Monday, November 10, 2014

How to (not) Win Friends and (not) Influence People

Oh my god, but seriously people, sometimes I just can’t stand it. It = being a person. It = being/becoming one’s optimal self. It = socializing. It = being enjoyable to be around. It = having purpose. It = enthusiasm of meeting and becoming an expectation. And on and on that can go. But really, let me get a bit serious. There is obviously this thing called life that we live and it is magical and amazing some of the times but then there’s all that stuff called society and constructs, both inherited and enforced, that one has to deal with to get by most days. Tragedy? No, but there is a tedious and at times demoralizing truth to this reality.

I write about this because I am maxed out on being anything other then myself and that self happens to be a mildly grumpy, consistently underwhelmed, highly curious, seeking adventure and a touch of the Dionysian and melancholic. I am maxed out because I am unmoored by the safety of nativised familiar surrounds (NYC) and am in a new place (London) in which I have to be super ready to make friends, gain influence and be memorable yet not scary (definitely failing on that last part). Thinking about this need to inject myself into another place is daunting in a good challenging sort of way but it is just so uggg that I find myself at times quickly recessing to the safety of solitude.

Regardless, things peek and perk and droll and loop and I know all this is zero big deals to any of you reading this but if you find yourself currently or at times feeling so over being invested in being, becoming, connecting then maybe you will know what I mean and will appreciate this circular rant.

So let’s have some fun and release some of that tension and poke fun at this odd thing that has and keeps having traction and that is the book How to Win Friends and Influence People written by Dale Carnegie in 1936 with a noted revision in 1981. It’s a funny sort of list of pointers (the book I have not actually read) and it reveals a lot about what is normal, supposed, and of value then and today.  Below will be some off the cuff remarks and refutes on some of the book’s suggestions on how to be a more agreeable and remarkable person.

Twelve Things This Book Will Do For You

1.    Get you out of a mental rut, give you new thoughts, new visions, new ambitions. – Yay, just what I needed. More thoughts and visions. Yay.
2.    Enable you to make friends quickly and easily. – No new friends, no new, new, new, new.
3.    Increase your popularity. – What does that even mean?
4.    Help you to win people to your way of thinking. – That this is all a shit show? :(
5.    Increase your influence, your prestige, your ability to get things done. – O-kay!
6.    Enable you to win new clients, new customers. – Two for one, all day everyday.
7.    Increase your earning power. – I’m broke. Like I just eat ramen all the time broke.
8.    Make you a better salesman, a better executive. – HBIC. Always. Forever.
9.    Help you to handle complaints, avoid arguments, keep your human contacts smooth and pleasant. – OMG. HUMAN. CONTACTS.
10. Make you a better speaker, a more entertaining conversationalist. – People shush me a lot and it makes me want to punch them in their face.
11. Make the principles of psychology easy for you to apply in your daily contacts. – Mind control seems hard.
12. Help you to arouse enthusiasm among your associates. – “arouse” and “enthusiasm” seems icky in the same sentence.

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

1.    Don't criticize, condemn, or complain. – Aka don’t say anything.
2.    Give honest and sincere appreciation. – This, I agree with.
3.    Arouse in the other person an eager want. – OMG this sentence.

Six Ways to Make People Like You

1.    Become genuinely interested in other people. – K.
2.    Smile. – That thing when men tell you to smile and you want to punch them in their face.
3.    Remember that a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. – Is calling people ‘hun’ not okay anymore?
4.    Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. – Just nod and smile, nod and smile.
5.    Talk in terms of the other person's interest. – So you like cats too?!
6.    Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely. – I actually like you. Like actually. No seriously. For Realz. Can we hug?

Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

1.    The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. – Smile and nod, smile and nod.
2.    Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say "You're Wrong." – Oppsy.
3.    If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. – True.
4.    Begin in a friendly way. – But what happens when your face is just resting bitch face all the time?!
5.    Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes. – Lol.
6.    Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. – Just nod and smile, nod and smile.
7.    Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers. – You must be crazy.
8.    Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view. – True.
9.    Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires. – What does desire even mean in 2014?
10. Appeal to the nobler motives. – Capitalism reigns.
11. Dramatize your ideas. – Hand talker for life.
12. Throw down a challenge. – Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

1.    Begin with praise and honest appreciation. – I like your hair.
2.    Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly. – It might just be me but you seem sort of like a misogynistic jerk, but please, let me know if I’m wrong. 
3.    Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person. – I’m a jerk.
4.    Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. – Can you please get out of my face?
5.    Let the other person save face. – Excuse me while I get you out of my face.
6.    Praise every improvement. – Seems tiring.
7.    Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. – Do as I say, not as I do.
8.    Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct. – No biggie. NP. :/
9.    Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest. – Drinks on me.

Seven Rules For Making Your Home Life Happier

1.     Don't nag. – Um I’m assuming your talking about me, aka all the women of the world.
2.     Don't try to make your partner over. – Not sure what this even means.
3.     Don't criticize. – Um I’m assuming your talking about me, aka all the women of the world.
4.     Give honest appreciation. – Hi.
5.     Pay little attentions. – I bought you your favorite snack. Yay!
6.     Be courteous. – Hi.
7.     Read a good book on the sexual side of marriage. – Say what?!