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A small girl was brought to my office unexpectedly. I had not met her before, and she did not stay long with me. But her mother told me that the child repeatedly said how much she wants to come to me again.
At first I was somewhat puzzled that the child should have gained
such a good impression. She caught me in the middle of heavy day’s work. But
then I recalled how, when she arrived, I had promptly tried to forget my work
and to think of what might
interests her. I had asked her
about her school, about the Girl Guides, about her friends, her hobbies and
about her holidays.
That was the solution! The child liked her visit because I had taken an interest in her.
On another occasion not long ago, a lady arrived at my house with a magnificent bouquet of flowers. I was rather overcome. In expressing my
gratitude, I could not refrain from asking her what made her go to such expense.
“Because you have taken such interest
in me”, was her immediate reply.
These are two of many such
illustrations which could be given from my own and other people’s experiences.
They are sufficient to show what it is
that makes one admired and loved by
You could no doubt find a number of
similar instances from your own life. You may not have stopped to think why
certain of your friends have been particularly kind and generous to you.
But if you stopped to
diagnose the reason, in each case you would probably
find that it was because you had taken a sincere interest in the well – being of the person
Think, too, of the reverse side of
the picture. Think of the last time you spent an evening with some of your
friends. Think of the one whom you
admired most and to whom your affections
warmed most. You are almost
certain to find that it was the one who, by actions and words, showed an
interest in you, one who tried to help you where you most needed help at that
time, and one who talked to you about the things that interested you most.
Dale Carnegie, in his book “How to
Win Friends and Influence People” speaks of a small boy who greatly admired
a certain visitor. The reason was that the man had taken a great interests
in the boy’s toy boats. He spoke of him with enthusiasm. “What a man!” and “How
tremendously interested he was in boats!”. The lad did not realise that the
visitor was not any more interested in boats than anyone else, but he liked the
boy and so was sympathetic enough to
interest himself in what the boy treasured most.
From such instances, you can well see that the way to
be esteemed and wanted by others is to take an interest in them and in what is
of the greatest importance to them. This, of course, demands tact. It is vitally important to
avoid giving the impression of being too inquisitive.
Again, to talk to people about the
things that mean most to them merely as a technique for winning their regard
and affection without any genuine interest in them will show itself as
superficial and may well be resented rather than welcomed. There is only one
way to take an interest in others, a genuine
desire for the good of others and of a sincere wish to discover your
part in contribution to their good.
It is also important to
recognize that everyone has a problem of some kind or another with
which to deal, and that everyone with whom you associate fairly closely does
need your help in some form or another. People’s problems are rather
analagous to wounds; there are times
when it is good to uncover them, bathe them, and soothe them with ointment. But
there are times when it is best to leave them entirely alone and to divert the
person’s attention to other issues. It is in this readiness to stand by a friend
with patience and understanding, even
though no active or visible
help may be needed or the time,
that genuine interest lies.
If you observe a person’s actions and
study his favourite topics of
conversation, you will soon discern his goal. From that you will be able to
understand where his fears of failure and where his obstacles are most likely
to lie. Once you understand this you will be in a position to give just that
encouragement, sympathy, or help which may be needed.It may be just a kind
thought, a kind word, or a kind deed. It is
impossible to tell how great may be the good which results in another’s
life from a mere encouragement on your
Thus, if you express genuine
interests in others, you are bound to win their admiration and affection. The
reason is that by taking an interest in a person, you satisfy two of his
deepest human hungers – the hunger for
love and the hunger for a feeling of personal worth.
To satisfy these, even in a small
measure, is to make a rich contribution to a person’s life. In return, it is
almost certain that you will receive the warmest of responses.