“Getting along with others is the essence of getting ahead, success being linked with cooperation.” – William Faulkner
There are many books, blogs and quotes on how to achieve success, many of which are completely genuine and offer wise tips. It can, however, be a bit overwhelming to try to sift through all the pages to find the one gem you need when you need it. Could it be that there’s something more basic to getting ahead? How about getting along with others? That’s essential to anyone’s desire to be successful, right?
For those who have a tough time putting their game face on, here are some tips on how to get along with others to get ahead:
If you don’t feel real, try faking it to start.
This doesn’t mean you outright lie to others, but plaster a smile on your face and force yourself to say something that can be heard by others as nice. “Have a great day” may sound tired and cliché, but it’s still a good, safe comment anyone can make. Just hearing those words may perk up someone who needs a little acknowledgement, and that’s always a good thing. Besides, don’t you feel a little lift when a cashier, your neighbor, the mailman or a stranger take the time to say something kind to you? It might be tough to force yourself to do this, but you’ll find it pays handsome dividends, and in more ways than you realize.
Keep a list of your good one-liners.
Think everyone else besides you is gifted with the talent to converse easily? They’re not. Many are shy, preferring to stay in the background rather than put themselves out there by initiating conversation. That’s where innocuous one-liners come in handy. Instead of always trying to reinvent the wheel, why not keep a list of the comments you’ve used when meeting others, leaving the office or a get-together, in passing at the market and other places? If they worked before to allow you to gently enter a conversation or gracefully exit, they’re worth saving and trotting out the next time you’re at a loss for words and really feel like you should be saying something nice.
Think of the other party doing something funny.
There’s an old saying that essentially says everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time. Rich or poor, old or young, no matter who you are, this saying probably applies. If you are having a hard time getting along with someone — a co-worker, a neighbor, a friend — maybe trying to imagine that person doing something funny will break the ice. It will at least lift the corners of your mouth and that may be all it takes to get you going toward interacting on a more genuine level. Watch your facial expressions, however. You don’t want the other person looking at you laughing hilariously and looking in their direction for no discernible reason and wondering if there’s something wrong with you. Keep your thoughts to yourself. This is advice to help you see others as human, just like you. Humor softens the edges and makes the situation more approachable.
See how much you have in common.
While you might think that you are miles apart from having anything in common with someone you know you need to establish a working relationship with, try thinking of what you do have alike. For example, you both work at the same company, live in the same town, like espresso from the local coffee shop, wear blue a lot, and so on. Finding commonalities is a basic way to begin to bridge a divide that may exist and pave the way for cooperating on projects and tasks.
If you’ve been a curmudgeon for a long time, you can’t be expected to nail this overnight. It helps to practice before a mirror or with someone you trust, such as a family member, loved one or friend. Try basic one-liners and general but kind statements to see how you do. Keep in mind your body language as well. Loosen up, take deep breaths so the oxygen is flowing and you’re not constricted and tense. This will benefit the words that come out of your mouth and help them feel more natural.