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While we instinctively seek to be likable when around others, what’s more vital to connecting well is how they feel about themselves — not us — when together. Consequently it’s well worth focusing on boosting others’ sense of well-being when around us.

“A two-year-old falls down unexpectedly. He isn’t hurt but instinctively knows he wasn’t supposed to fall,” writes Bob Burg in his idea-packed book Adversaries Into Allies. “He looks at Mom and Dad for an interpretation of what happened. If they laugh as though it’s funny, he’ll probably laugh. If they panic and act upset, he will most likely begin to cry. In either case, Mom and Dad unintentionally set the frame that led to the outcome,” suggests Burg.

We make that framing choice, consciously or not, many times everyday in our interactions with others. For example, the owners of this business positively framed their request using unifying humor in the language on their outdoor sign. Each time you meet someone in person or online, consider that you may be the only angel in that person’s life right now. Set the situation for them to feel cared for, in that moment.

In every interaction remember that healthy, happy marriages, according to John Gottman, usually have a “magic” 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions — so why not attempt to exceed that standard in all your relationships? Practice affirming their positive side and letting negative comments or behaviors slide. Be their soft shoulder. A warm smile tends to beget a smile in return.

Brash Friendliness Pushes Us Back Yet Warm Geniality Pulls Us In
A warm smile tends to beget a smile in return. Yet an effusive, over-the-top laugh and wide grin, for example, may cause an introvert or someone who has just gone through a trying time to back into their shell. So bring out the friendly, expressive part of you that’s close to the energy level of the person you are with. Then you are more likely to close the gap of connection rather than widen it.

Be The Gift They Are Gratified to Receive
Some people just don’t act right, like you. That’s probably the biggest cause for friction. While it’s extremely difficult to change what others believe you can often avoid conflict, or turn around a fractious situation and sometimes even sway others if you are willing to “work within their belief system.” Burg cites The Sages of Talmud: “Say little, do much, and greet everyone with a pleasant countenance” then advises that, “instead of talking a good game, actually play a good game.”

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