Who is the greatest builder of friends in the world? Who is he?  You always know him when you see him because the first thing he does is wag his tail.  He has no ulterior motives. He’s not trying to sell you anything, doesn’t want to marry you, doesn’t have an angle. A dog is the only animal that doesn’t have to work for a living!  A hen has to lay eggs; a cow gives milk, a canary sings. But not a dog. He makes his living by giving you nothing but love.

A dog can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than we can in two years by trying to get others interested in us. So how can we build friends? By becoming interested in other people. The most used word in a conversation is “I.” When you look at a group picture that you are in, whose picture do you look for first? If we try to impress people and get them interested in us, we will never have many real, sincere friends. If we want to build friends, then remember we need to go out of our way to do things for them. These things require time, energy, unselfishness, and thoughtfulness.

Another thing we can do to build friends is to smile; it’s the little curve that makes a lot of things go right. Professor James V. McConnell, a psychologist from the University of Michigan, said: “People who smile tend to manage, teach and sell more effectively, and raise happier children.” There’s far more information in a smile than a frown. Your smile is a messenger of goodwill. Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it. Your smile is like the sunshine breaking through the clouds.

The final thought on how to build friends, become an interested listener.  When others talk, listen intently.  Listen because you are genuinely interested.  This kind of listening draws others to you and is one of the highest compliments you can give. Charles W. Eliot former President of Harvard University said, “There is no mystery about successful business dealings …Exclusive attention to the person who is speaking to you is very important.”

So there you have it. Great leaders build friends. How do you build friends? Be genuinely interested in helping others. Carry a sincere smile, and listen intently when others speak. For more on how to build friends, download my series “How to Increase Your Influence.”

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