criticize or judge.Nobody likes to be put down (especially the first time they meet somebody)!
- Don't brag.Nobody likes to listen to someone's account of their inflated bank account or their island home in the Bahamas! You can bring these up periodically, but initially, flaunting your blessings will seem like bragging and the other person will have second thoughts about talking with you next time. (Worst-case scenario: They could become jealous and you may have just lost a potentially great friendship!)
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