Saturday, July 19, 2014

How To Be Liked

Do you want --to be liked?Silly question actually--who does not?Here I am not talking of the 'likes' which we all dole out in profusion on facebook. No,I am talking of that (almost) universal desire to be liked,cherished and valued for who we are.Is it asking for too much?Sometimes it is.In fact it is difficult to say how many like us,how many don't,how many are indifferent and how many positively abhor us.

There was a time when I used to believe that my behavior did not rankle anyone, but to my dismay I was proved wrong.The fallout has been so gross that I can no longer close my eyes and live in a fool's paradise.One benefit of entering the golden years is that you awaken to many harsh realities.Let me share some with you:--

I remember the day my son landed a plum job.As soon as I met my friends I told them about it and they were very happy for me.After a couple of days I again met them at a kitty party and naturally this topic was uppermost in my mind.I told them how my brilliant had surpassed his whole class to get this job.They responded with watery smiles.Just as I was about to tell them the perks he would be enjoying I saw them getting restless and stifling yawns.Oh well!

Lesson no. one:--It is not good manners to boast about personal glories.

Cut to another day.We were at a party and the talk veered to depression.Here was my chance to showcase my grip on the subject.So I began to rattle off on the causes and cures of depression.When an ill informed person interjected with his own views I smiled benevolently and carried on.Naturally this ate up a good chunk of the evening, but it pained me to see that the audience was hardly paying any attention to my valuable insights.Now,by virtue of hindsight,I realize that my dissertation on depression had in fact been depressing them.

Lesson no.two:--Never monopolize the conversation or try to show off your 'gyan'.

This episode demoralized me to such an extent that I stopped taking part in conversations.But how could  I keep quiet when a friend was facing a solid problem?She obviously needed guidance.I told what she should do in order to get rid of the pest in her life.Since she did not look convinced I had to be more persuasive.Do you think she was grateful?Nah--she positively looked peeved,as did the rest of them.Some even nudged one another as if to say 'see,she has started off again'.

Lesson no. three:--Never give unasked advice.

Now I was losing friends at jet speed.Something had to be done.I had read somewhere that the best way to make friends was to take interest in them.This was one tactic which was guaranteed to succeed.I began to put this dictum into practice.So I asked this lady whom I met at a party what she did for a living.The next logical question was how much she was paid but she hesitated to give me an answer.I changed the track by asking her where she lived and whether it was her own house or rented accommodation.I wanted to ask her how much rent she was paying for her house but to my surprise she buzzed off with an ugly grimace.Now where did I go wrong this time?I was only trying to take interest in her.

Lesson no.four:--Never probe into others' affairs.A thick line demarcates taking interest from prying.

I was really desperate now to hold on to the few friends I had.I had observed that friends rally round a person who is upset.At our next get-together I told my friends how miserable I was because of my tooth ache.I had hit the jackpot this time.There was mild tut-tutting all round.This behavior of my friends needed to be strengthened till they were overflowing with the milk of human kindness.Therefore I began to tell them about my arthritis and thyroid.Surprisingly nobody seemed to be interested in my litany of
woes,my luck had run out.They began to get ready to leave.I was left all alone at a deserted pitch :( 

Lesson no. five:--Sob stories can't win friends.

As a last ditch attempt I put in gigantic efforts to refine my behavior.This time when I walked into my kitty party I floored all of them with a bright smile (practiced beforehand ),and a cheery hello!Got many smiles in return and I too gave them reasons to smile, like---Oh,darling,how nice to see you.You are looking gorgeous.Dear so and so,I was missing you terribly.Hey,what a lovely dress you are wearing.Your story in the magazine was excellent,it brought tears to my eyes,etc etc.But what was this?The atmosphere around me had again returned to freezing point.

Lesson no. 6:--Artificial bonhomie is not appreciated.

Is there no end to human endurance?Shh,mine,not theirs.I think some people are impossible.ME?No no,my bunch of so called friends.But now that this thought has crossed my mind let me think.Could the fault lie in me?Is it I who am impossible?Disturbing question-this.

But it is also true that they are all happy being together while it is I who feel shunned.So what should I do?Another attempt at self improvement?But see what I have just done--I had recently concluded that nobody likes sob stories,and here I have saddled you all with mine.Will I never improve?????

32 comments :

  1. "Sob stories can't win friends"..Perfect..Lovely write up Indu :)

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    1. And thank you for this lovely comment.
      Have a nice day,Love.

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  2. Lovely write up..I think anything in excess is not good.. We have to maintain a delicate border in social circle. .frankly not my cup of tea!! I prefer to hang out with straight forward people who give honest opinion. .can't tolerate hypocrisy. .though sometimes it makes you feel good. ..

