Provision #267: Be Friendly

Laser Provision

Heeding the tips in this Provision will make you irresistibly attractive to the right people and opportunities. But you can boil them all down to one cardinal rule: be friendly. Don’t over do it. And don’t under do it. Just strike the perfect balance between what you’re working on and who you’re working with or around.

LifeTrek Provision

Last week, at the end of a Provision on adding value, I mentioned the concept of being twice as interested as you are interesting. That concept comes from the Coach U program for becoming Irresistibly Attractive. It’s one of 25 relating skills to master if you want to make yourself irresistible to the right people and opportunities. Although this may seem counterintuitive in certain situations, such as a job interview, it’s actually the best way to make a positive impression. When you let people know that you are genuinely interested in them, as people (not just in their assets, projects and ideas), they will warm up to and make things happen for you.

Here’s a few more of those 25 relating skills to master:

  • Don’t just listen to people. Really hear them. Make sure they have an experience of being “gotten.”
  • Communicate fully in the moment. Don’t hold back, wait until later, explain your feelings, or censure your thoughts.
  • See and want a lot for people, so they feel it, without your having to have it for them.
  • Don’t just tell people you care. Show it, every day, in the way they would want (not necessarily the way you would want).
  • Use the word “You” four times as often as you use the word “I,” in a way that people appreciate.
  • Be grateful to and for other people so that they receive it well • it’s neither too much nor too little.
  • Grant everyone you meet and have yet to meet a lifetime of forgiveness in advance.
  • Be with people.

Now I don’t know about you, but when I read this list I see a very simple way of summarizing the whole concept: be friendly. Perfect friendliness is the key not only to irresistible attraction but to success in every endeavor. It is the essence of networking. And never is perfect friendliness more important than when you find yourself going through, or on the back end of, a great transition. You will need the connections and community that friendliness engenders. Fortunately, it isn’t hard to learn.

That may be truer in some regions of the world than in others. I have lived at other times of my life in the southern region of the United States. I had almost forgotten the wonderful tradition of pedestrians waving at passing cars. Well that tradition, along with many other aspects of “southern hospitality,” is alive and well in Williamsburg, Virginia. People are so friendly here.

More than once I’ve asked directions, only to be escorted to my destination. Service workers are quick to bear greetings and go the extra mile. Associations go out of their way to make sure you feel included. The whole environment seems friendlier than the faster-paced, urban environments to which I have been accustomed. Yet the principle of perfect friendliness applies as well on Wall Street as it does on Main Street. There’s just no other way to attract the good things in life.

I keep putting “perfect” in front of “friendliness” to make a distinction between perfect friendliness and either too much or too little friendliness. Too little is not as obvious as it seems. The opposite of friendliness is not necessarily hostility. Even lovers, let alone friends, disagree and fight at times. As someone once said, “If you and I both agree on everything, then one of us isn’t necessary.”

The opposite of friendliness is more about indifference • failing to pay attention to anyone or anything other than yourself. One doesn’t have to be Ebenezer Scrooge in order to fall prey to this malady. It’s really very easy to do. You just get busy and focused on what you have going on, to the exclusion of others. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there at different points and times. Perfect friendliness represents the perfect balance between tunnel and peripheral vision. We maintain both a sharp focus and a broad awareness.

Too much friendliness is the overwhelming, smothering kind of friendliness that comes from trying too hard. Too hard to please, care for, and appreciate people. This kind of friendliness can be a form of co-dependence, as we enable people to maintain their unhealthy habits. It can also be a form of compensation, as we make up for our own inner insecurity (will they like me?) by outdoing ourselves in the friendship department. We become too outgoing, effusive, helpful, or giving. In other words, we need rather than enjoy the friendship.

Perfect friendship is neither about appearance nor need. It is a genuine, heartfelt, and much appreciated paying of attention. Wonder if you’re doing it right? Just ask your friends. They can tell you in an instant. Want to improve? Go through the checklist in this Provision, on your own or with a coach, in order to learn what you have to let go of.

That, in the end, is the problem behind every dysfunctional friendship. Someone is holding on to something that gets in the way of their being present to the person or situation. You can be distracted by thoughts, fears, deadlines, goals, and agendas. You can hear inner as well as outer voices that take you away from your own best intentions. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Be friendly. Be perfectly friendly. Strike the balance between what you’re working on and who you’re working with or around. It’s really not that hard to do, once you get the idea clearly in view.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.

Many times during transitions it appears to be a challenge to keep synchronized with the partner. As transitions involve many profound and fast-paced changes that are not always easily grasped by the partner, relationships can come under strain. Personally I draw the parallel with ice-skating: each partner being one leg • or skate for that matter • and the body the relationship. To get ahead you must move your skate one before the other. Yet, if you put one skate too far from the other, the body loses its equilibrium and falls. Similarly, if you keep the skates statically together no progress is made and the body loses its heat. The trick is to find the balance between moving forward and balance. Now that proves difficult in times of transition. I would be interested in how you would elaborate on the issue. (Ed. Note: Thanks for the comment. I will address this in a future Provision.)

I’m from Mexico and want to know how you handle coaching sessions for foreign countries? Do you have coaches in Mexico? I would like to try receiving and learn how to give coaching. (Ed. Note: We work on the telephone and over the Internet with many international clients — in English. Give us a call, if you’re interested, in the USA at 757-345-3452.)

Deepak Chopra, in his book Quantum Healing, argues against sunglasses that filter out all sunlight • as you recommended in Wellness Pathway #131. He even recommends a “treatment” in his processes of looking at the sun, eyes closed, for 60 seconds every day. These can all be found on his tapes of healing and in his books. I encourage your readers to look into this.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School
Immediate Past President, International Association of
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

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