For years, whenever I met new people, my aim was always to be open with them about my story so they could get to know me, which meant they were more likely to like me. After all, I figured most people could relate to some of the things I’ve been through, and in my mind, that relating would build a bond or a bridge between us. While this technique worked well sometimes, for the most part it didn’t produce the results I hoped for. Sure, people got to know a little more about me, but there was something missing that I just couldn’t put my finger on.
A while back, I learned a tiny little secret that completely revolutionized my relationships–especially those with new friends or acquaintances. What was that all-so-powerful secret? It was quite simply turning the tables and asking the other person to tell their story!
I will never forget the first time I put this secret power into action. I was having lunch with a potential new friend that I had only met in passing a few days earlier. As we sat down to eat, I began to ask her questions about herself. One question led to another, and before I realized it, our entire lunch time had been taken up by me expressing interest in her–in her life, and in her story.
A few weeks later, this woman’s closest friend came up to me and introduced herself saying this mutual friend had told her what an amazing person I am and she stated that she too wanted to get to know me!
As I thought about that second interaction, I realized that what the first woman saw as me being “an amazing person” was very simply me expressing interest in her.
One of Zig Ziglar’s most famous quotes is, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” So what do people want? They want the same thing I always wanted: people want to be known and liked and cared for. The interesting thing is, as I showed genuine interest in them, the door was open for them to also get to know me. The result has been a mutual sharing and caring relationship.
This simple encounter taught me the immense power of simply asking questions and listening closely to the answers. In doing so, the bond and the bridge was built, and a new friendship was able to grow.
1. Show genuine interest.
2. Ask thoughtful questions.
3. Listen closely to the answers.
Give it try and share your experience with us using the comments section below.
Here’s to living the life you’ve always wanted!
[Photo source: Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/pin/152137293632308148/]