interpersonal skills

It’s Okay if People Don’t Like You

I was driving the other day and an experience with a rude driver got me thinking about how you not only can’t please everyone, but you shouldn’t want to please everyone or even try to get everyone to like you. The bottom line is that while there are a lot of great people out there, there are also a lot of not so great people out there. In fact, there are quite a few people out there who are, to be blunt, just plain jerks.

Judging Others

Have you ever been in a situation where someone is unexpectedly rude to you? Of course you have. And you know that rotten feeling that you get when it happens. You did nothing to provoke it, so why you? Should you be rude back? Is it worth a conflict? Sometimes it’s tempting to lash out in return, but that’s not always a good idea.

A wise older friend once shared with me after such an incident that most of the time when someone blows up at you for seemingly no reason, it’s almost always someone else (including themselves) that they’re mad at. We all handle stress differently. While I do my best to never take out my anger on someone who isn’t responsible, I’d be lying to you if I said I’ve never done that. We all try our best, but sometimes the moment gets the best of us.

Should a Gentleman Hold the Door for a Lesbian?

I had my first experience in training in 1996 when I was an instructor at what’s now Bentley University while earning my Masters Degree. In the brief training I had before getting unleashed upon five groups of mostly first semester freshmen, something stuck out in my mind. The syllabus that I was to hand out to my students noted that the only dumb questions were the ones that were never asked. The point of it was that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask a question out of fear that you’ll look dumb. I get it – and even bought it, for a little bit. But then after fielding some of these questions, I realized that some questions were better off not being asked.

I was reminded of this recently when someone asked me the very question that is the title of this post. It was in response to my review of the book “How to Be a Gentleman.” At first, I thought it was a dumb question. Phrases like “being open minded” popped in my head and I decided to be open minded about the question and my answer. And guess what? It’s actually an interesting question that warrants a legitimate answer.

How to Be Liked

You’ve probably heard the infamous phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know” – the phrase is true to some extent. In the extreme case, you have the incompetent and under-qualified son or daughter that takes over the family business. More commonly, someone who is likable or able to communicate a connection between themselves and the decision maker is able to land jobs or clients despite competing with others who have stronger qualifications.

Finding a connection such as attending the same school, growing up in the same small town or having a similar hobby is an easy way to create instant rapport. Equally as helpful is having a personal connection such as a family relationship or mutual friend or associate. Sometimes, we don’t have these connections but there’s something else that can tip the odds in our favor: likability.

On Being Shy

I have a confession to make: I’ve spent the majority of my life being shy. When I was a kid having to meet new people – adults especially, but even kids – was a challenge for me. I grew out of it in high school and college but then when it was time for me to hit the workforce, it came back.

When Words Take on a Life of Their Own

Growing up, I had a bad habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Sometimes it was because I lacked tact and good judgment. Other times, I just used words that could be taken a multitude of ways depending on the listener’s perspective. While most of us outgrow the first scenario, the second one is little more difficult to avoid. In fact, I have a humorous story to share about me making this very mistake just a few years ago.

How Big is Yours?

Your following on social media that is. Is it big? Does size really matter? Whether you’re a professional speaker, writer, artist or business owner, social media can be an excellent tool for making new connections. But in order for it to be helpful, it needs to be used correctly.

The problem with social media is that it’s always evolving so many people misuse it. While hackers and spammers are the prime misusers of these services, a vast amount of people with good intentions struggle to make use of the medium. Many treat it like a mailing list – like it’s another method of one way communication. Some use it as a popularity contest – the person with the most connections wins. However, the point of social media (especially from a business standpoint) is to create and maintain relationships from the comfort of your keyboard.

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