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11 – Gain Friends and Understanding

by Jill

Do things for people, not because of who they are, or what they do in return, but because of who you are. -Harold Kushner.

How To Win Friends and Influence People

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the podcast. Dale Carnegie wrote the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1936. Over 30 million copies of this book have been sold and it’s one of the best selling books of all time. The thing that you get out of this book is it’s not a tactic. It’s not a ploy, It’s not a way for you to get ahead. It is a way to influence people by showing them what they want. And the other part of it is really seeing things from other people’s points of view. I think anytime you read a psychology book, there’s this thought that you could use this information for manipulation, or to get people to do the things you want them to do. But this book is not about that. This book is about genuine kindness, genuine listening, I think more than ever, this is the book we need today. The book itself declares a few things. First of all, a lot of people use this book for sales, because trying to get into other person’s point of view. But let’s discard all of that for now. And let’s talk about the other pieces of it, about gaining new ideas from listening to people and seeing things from their point of view and being able to make friends. But it’s more than that. It’s really trying to avoid arguments and really get your messages across by helping other people get their messages across. And again, this is meant to be genuine.

Woman in Black and White Floral Sleeveless Shirt Sitting on Brown Wooden Chair

So the first thing that the book really talks about, don’t criticize other people, or condemn them or complain about them. People, first of all really don’t like that. It makes them more entrenched. And that theory of psychology has come through and research all the way till now. That as soon as you point fingers at them, and use them and yell at them, they become ground in to their positions. And it doesn’t really help you win. It doesn’t really get what you’re going for. Maybe you’re trying to teach someone something, you’re not. Maybe you’re trying to point out their mistakes, you’re not. You’re not gaining any of the things that you think you’re gaining by finger pointing.

The second part of it is, and this is the really important piece of it, is to share sincere appreciation of them. If you cannot find something honestly great about them, then you’re not looking hard enough. You’re not trying to see really the strength and the meaning behind what they do. This is where you really have to find that thing that they’re amazing at. Everybody. Everybody on this planet is amazing at something, even if you’re mad at them, even if you’re at odds with them, they are great at something. And there’s a reason why they see things differently than you do. And it may just be that personal perspective that they have. And so in order to get that we have to almost take a step back in our own personal viewpoint, and really try to learn, first of all, what their desires are. What they’re eager for. What they want. And then try to find out how their desires meet your desires. We are so used to fighting each other. What if we started figuring out the things that we actually pretty much agree on, and start working together to build those things that you agree on first.

The next phase is the book is trying to talk about how do you get people to like you, and it’s hard to really gain genuine friendships. When you see statistics right now, you see a lot of things about loneliness. You see a lot of things about people feeling isolated. In fact, I think England hired a cabinet level position on loneliness. So what can we do to get people to like us. To get people involved in our lives. And so the first step is actually become genuinely interested in other people. This really works when it comes to lasting friendship. People are amazing. If you just give them the opportunity to show you how amazing they are. Again, even if you disagree with them. When you read these books that are out there about history or fictionalized novels, the thing that you don’t realize is that person sitting next to you in the airplane, or that parent you have that you keep butting heads with. They’re amazing people. And all it takes is to become so interested in them, that you hear their stories and that you see what they want. This really builds bridges.

And the next step is is easy too. All of these steps are actually Easy, but the next one is to just smile at them. It is so funny how a smile will just break down a million barriers. I mean, you even see it if you’re in line at a store, and there’s a baby in a cart sitting in front of you. You smile at the baby, the baby smiles back at you. It is so humanly universal, that a smile can do more to break down barriers than anything else. When I was traveling in India, there was a table of Buddhist monks that were sitting next to us. And I came up to them and I offered to take their picture. You know, they were sitting there at the table and chatting and I thought maybe they’d like a picture of themselves. We did not speak any common language. I smiled at them, I pointed out my camera to take a picture. And they all smiled back at me. And even though there were no words shared between us, for a moment, we had a great connection. Smiles break down so many barriers, even if you’re really mad at that person. And then the other really important thing, and I will be honest with you, I am not very good at this thing, but I try is to just remember their names. At my work. We have a conference every year. And when you walk around and talk to people, when you remember their names. They’re amazed. Sometimes you come up to someone and you say, ‘Hi, Bob, how you been doing? How’s it been going?’ And they are so stunned. They said, Oh, you know, I met you at the last conference, I didn’t think you would remember who I was. Of course, I remember you, Bob, I remember that you love your dog, and that you and your dog love to go on long walks together. And so just remembering their name, even a key fact about them amazes people, and it just makes them feel remembered and valued by you. It is just one of those important things.

