Make Friends for Success

Interpersonal competence is one of the keys to personal and professional success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become interpersonally competent, you need to do three things.  1) Get to know yourself, use this knowledge to better understand others.  2) Build relationships with the people in your life.  3) Resolve conflict in a manner that enhances, not detracts, from your relationships.

Dan Robey is a friend.  He is also the author of a great book, The Power of Positive Habits.  I subscribe to Dan’s ezine.  On Wednesday, he sent out a killer article.  In this article, Dan really captures the essence of relationship building.  Dan is an abundance kind of guy.  He was more than happy to allow me to post his thoughts here.  Pay attention to what follows.  This is good stuff.

I have a saying that goes like this:  "There are over 6 Billion People on this planet and I can learn something new from EVERY ONE OF THE THEM."  It is a true statement, you can learn something new from everyone on the planet…but only if you put forth the effort.

I travel a lot, and I have made it a habit to try and get to know the people I come in contact with, if only for a few minutes.  Remember, these people are all perfect strangers to me.

Here are some examples.

I fly to Charlotte a lot to oversee construction of a home in the mountains. I take the same flight every time and rent a car from the same company.

When I get to the airport I check my bags with the same baggage clerks and ask them how they are doing. I look at their name tags and address them with their first name, "You guys look busy today John."  It is amazing how just mentioning their name can bring a smile.

"John, how long have you worked here…what is the funniest thing that ever happened to someone's luggage?"   You would be surprised at the incredible stories that people have about their jobs. These stories are seldom heard, you see most people are in a hurry and just want to check their bags and go.

You will hear them if you ask them to tell you their stories. Their eyes will light up as they tell them, and they will smile and so will you. Both of your days just got a little better.

I always leave a nice tip, most service people are underpaid and overworked.  When I get to Charlotte I take the same shuttle to Dollar rental car.  I hand the shuttle driver a $5 dollar bill as he helps me with my bag.  I notice that most people do not tip him at all.

I talk to the shuttle driver and find out that he is from Egypt, he works 7 days a week until he has enough money and vacation time to go back to Egypt and visit his family.  He has no days off, he has a very hard life.   Had I never taken the time to talk with him I would never have known about his life, I would have just handed him my bags and gotten on and off the bus quietly like all the other people.

But now, I know his name, and each time I see him working the shuttle bus route I always inquire as to when he will be heading back to Egypt for a visit…that makes him happy…a perfect stranger cares about his life.

When he drops me off at the rental counter I say hi to the agent of the day.  I call her by her first name because I have taken the time to learn their names and more about their lives. I ask her how she is doing.

Do you get where I am going with this?

I make it a habit to get to know perfect strangers, I always greet them with a smile and show sincere interest in "THEIR" life.  People love it when you inquire about their lives, it makes them happy.

Think about how many opportunities you have every day to make people happy, to ask strangers about their lives, their dreams. You will find that you will walk away feeling better about yourself for making them happier.

Zig Ziglar has a great saying that goes like this…"You can have everything you want in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want."

Henry Ford once said, "If there is one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view, and see things from that person's angle, as well as from your own."

That is a very powerful statement. Notice that he says this is one "secret to success." Try to make it a habit to listen to people very carefully and then put yourself in their shoes. Try to imagine how they feel, what their needs are, and then think of ways you can help them meet those needs. 

Make it a habit to greet people with a smile and show sincere interest in their lives, call them by their first names, get to know them, your life will be deeply enriched.

Oh by the way, I forgot to mention a few of the fringe benefits of this habit. I always get upgraded to the nicer rental car, I get the best service at the restaurants I go to, I am almost always met with a smile and a "Hi Dan how are you doing?"

You see, when you have friends all over the world, your friends feel good about taking care of you. This is just one of the fringe benefits you get when you are kind to complete strangers and have a sincere interest in their lives.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are interpersonally competent.  Interpersonally competent people are good at building relationships – not just with people who can help them, but with all of the people with whom they come into contact regularly.  Be like Dan Robey, befriend as many people as you can.  Take a few minutes to smile and engage others in conversation.  Show a genuine interest in them.  You’ll make their day, and you’ll be practicing the skills necessary to become interpersonally competent.  It’s a win-win.

That’s my take on Dan Robey’s thoughts on relationship building.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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  1. When I was growing up, I marveled at the number of people my father knew. He said “hello” to everyone, and seemed to find friends everywhere he went. The more I think about it now, it is apparent that Dad was the kind of person who unconsciously considered everyone a friend.
    Now, my daughter remarks, to me, that I, too, seem to know people everywhere we go. I am friendly to everyone, and therefore they seem, to her, like friends.
    Aside from “making friends for success,” this makes for an optimistic, pleasant life.

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