Monday, February 13, 2012
On Being Well Liked
One thing we all need, not just TBI survivors, but everyone, is for people to like us. How come some people have lots of friends and others don’t. I will tell you what works for me. Many people will say, “Well of course you have lots of friends Mike, you’re so good looking and funny and smart, but what about everyone else?” Actually, I’m joking, nobody says that about me. So just why do I have so many friends?
I have many friends because I like people. I’m not shy about it either. When I meet someone I am genuinely pleased to have made his or her acquaintance. When somebody I know walks in the room I am glad to see them, as if I was alone in the room until they showed up.
In conversation, I try to talk about something I know they are interested in. If I don’t know what they are interested in I will try to notice what they are wearing and tell them I like it.
The single most likeable thing about someone is how much he or she likes you. The important thing to note about that is that it gives you a lot of control over how others feel about you. The trick is to give others the benefit of the doubt. Assume that you have met your new best friend when you are introduced to someone. If you find out otherwise later you can just move on, no harm done.
One piece of advice, avoid talking about yourself. Unless you are asked a question, talk about them. If you don’t know enough to talk about them then ask about them. If they ask about you, be polite and answer briefly. Save full disclosures for another time. If you want people to see past your brain injury, then you have to see past your brain injury. Here’s an example:
Them: So you have a brain injury?
Them: So how did it happen, if you don’t mind me asking?
You: No, I don’t mind. I was in a motor vehicle accident.
Them: Are you all better now.
You: Actually, I still have quite a few problems.
Them: I bet its tough. I have a brother-in-law who fell off a platform at work…
You: How is he doing?
It’s usually the case that someone knows someone with a brain injury. Show concern for THAT person, are they getting the help they need, have they contacted the Brain Injury Association? When people ask about your injury they are usually just being polite, be polite and respond briefly. When you ask about someone they mention, you are just being polite, after all. This is how civil society works.
Good friendships with quality people take time and constant effort. If you wish to attract and keep quality people then you have to work at being a quality person yourself.