Two Women Sitting on Ground Near Bonfire

The next step is is just being a good listener and encouraging people to talk about themselves. The funny thing about it is, the thing that almost everybody loves to talk about is themselves. And so if you can get them to talk about themselves and their lives. It’s a little touchy in this time period because sometimes questions can feel invasive to some people. You’ll go through certain training classes and they’ll say, Oh, well, don’t ask people where they’re from, or don’t ask people about this or that, because they’ll feel threatened. Try to ask questions that are in an open-ended way that help them encourage them to speak. ‘Wow, you seem like a really interesting person, tell me a little bit about yourself.’ And they will talk about the thing that they want to talk about. If they want to talk about where they’re from, they will. If they want to talk about the book they wrote when they were in third grade, they’ll tell you all about it. And that just make something so amazing. You never quite understand the story you get when you’re talking to someone. I remember talking to this one fellow and he was talking about the time that he was part of the American troops that went into one of the concentration camps. And he met this amazing person who he rescued. And he sat and told me all about that. If you didn’t break down those barriers, and ask those good questions and be a good listener, you will miss so many amazing things about people. Then once you’ve asked them some questions, talk to them in terms that are common to you. If a person says, ‘Well, I’m very interested in this’ when maybe you don’t have an interest in that kind of thing. But there’s something about it that’s interesting. For example, maybe someone loves to travel and maybe you think I don’t like traveling. So this is really a conversation that’s going nowhere. And you ask him, ‘Why do you like traveling so much?’, ‘Oh, I love trying all the different foods all over the world.’ And it’s so happens you love restaurants, and you love trying different foods. Now you have something that connects. And that just gives so much value to that relationship, even if it’s very short term that you can bring together. And not only that, you always want to make people feel valued.

So then the next step talks about how do you win people over in your way of thinking, and again, not to be manipulative. And the best thing that you can first do is don’t get in an argument. Arguments never work. Everyone feels terrible. They’re more mad at your opinion than they ever were before you started. Also show respect for the other person’s viewpoint. If you say, well, ‘you’re just wrong’, or ‘that’s really stupid.’, ‘I can’t believe you believe a thing like that.’ Oh my gosh! Nobody wants to be embarrassed like that. No one wants to be shut down like that. And so you can see that just not being blunt like that. Not saying you can’t be honest about certain things. But being blunt and cruel is not how you go about this.

And the third step they talk about is if you’re wrong. You’re talking about something and you bring up a point. And you find out later that turned out not to be true, it’s very important that you admit it, and apologize for it. It’s one of those funny things that you will lose trust with people about everything you say. If you say something that’s untrue, you never go back in and fix it, they find out it’s not true, then they will assume all the rest of the things you’re saying are also not true. And that is just harmful to any opinion, you’re trying to get out there.

Brown Scable Tiles

You should always start in a very friendly way. Talk to people in a kind way. Honestly, we can attract more bees with honey, right? People don’t want to be attacked again. And they don’t want to be upset like that. So again, begin in a very friendly way, and then start with questions that people can agree with. So if you’re talking with someone you have big agreements with, try to find those points where you still agree. Will you agree that this is true, right? Yeah. Well, you also agree with this is true as well, right? Oh, yeah, absolutely. And you keep going. And so you might find that the people you think disagree with you actually agree with you, on a lot of points, a lot of different issues. And that may be the part where you disagree is very minimal, and way down there.

