“to be interesting and not bored, is to be interested…”
Sometimes you are just in the right place at the right time. Moments ago, I sat down at my laptop to write up my resolution for 2012 and decided to read my emails first — something many of you may recognize as a form of procrastination, but this time it paid off. There waiting for me in my inbox, were a few words of wisdom from my sister, Peggy. We pretty well email each other on a daily basis to keep up-to-date on all the fascinating stuff happening in our lives—well her life, sometimes what I have to say is a bit mundane, but she doesn’t complain.
This year my resolution was going to be to take more risks. As a matter of fact right now I am taking a risk—I am wearing really warm socks cast off by my husband because they would not stay up and he was tired of them puddling around his ankles. I don’t mind puddles, because the socks are big and cozy, soft and warm. But they do not have any of those little gripper things on the bottom, so they are slippery—but in keeping with my resolution to take risks, I am wearing them anyway—though I must say I do walk a little gingerly on the wood floors. Thank goodness I am only a neat freak in my mind, and the floors are a bit sticky which makes the hazard of socks without gripper things not quite as dangerous as they would be otherwise. I do intend on taking risks of a more fantastical nature, but I thought I would tell you of my initial success with my 2012 resolution.
After reading the email from my sister, though, I have rethought my New Year’s resolution and added an addendum to it. First I will let you read verbatim what Peg said in her email:
“Just read an interesting blog from a colour specialist…..nothing to do with colour, but about a new year’s resolution….to be more likable. She talks about being a bit testy with others, and how she doesn’t like small talk or pretending to like someone when she doesn’t. How she sometimes looks bored and not interested when people talk to her…..One bright follower of her blog said something that made sense….to be interesting and not bored, is to be interested….be curious, ask questions, put the emphasis on the other person. I hope that bit of info helped the blogger. She put herself out there, talked about improving herself, then all these great comments came back to her from her followers. There is a lot of wisdom out there, you just have to tap into it. Just thought I would pass that along.”
So my addendum to my 2012 resolution is to “be more likable”. What a lovely resolution, and one that while is not easier than “exercise more” or “lose weight” is much more praiseworthy. The merits of being more likeable are not only a payoff for us, but for those around us. I have always felt the phrase “does not suffer fools gladly” is a somewhat despicable way to run your life. Those who “do not suffer fools gladly” are most likely fools of the highest sort, and dare I say it, not likable.
So what is likable? That insipid word, nice comes immediately to mind, which is a word I would like to defend. There is nothing wrong with nice. Like likable it means to be pleasant, agreeable, amiable, and genial—friendly even. But adding the phrase “to be interested, curious, put the emphasis on the other person” widens the meaning even more. How many times have you listened to what someone was saying, all the while planning on what you were going to say next, instead of really listening? I have found myself doing this—and have to literally bring myself back to the present, and be mindful that it is not “all about me”. A real conversation is not just an opportunity to shed light on you and your accomplishments (or complaints or angst).
So this year, I am going to take more risks (beyond wearing slippery socks) and actually try to be more likable. One could put forth the hypothesis that being more likable is a risk, because, though the word likable means to be “pleasant and friendly and therefore easy to like”—everyone is not going to like you. According to a statistic I have heard bandied about, 10% of people are not going to like you— but even so, I am going to strive to be more likable so that statistic does not rise too sharply.
Happy New Year to all and to all a good year!