Pay Attention: It’s Like Gold

Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention.
– Jim Rohn, motivational speaker, philosopher and entrepreneur

The fastest way to make people like you is to give them the gift of your attention. That’s attention without distraction, without doing something else at the same time.

Listen to what they have to say and look them in the face while they are speaking. Don’t stare because that indicates you have become distracted by something other than the words being spoken. Such as a pimple, a scratch, the colour of the other person’s eyes or something that doesn’t belong on his or her face. Staring is bad because it achieves the opposite effect to making them like you.

You don’t have to look the person directly in the face, at the same spot–such as the eyes, or one eye–for long. A sentence or two should be enough. Then look somewhere else nearby, briefly, to give the impression that you are thinking about what the person said.

Then look back at the face.

In order to give the impression that you are paying attention, you have to actually pay attention. You must pay attention because you will need to add a comment, ask a question or suggest something that indicates you are considering what has been said. Since you won’t care about making someone you dislike or have little respect for like you, you needn’t fear that you will give the wrong person the wrong impression.

People like when others pay attention to them. We live in a busy world where seldom enough does it happen.

What happens when you pay close attention to what someone is saying–someone physically close enough to you so that he or she knows you are paying close attention–is that the self esteem of the person rises. Even a self confident person feels gratification when someone unexpectedly pays attention to them.

People like others who raise their self esteem. That can be your opening for friendship.

It’s also worth remembering that allowing yourself to be distracted while someone is speaking, especially paying attention to someone who has interrupted your conversation, is a great turn-off. Self esteem plummets when in the middle of speaking someone who has been listening suddenly turns away to give attention to an interloper. You might as well say to that person’s face “I don’t like you and I don’t respect you.”

Giving your attention to someone is relatively easy. You can repeat it for those you see regularly, if you want to ramp up your relationships with them. For those you will never see again, you will have been a bright spot in their day. They will remember you the next time they see you, if you cross paths again.

When you end each conversation, be sure to smile. Leave the person on a high note, a smile and some sort of wish for their welfare.

If it works into the event, touch the person briefly on the arm as you say goodbye. Touch is another indicator of liking and of wanting to enhance the relationship.

Next time you see that person, offer something from the previous conversation to indicate you considered their words valuable enough to think about when you were apart. It need only be something brief, an enhancement of something the other person said. Then move on to another topic because neither of you will want to rehash the same conversation.

At some point, if you want to make that person a friend, you must offer something of value to him or her. If that offering relates somehow to spending of money, you are telling the person that your relationship is based on a kind of friendly business association. Such casual friendships evaporate when two people no longer see each other frequently.

Most new relationships that begin with people intending to find a mate fall apart because they are largely based on something relating to money, not on the value of the people to each other. For example, if a guy begins a relationship with a woman by buying a dinner and buying a movie, the woman will feel that her interest is being bought. If there is nothing more personal to the date–even if it includes sex–the relationship likely won’t go anywhere because it’s fundamentally a gigolo-prostitute association.

To make it a more meaningful relationship, you will need to offer something more valuable than money, your time. That may involve your skill, such as help to put up a chandelier and attach the wiring, or it may involve just your time and effort, such as helping the person accomplish something he or she is having difficulty with. Or help to do something the person wants company doing.

Making a new friend is not hard if you know the techniques. What is much harder is to be able to figure out whether the person is worthy of being your friend. And, more important to that person, whether you are worthy of being his or her friend. Remember, if you want the other person to want to be your friend, you must offer value to that person as well as that person must for you.

In any successful relationship, each person usually feels that they contribute more to its success than the other does. That’s natural because we can seldom know all of what the other friend does for us. It just seems unbalanced.

In a marriage, that apparent imbalance may seem as high as 80-20, with each person believing that they contribute 80 percent to the success of the relationship. That’s how much most of us miss of what our spouse does for us and to contribute to our security, our welfare and our comfort.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for parents, grandparents and teachers about what they need to know regarding child development, how important each kind of development is and when to tweak each. It’s the handbook everyone needs.
Learn more at http://billallin.com

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