Woman Wearing Teal Dress Sitting on Chair Talking to Man

And then the last step is, is honestly let the other person do more talking. Having that person talk about themselves is the best way to really learn more about them, to get agreement with them, and to start changing opinions. That your viewpoint is coming to them, actually, from their viewpoint. Because you’ve agreed on so many things, you’ve come to so many conclusions. And so maybe they start agreeing with the thing that you wanted to talk about, just because they realize how much you actually have together. And then when you’re sympathetic to that other person’s ideas, it really helps them in so many ways, it helps them appreciate us, because people like human connections. And so that’s what’s really important. And at the very end, spell out your big vision. Don’t talk talking points. Don’t talk, argumentative points and don’t read from some lists that you found on a website for the 37 reasons why this person’s wrong. But instead talk about what your opinions are from the heart and throw down a challenge. Is there a way we can agree on this? You know, I know that you believe this a little bit differently than I do. And I believe it a little bit differently than you do. But are there places where we can come together? And that really is, you know, the heart of what he’s getting at.

There’s a very famous quote, and it’s sometimes mistakenly attributed to Maya Angelou, even though it sounds like something she would say. But it was actually Carl Buehner, who was someone who was a high level person in the Mormon Church in the 70s. And he said, “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” And that is the whole point of this book wrapped up together. This genuine, making other people feel good, and building that bridge to them so we can build more bridges with them. The other way that it really helps you to build this bridge, when you bring up fights and you start finger pointing, is when you start finger pointing someone and you say, ‘Well, I have these facts here, here, here and here.’ What you’re really saying is, ‘I’m smarter than you and you’re dumb.’ No one is going to listen to anything you have to say when you say something like that. And not only that, it may not be true, it may be that your experiences are different than theirs. But they’re not dumb. You’re not smarter. We all have something to offer in the conversation. The truth is, we are all flawed people. We all make mistakes. We all have strengths. There’s some things we see very clearly, there’s some things that are hard for us to see. There is no overarching person who is fantastic at every type of thing that there is. So again, take people at their value. This person might be very studied in a particular area, and maybe you’re studied in a different area. Why not bring that genius together? Instead of trying to take your genius and beat them over the head with it. Nobody likes that.

The interesting thing that came up about this book and why I decided to do a podcast about it is my friend Angela. and I were talking. She was saying that she read this book, and her initial reaction was it made her mad. And that was a key to her that it hit some nerve with her that she needed to read it again. This is that kind of book that holds a mirror up to us and tries to teach us to be better people, more genuinely kind people and more understanding. And so I really thank Angela for this amazing perspective.


1. Don’t criticize people, or condemn or complain, point fingers, argue with people at all. But instead, ask great questions. Try to see things from their point of view.

2.  Learn a little bit about them. Find out their name. Find out something that’s very important to them. Most importantly of all, smile at them. That will help build bridges more than anything else.

3. Learn enough about that person, so that you understand what they want, and what they’re thinking and what their aspirations are. Then find ways for the two of you to get two yes. Where can you agree? Where can you come to terms with each other’s points of view so that you’re always working towards the Yes? And then from that point, what actions can you take on the yes? Let’s not worry about the no. Let’s worry about the yes. How we can move on from there

4. Learn things to admire about the other person and show respect for them. Find out things that they’re good at, and give them honest compliments. Things that really ring true. Don’t make it fluffy. Don’t make up things about them. But tell them things that are honestly amazing about them.


Try to think of one other person who is challenging in your life that maybe you don’t have the best of relationships with right now. And what things can you do to understand them more? What questions can you ask them that would help break down some barriers and help you get to yes in your relationships instead of arguments and fights?

And here’s our fun quote of the day from Finding Nemo. Remember this whenever you’re struggling.

When life get you down, you know what you got to do?Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we swim, swim?”

That was funny and you’re right, keep swimming. Always keep swimming. As soon as you stop swimming, you’re stopped.

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