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    1. Yes Lavina,like you i too detest hypocrisy.A small circle of genuine friends is all one needs though as you say,in social circles some compromises become essential.

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  3. wow :) I ahve experienced 3 of them. Great advice Indu. :) Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you Saurabh-seeing you after a long time.Have a nice week end.

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  4. Story of my life :) NOW I find that there is ONE person who just loves my company - myself :)

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    1. Haha, we all know the story of your life fully by now,i think.
      And don't forget so many love your blog.

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  5. Great pointers, Indu. Loved the way you have written it in first person, though we know what a lovely person and friend you are. And now, waiting for the post on the perks of growing old :)

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    1. This is a real morale booster Zephyr-thanks.
      I had first written it in another way but it sounded very incriminatory--hence the change.
      And though you are not as old as you make yourself out to be,you will do a much much better job of it than i can;so go ahead please.
      Love n hugs.

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  6. well just be yourself .. and those who really like you will always like you when you are yourself :)

    I get it a lot because I say as i see .. If i dont like I say it so.. and sometimes people dont like being told the truth as truth hurts :)

    Bikram's

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    1. Very true Bikram-unpalatable truths are never liked-yet it is hard to be diplomatic all the time--ask me!

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  7. A lovely write up Indu. Being social is just not easy eh ? But you forgot one important thing - gossip ! That's what keeps these so called social gathering s alive. Start talking some juicy news about someone not in the crowd and whoa ! They will gather around you like bees around honey ! Thats what people come there for ! :)

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    1. Very true,gossip is a sure crowd puller and we love to hear it;but when it comes to talking unfavorably about someone who is not present i desist from doing it because i know the juicy bit is bound to reach the victim,and that too with many embellishments.
      Enjoy your Sunday jaishree :)

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  8. A very thoughtful post and yes those are some golden rules that we often forget!

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    1. Thanks Rahul for reading n commenting.

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  9. I would hate to boast about my son's achievements ,even though,I am very proud of him.
    But,then ,there are people who cover some of their inferiority complex by taking some silly subjects for discussion during drawing room discussion

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    1. Yes Chowla ji some people want to shine in reflected glory-it is very annoying.
      Even when somebody exaggerates his own achievements he does not realize that those who know him can see through it.I mean what you are,stands head and shoulders above you and refutes what you are saying.

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  10. I have come across each and every point of yours in many stages of life. Some for myself directly and some for others. People are interested in the superficial stuff than really looking deeper into things. Free advice, never. When you think the other person is going to listen and make use of it, do it otherwise, just shut your mouth. When some folks start to glorify their kids, I am tired, seriously. Don't know why. May be I am jealous? sigh!!!

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    1. Latha more than jealousy it is being saturated with the same kind of stuff--------no?
      Love n hugs

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  11. Great tips Indu...free advice, boasting and fake flattery lead no where. People can see through after sometime.

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  12. you forgot to write Lesson 7 Indu ji and that we have learnt well from you ----write all this kind of posts in first person ( modesty , empathy and the likes will automatially belong to you ) you may be finding my use of words a bit odd that is beause my key board refuses to type "see" as in the english equivalent of billi (the animal wih mews) thanks a lot for this one as for all your other posts
    love
    rajni

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    1. Your comments always generate a surge of joy Rajni--thank you for being you.

      I have been offline for many days-hence the delay in replying(i caught this infection from you) ;-)

      Love n blessings.

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  13. Very genuine points. I totally agree with the last one. But after a certain point is it wise to always pay attention to what others would like and how to please them, when we should be focusing on much better things?

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    1. Hi Ash-thanks for this.
      Actually the title is a misnomer-this post is more about the art of conversation.And you are so right when you say that pleasing others should not be the sole aim of our lifves.

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  14. Searingly honest. I guess you could try to screw your eyes and think about your favorite guest and what they do. Monopolise, entertain, be a wallflower, crack cute jokes, not be judgmental, be politically correct... endless list

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    1. Ah!Sweety,it is difficult to be the perfect guest,i shudder to think how others view me--seriously.

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  15. Lovely Induji.
    Agree with all your points. Thanks for sharing all the gyaan so candidly.
    I am learning & have learnt some on my own.
    I have also learnt- People 'show' that they 'like' you & then gossip about you when you are not around...
    The world is crazy & as Shakespeare said- a stage where all are actors.... Phew!

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    1. Very true,sincerity is on the wane.I am glad you liked the post.
      Lots of love.

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  16. I honestly laughed at your 'sob story'. I usually use a different approach when I want people to leave me alone. I ask them what is the response they seek from me and that gets them think for a minute and avoiding me for the rest of the life time :D.

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    1. Sriram i am happy i made you laugh.
      But what do you do when you want to attract friends?It shoul be a good lesson for the likes of me.

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Thanks for reading my post.I hope you liked it :).