A couple months ago my husband took our car to the shop and was completely caught off guard by the mechanic’s poor attitude. This guy was really rude, irritable, and obviously hated his life.
After a few interactions with the mechanic and a final conversation once our car was fixed, my husband learned some pretty interesting info about him.
Apparently the shop was one of three co-owned and managed by the mechanic and his family. He was the youngest brother, worked at the shop years before, but walked away to follow this dreams of being an artist and traveling. Things must not have worked out because when his brothers called a couple years later, asking him to return and run the newest shop, he reluctantly agreed.
No wonder the guy hated his life. How many of us can relate to his story? Feeling a calling and passion to live life one way, but having to settle for something completely different? For me, his story doesn’t excuse his bad customer service, but man… I totally sympathize with his misery.
So while the mechanic was rude, grumpy, and miserable, my husband continued to be his respectful and friendly self… unknowingly following the principles in How to Win Friends and Influence People. As a result, the mechanic ended up becoming open, semi-friendly, and semi-personable. At the end of their last conversation the mechanic even joked that he should have paid my husband for the therapy session.
In my last post I talked about the principles in Part 2 – Six Ways to Make People Like You. This week I’ve been following three very simple tips to win people over: smile, call the person by name, and encourage them to talk about themselves.
Smiling was definitely my favorite principle. I could clearly see the physical change in demeanor of the folks I greeted with a warm smile. My friendliness was contagious and I received a lot of genuine smiles and friendliness in return.
My challenge to encourage people to talk, however, was more difficult than I anticipated for two reasons. One, because I’m also narcissistic and can’t help talking about myself! And two, because I’m an ambivert. I enjoy socializing with people, but only to an extent. It’s mentally and emotionally draining to keep a good conversation going.
So at times it was difficult to keep people talking about themselves without my social battery dying or interjecting with my own experiences. I didn’t do a perfect job of this, but I did learn some really awesome things about some of the people in my life, and created deeper connections with a few others.
Finally, I don’t know if it’s because of this challenge, but the people in my life have been incredibly sweet, complimentary, and encouraging. Some friends and family have called me an inspiration, my husband has been thankful and appreciative, and my girls have been super loving. My youngest keeps telling me that she likes me (LOL), my middle tells me I’m her favorite mom (haha), and my oldest wrote a free-write about me at school, calling me a superhero and saying she wants to grow up to be just like me!
The hippy in me has always believed that positivity begets positivity. That when you put light and love out in the world, it comes back to you ten-fold. So the principles of How to Win Friends and Influence People aren’t new to me. But being as intentional as possible about following them, especially when I’m not in the mood to, has resulted in an above-average return on grace and love.
My challenge to you this week is to smile. At home, at work, at the grocery store… everyone you come in contact with, try to greet them with a warm and friendly smile. I think you’ll be surprised by the amount of warmth and friendliness you’ll receive in return.
Wish me luck this week as I embark on challenging myself to the principles of Part 3 – How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking. I’m looking forward to sharing my notes, reflections and experiences with you next week!