I’m a collector of books. I don’t know how many I’ve picked up over the years, but I have to keep adding shelves to my library. Many years ago, in 1951, I found a book that I still like to look over once in a while. It’s called, HOW TO LIVE WITH YOURSELF, by Doctor Murray Banks.
One of the most interesting parts of the book is a section devoted to why people like you or dislike you.
Doctor Banks gives some rules to follow if you want to make friends. Here are the rules:
1) Be reliable.
Reliability is top on the list of popularity builders. Last-minute cancellations violated promises, and bad excuses all go to increase the other person’s sense of insecurity. People tend not to like that.
2) Be a friend.
If you want friends, you’ve got to be one first. You’ve heard people say that they don’t have any friends. That’s a tip-off that they haven’t become one themselves. By giving others respect, loyalty, affection, and understanding, you’ll make friends.
Remember never to be too busy to keep your friendships alive.
3) Don’t show off your knowledge.
Without realizing it, whenever a person shows off his education, he suggests the inferiority of the other person. Showing off balances the scales in your favor, but by tipping them in support of the other person. Show the other person how intelligent and bright they are. Don’t show off your knowledge except to help them, and even then it should be done only as a suggestion.
4) Don’t be blunt in your criticism of others.
The Doctor tells about a friend of his who, when a friend mispronounces a word, will also mispronounce it, to keep from hurting his friend’s feelings. If you have to call attention to a friend’s mistake, do it with great care and tact.
5) Be tactful.
Tact is saying or doing the gracious thing under a particular set of circumstances. A good example is the story of the bellboy who accidentally walked into a bathroom while a lady was taking a bath. As soon as he saw that the room was occupied he said, “Oh, excuse me, Sir,” and closed the door. “When I said excuse me,” he explained later, “that was being polite. But when I said, ‘sir,’ that was tact.”
The world is full of rude, boorish, and inconsiderate people, but they don’t have a lot of friends.
6) Don’t distort the truth or exaggerate in your statements.
Stick as close to the truth as you can and play down your accomplishments instead of trying to amplify them. Your friends know what you’re doing, and they’ll like you better when you tell them the truth, always.
7) Don’t be sarcastic or make fun of others.
Some humor depends on the way it pokes at others. But when you joke at someone else’s expense, the crowd may laugh, but they don’t trust you or like you for it.
If you want to tell humorous stories and get people to like you, tell them at your own expense. The essence of diplomacy is never to injure another’s self-esteem or his feeling of importance. Here’s to making new friends!