I bet you can all think of someone, in your friend circle or in your family, that everyone likes. No one can say a bad thing about this person, but it’s not forced. It’s not like these people sit down every day and lecture themselves on being more friendly, they just do it somehow.
I am not always that person (understatement of the year). I am the person who, upon learning that the open bar is limited, grabs the nearest usher so we can double-fist whiskeys until our time runs out. Always up for a challenge.
Still, I am particularly drawn to these Andrew WK types, these infectiously positive people who make you realize you could do a better job at enjoying life. The people who catch up with you at a party to make sure you’re having fun. The people whose ideas always sound good, whose laughter makes you laugh.
And something they all have in common is positive talk. They’re excited about things. They love things, and they share that joy with people.
Someone close to me was going on a first date, and she was nervous. “Talk positively!” I told her, “Positivity is infectious,” And it really is.
It’s so easy to go out and start gossiping or complaining, and I’m practicing breaking myself of these nasty habits. Once a week I try to go a whole day without complaining, and I’m not going to lie to you, it’s tough. We relate by sharing our woes, and that needs to change.
For the beginner, when you catch yourself complaining, or gossiping, change gears and do the “Three Positive Things” exercise. The next three things you say have to be about something you love, something you’re excited about, or something good that happened to you. You might think this is stupid, but I have actually seen people cry trying to do this. We get so stuck in our negative thinking that it can shock us when we realize how we’re coming off to other people.
Positive talk is where it starts. If you want to be well-liked, you have to be likeable, and the best way to do that is to turn to the person next to you, and tell them the best three things you can think of. Or if that person sucks, write down three positive things and tell someone else later.
And maybe someday you will have practiced this so much that you do it without thinking, and you will be Abby Jares, or Kelli freakin’ Beyer.
You can tell me your three positive things in the comments!
“I’m drinking whiskey out of a vase.”
“Is that lucky or something?”
“For a whiskey drinker it is.”
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