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How to Win Friends

How to win friends

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the secret to winning friends.

First a quick update:

Not everyone received yesterday’s email alerting you that I have only 3 spaces left and I am going to make it easier for you to be one of the select few to get one of those last 3 places …for my “Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique” training and certification program. A couple of people asked if we could help out with a payment plan and we have done that. Hurry now to get hold of the secrets to my unique therapeutic technique to get faster results for your clients, while making more per session, and in half the time:  You can get the video again here, or once the video has begun to play, skip it by pressing the “Sign Up Now” button.

Now, let’s talk about how to win friends.

This week, I presented a training program/workshop for Equinox fitness in New York City on “The Psychology of Persuasion and Communication.” One of the key points I made is that it is critical to understand the difference between needs and desires.

Most people confuse desires for needs.

We need food, water, shelter and physical love to survive. And yes, we do have some basic emotional needs for happiness and fulfillment but we can still survive without these (see my newsletter “Getting your six human emotional needs” ) but most of what we call needs are actually desires. We want and seek love, approval, acceptance, recognition, praise, encouragement, a sense of belonging, attention, validation, significance, friendship, companionship, etc.

As modern life continues to become faster, our interactions with people become briefer, less personal and less meaningful. Facebook and other social media give us the opportunity to meet and connect with new people and old friends. But what it also does is create an artificial connection – a quick exchange of simplistic information – we know what our friend is doing in the moment but we don’t have a real conversation where we listen and ask questions and rarely are we in front of the other person, in their presence. A key reason that most people create a facebook account and post photos, messages and details about their activities and lives is the hope to get attention, be noticed and feel significant.

Our attempt to make our lives easier and more comfortable has only served to make it more complicated and stressful as we try to keep up with and return calls, text messages, facebook messages, and emails. The result is a barrage of distractions, consuming our time, and robbing us of quality time for our friends and family. A common complaint I here from clients is the desire for someone to express a sincere interest in them and their lives.

When you express a sincere interest in another person, you are also telling them that they are significant. And feeling significant raises one’s self-esteem.

Sonya grew up in a family where her parents were both working and when they were home, they were often arguing. Sonya said her parents barely noticed her and didn’t take the time to sit down and ask her about school, her friends or her interests. Sonya felt and concluded that she was invisible, insignificant and, that no one cared about her or was interested in her. In turn, Sonya grew up doing whatever she could to get people to notice her and give her attention; she painted her body with tattoos, wore revealing clothes, slept around and even joined a gang in the hope that someone might view her as significant.

Thus, one of the key ways to win friends is to make them feel significant.

How can you let your partner, friend or someone you are meeting for the first time, know that he or she is significant?

Although it may seem blatantly obvious, it is something that is not always a common occurrence: the primary way to make someone feel significant is to express sincere interest in him or her. It is easy to get caught up in a conversation where we talk primarily about ourselves, almost becoming self-absorbed and self-consumed; it takes both a conscious effort and a sincere interest in people to ask questions and to listen and care about the responses.

We also falsely believe that if we boast enough about us and talk a lot about us, then the other person will be impressed by us. But the truth is that if we want to impress the other person, we need to be impressed by them. We need to show interest and make them feel significant.

This leads to the primary secret to all persuasion and another key way to win friends:

Understand the other person.

Another client, Jennifer, told me that her boyfriend simply doesn’t understand or know her; he doesn’t ask her how she feels or what she has done that day, and, he has no idea about her real interests, passions or things that truly awaken her soul. Jennifer feels like she and her boyfriend are simply companions.

A real connection, beyond knowing the schedule and whereabouts of our friends, is created by exchanging feelings, emotions, thoughts, goals, vulnerabilities, and dreams. Do you know the likes and dislikes of your friend or partner? Can you clearly define his or her passion?

While presenting training programs and workshops about persuasion and communication to various corporations around the country, I indentified that most people lack the basics of what is required in a business or personal setting to make a person feel significant and to understand them:

  1. Treat them as important – switch off all other possible distractions (computers, cell phones)
  2. Focus on the other person – give them all of your attention
  3. Ask questions (beyond yes or no answers); ask questions that are unique to them i.e. if you know that he or she plays golf on the weekends, you can ask about the golf game
  4. Listen attentively
  5. Make eye contact – look at the person instead of looking outside the window or at your computer or Blackberry
  6. Repeat words and phrases – when a person is speaking we can let them know that we are listening and understanding what they are saying by repeating to them some of their words and phrases
  7. Clarify the message – rather than judging what a person says, ask questions to seek clarity about what he or she is trying to tell you; ask questions about what they need or feel. This is part of Active Listening – Repeating (their exact words), Paraphrasing (using similar words) and Reflecting (using your own words)
  8. Mirror body language – when two people are truly connecting and getting along really well, you will notice that they are mirroring each other’s body language; you can jump start the connection by mirroring their posture
  9. Express sincere concern – even in a business setting, if someone tells you that something bad or eventful has happened, it is appropriate to express empathy or sympathy and offer to assist according to the situation; people will care more about your business and services when you show them that you care

The third key to winning friends is to gain their trust.

Trust occurs when a person feels safe and accepted to be themselves. To gain someone’s trust you need to:

  1. Allow him or her to express their feelings and emotions without taking advantage of them
  2. Keep private and secret the other person’s innermost feelings and thoughts
  3. Support, reinforce and praise his or her qualities
  4. Allow and accept his or her mistakes without abusing or judging that person
  5. Reassure him or her that your bond and relationship is secure
  6. Express mutual respect – be caring, considerate and thoughtful
  7. Let them know that you want the best for them; you want them to reach their potential and become fulfilled
  8. Reveal to them your vulnerabilities and show that you also trust them

When we set out to make a person feel significant, and when we understand them and gain their trust, we do more than win friends, we begin to create real friendships.

You can comment on this newsletter by visiting my blog or clicking on this article; and if you have received this newsletter as a forward and would like to receive all of my newsletters please enter your email address on the home page.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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