As an introvert who naturally spends more time in my head than not, I have often been misunderstood and have had some difficulty building relationships. Over the years, I have made some considerable progress in being understood and valued and also gained skills in building relationships. Most introverts value a few close relationships, where they can have some deep and meaningful conversations. At the same time, they may also want and sometimes need to build many more relationships at work, in the community, in church, or any number of places. Sometimes this means getting out of your head and paying more attention to the people and world around you.
In the classic book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie gives six principles on “how to make people like you”:
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Be a good listener. Encourage other to talk about themselves.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
As human beings, whether introverted or extroverted, I think all of the above apply. We all want to feel important and of value. I know that if someone smiles, uses my name, and remembers something about me, then I do feel important to them. I have used these ideas and have built many great relationships–some very close and many more not so close, but still very important. These tips from Dale Carnegie did not come naturally to me at first, but are becoming more so with time. If building relationships has been a challenge for you, you can use these time-tested strategies to help you connect to those around you and let them connect to you.