|Two of the friendliest gals I’ve ever met – Rachelle and Carrie
So that gets me to thinking about how to be the kind of person with whom others want to be friends. You know Jesus was a winsome guy. I love that word, winsome. We don’t use it very often. I guess it just sounds a little old-fashioned. But to be winsome simply means that you have the ability to very naturally and easily win some friends!
- Smile. With your eyes, too. Work on having the kind of smile that starts in your belly and works it way up to your mouth and shines out your eyes and eventually breaks out into at least a friendly chuckle. Some people really need to just stop right here and go work on this one for a while.
- Ask questions. Not the nosy or bothersome kind, but the genuine and non-threatening curiosity type.
- Listen. With your eyes and your ears and your heart and your sweet little nodding head.
- Follow up. I’m amazed at how many people are amazed when you come back around and ask about their dog that was sick or their flowers they planted Thursday or their trip to Niagara Falls. People like to know you remembered.
- Give a little. You don’t have to give gifts you bought at the store, but think of how many ways you can give something, say, to a new acquaintance at church. Offer to refill their coffee, help them take their children to the nursery, have them over for dinner, let them share your Bible if they forgot to bring one, or just give them your card with an invitation to call you if they ever need anything.
- Suggest a future. I love it when a new acquaintance makes me feel like they see a future with me in it, when they say something like, “Next week you should sit with me,” or “Some time soon we’ll have to go to lunch and talk about our college kids.”
- Show some enthusiasm. I know not everyone is naturally enthusiastic. There are some personality types who look the same whether their pie won first place at the State Fair or their dog died. But, come on. If you want that new friend to become a good friend, you’re going to have to look like you truly enjoyed meeting them.
- Steer clear of controversy. I’m not suggesting you keep your relationships shallow and never progress to the point where you get down to the serious stuff in life. But there’s a time and place for everything. It’s a real turn-off to me when a new acquaintance wants to battle me on a controversial subject right out of the gate.
- Hold your tongue. Boy, I can really monopolize a discussion if I’m not careful. I like to talk. But I’ve learned that if I want to have friends I better learn to keep my mouth shut a fair amount of the time and let someone else fill the vacuum every now and then.
- Do it again. Building relationships takes time and consistency. I met a neat woman at a baby shower one time that I had a lot in common with. I thought we could be good friends and I should definitely follow up with her. But I never did. Four years later our paths crossed again and I didn’t make the same mistake twice. We’re Facebook friends now and I plan to invite her to lunch in the fall. Friendly people pursue friends, I’m learning.
Well, those are my tips. Do you have any to add? What do you think makes a person likeable, winsome?