HOW TO UNDERSTAND PEOPLE AND BE POPULAR
Focusing on the positive aspects on a person is a sure way to generate affection and hence friendship.
Sudhir found life extremely difficult for the primary reason that he could not pull on with people well. He was most of the time at loggerheads with his wife and at daggers drawn with her brother who lived nearby and paid visits to the couple with empty hands but consumed the dishes his sister prepared for him, with great relish and luaded her culinary skills.
Outside home in his office and social circles also, he was uneasy and unhappy in the company of others because he suffered acutely from feelings of self-consciousness.
“You may be a successful student of novels but you are certainly no student of human nature,” Sudhir’s wife Sudha said to him in cutting tones one day after he expressed his aversion for her siblings coming with empty hands and eating hungrily the tiffin prepared by her. He at once left the place and cogitated at his own display of dislike for his brother-inlaw.
After all, when he was quite prosperous he used to bring even dry fruits to their house. But now, as he passed through a bad patch in his business he came swinging his hands. When his wife reminded him of the days he lavished them with gifts during his prosperous days, Sudhir realised his better half was quite right.
He attained expertise in writing articles for his favourite Tamil magazines but he had never endeavoured to understand other people. After realising the truth of what his wife told him, he decided that he would make a study of human nature and would see if what had previously appeared insuperable obstacles could not be overcome. The more he pondered on the idea, the more worthwhile it seemed to him.
When Sudhir was browsing through Dr Beran Wolfe’s book How to be Happy though Human, his attention was arrested by these words:
“You as an individual citizen of this world cannot be happy if you do not know why your neighbour is neurotic; why the oil merchant’s daughter pilfers trinkets from departmental stores; why your niece has temper tantrums… Not to answer these queries is to restrict your mental horizons to an arc so narrow as to be inconsistent with human happiness.”
Deeply impressed by this passage, Sudhir set out earnestly to
discover why each of the persons with whom he came in close contact behaved as he or she did.
“Why is my wife so dominating? Why is my subordinate at the office so impertinent? Why is my boss so indecisive? Why does Jayaram brag so much about his profligacy with the money he spends?” These were questions he started to ask himself.
The remarkable thing was as Sudhir persisted in questioning himself in this manner and perservered in finding suitable answers, he gradually became a happy man, nay a man at peace with himself.
His resentment towards his wife seemed to dissolve into nothingness, and instead of despising her for being so domineering, he began to sympathise with her and to want to help her. This was because he discovered that the cause of her overbearing and overcritical ways lay not in her feelings of superirority as he had always imagined but an inferiority complex.
Although there was no apparent reason for his wife’s feeling inferior, Sudhir’s study of psychology led him to believe that this complex had probably arisen through some unfortunate experience in her childhood, perhaps through erroneous handling on the part of her parents or a teacher. Realising that none of it was any fault of her own, Sudhir became considerably kinder and more patient towards his wife.
As he further pursued his study of peope, Sudhir also found that his relationships with his colleagues in office and friends became much happier because his feelings of selfconsciousness dwindled away. Devoting his attention to the study of those around him, he became engrossed in what he thought of them instead of worrying about what they thought of him.
As did Sudhir you can also act; can also properly understand people. We are all aware that often those who appear so charming are actually not charming, as others whose casual manner leads us to believe that they are indifferent. Some who seem hard-hearted are actually more affectionate than those who are full of endearing traits.
If you were to meet Geeta, for instance, you would probably judge her to be the most generous individual. She would wear fairly expensive clothes when she met you and she would tell you about the high price she paid for them.
She would probably extend invitation to you to join her over delicious and lavish lunch in a classy restaurant, but she would also make a point of telling you how much money she had spent recently on lunches in the city and on theatre tickets for her and friends.
While all this conscious effort might well succeed in convincing you that she was a generous person, if you were to go away with her on a holiday for a week or two, you would notice that her actions when she was off her guard told a different tale. You would find that in her tips to the hotel waiters and railway porters she would be mean rather generous.
It is such apparantly insignificant occasions, when Geeta has act spontaneously and without preconceived conscious effort that brings her true character to light. However much she would lead you believe by her conversation and her conscious actions that she was a
AS YOU STUDY THE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN YOUR DAILY LIFE, YOU WILL FIND THAT MOST OF THEM ARE STILL PURSUING A GOAL DEVELOPED IN CHILDHOOD. IT IS IMPORTANT TO TRY TO DISCERN ANOTHER’S GOAL BECAUSE THIS WILL GIVE YOU A GOOD CLUE AS TO HIS FEELINGS AND THE NEED FOR ENCOURAGEMENT AND REASSURANCES.
generous person, there would be no denying from her unconscious acts that this was not really one of her character traits.
There are seven basic emotions which are common to all of us. These are fear, disgust, wonder, anger, subjection, elation and affection.
If you study the different ways these emotions are aroused in your life and the effects which they exert on you, this will give you a good idea of how other people’s emotions are stimulated and how these feelings influence their behaviour.
The most important emotion from the point of view of getting along with people is the emotion of affection. Radha is one who, more often than anything else, has aroused my feelings of affection. This is because she takes such a sincere interest in me, and not only helps to meet my obvious needs but she also takes considerable trouble to understand my deeper needs and help satisfy them.
Then again, she shows the confidence she places in me and the genuine compliments she pays me that she has a high opinion of me. What is more, she leaves no doubt in my mind that she values my companionship.
If I decline her invitation to have lunch with her and her spouse, even politely, she persists in inviting me until she wins my acceptance and convinces me that I am really wanted.
By analysing the ways in which Radha had stirred my emotion of affection I have seen how to win warm and tender feelings from others. In a similar way you can discover why you feel more affectionate to one person than to another, and so you can gain understaning of how to arouse the emotion of affection in others.
Any one who knows Prameela would not find it difficult to see that her goal lies in winning a high position in the business world. In fact, most of her friends think it extremely odd that she should choose this as her career instead of accepting one of the very good offers of marriage she has had.
But it is her sense of inadequacy concerning her sex and age which had caused Prameela to seek compensation in working on a par with businessmen holding high important positions. Brought up in childhood among boys Prameela felt inferior about her sex at an early age. As a small girl, she endeavoured her best to compensate by competing with boys’ games instead of playing the more gentle games of girls.
Although her childhood goals had been modified in adult life slighly she still comes from the same roots and compensates for the same feeling of inferiority.
As you study the people you meet in your daily life, you will find that most of them are still pursuing a goal developed in childhood. It is important to try to discern another’s goal because this will give you a good clue as to his feelings and the need for encouragement and reassurances.
Not only this, it will also enable you to demonstrate most interest in those parts of his life that are related to his goal. There is no surer way of tuning in to another’s personality and winning his friendship and confidence than by paying him the kind of compliments he needs the most.
A rusty nail placed near a faithful compass, will sway it from the truth, and wreck the argosy. IF YOU STUDY THE DIFFERENT WAYS THESE EMOTIONS ARE AROUSED IN YOUR LIFE AND THE EFFECTS WHICH THEY EXERT ON YOU, THIS WILL GIVE YOU A GOOD IDEA OF HOW OTHER PEOPLE’S EMOTIONS ARE STIMULATED AND HOW THESE FEELINGS INFLUENCE THEIR BEHAVIOUR.