Win friends with selflessness

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By Dr Margaret Mwenje

You might be one of the many people who find it hard to have meaningful relationships. You feel the world is mean to you and nobody really cares about you. This leaves you feeling upset, alone and unloved. These kind of feelings can affect your self-esteem. You keep wondering what in the world is wrong with people, but let us look at it closely and see whether there is something wrong with you.

First of all, do you wear a friendly face? Do you smile at people Do you have a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ face? Do have an expression that sends a clear message to the world to leave you alone, and when it does you start complaining? Maybe other people think you are not approachable or friendly.

I once had a boss who was not approachable at all. She wore a stony, long, face that scared everybody. She kept on harping about good relationships and teamwork as she tried to reach out to other people in vain. Try smiling at other people. Be pleasant and nice to those around you. You will be surprised to see how others respond to you. Practice makes perfect. One of my former teachers told me sometimes you have to fake it until it becomes real, but you will be happy with the results.

Try and make other people feel important and valued. Everybody wants to hear he is relevant, special and loved. Compliment other people for a job well done. When they work hard or try their best, let them know you appreciate them. Nobody likes being around a downer who is always pulling people down instead of building them up. Even in restaurant or at home, give a compliment to the cook for a delicious meal. Give a tip to a nice hard working waitress to show your appreciation. Focus on the positive, not just the negative qualities in those around you.

Be a good listener

Nobody likes talking to someone who is not paying attention to what he is saying or who keeps interrupting and won’t give him a chance to finish what he is saying. Don’t interrupt others as they talk; they, too, have some important points to make. Even the person you think is a fool has a story to tell. Give constructive feed back to other people — you will make them feel good about themselves and also want to be more around you.

A good listener gets quality relationships.

Make it a habit to be grateful

One time I told the garbage collector how I appreciate his hard work, and how his services make a positive impact in our lives. You should have seen his face lighting with joy. He told me I just made his day, because such a kind gesture is hard to come by. Gratitude costs you nothing but the results are incredible. Thank your parents-in-law for giving you a beautiful bride/handsome groom. Thank the tired, sleepy, watchman at the gate instead of passing him by like he is a lesser human being.

Sacrifice for your friends

Try and go the extra mile to show acts of kindness to them. You can sacrifice time to be with them. Sacrifice a little money to buy them lunch or tokens of appreciation. When your friends are going through difficult situations, be available to offer a shoulder to cry on. Celebrate their joys too.

Sacrifice for the less fortunate

Mother Teresa was loved by many people because of the love she had for humanity. In your own little way, try and be a Mother Teresa in your community — that would make this nation great.

You are not always right

Don’t get into the habit of disagreeing with people because you think their ideas are wrong simply because they disagree with you. You don’t have all the answers. Be open-minded and learn from other people. If you want people to enjoy talking to you, you have to make them feel their contribution or their points are important too.

Relax, give yourself a break, and learn from other people.

Look out for more tips on relationships next Sunday.

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