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Imagine two people walking up to you. One person has his arms open, ready for a hug. He greets you enthusiastically, with a huge smile on his face, “HEEYYY! OMG – JERRY!!!!” The other person walks by, looking down at the floor, with hands in pocket. When you greet him by name, he mumbles, “Hi” and walks away. Every time he speaks to you, you can barely understand what’s being said, and always have to ask “What?” Who would you feel more comfortable talking to?
Obviously, we’d all like to talk to the first person, provided he is genuine in his excitement to see us. If you look closely, you can see that those are also the attributes of man’s favorite pet – the dog. When you come home after a long day, it’s already pawing at the door, waiting for you to come in. It jumps up at you in excitement, licking your hand (and other places it probably shouldn’t be licking), absolutely overjoyed to see you. If it could speak, it’d probably say “OOMMGGGG, IT’S JERRY!!! JERRY’S HERE!! JERRRRYYY IS HERE!! YES, YES, YES!!!!”
So what exactly makes this such an attractive quality? Well, we can take a look at what we dislike about the second person, since that person is the exact opposite. First, walking around with head down, hands in pocket. Well, he probably doesn’t even see us. Are we so unimportant as to be practically invisible? Does he even know that we exist?
So what do we do? We greet him by name, to let him know we’re there. How does he respond? He mumbles “Hi” and walks away. Does he not know our name? Does he not even know us? Or does he know us and is so disgusted by who we are that he doesn’t even want to greet us? This is further compounded by him walking away. Are we not even worth talking to? It gives the clear impression that we’re not worth his while to talk to.
How can a person who doesn’t even want to know you be a friend? You obviously can’t count on him in times of need.
You can see how dangerous this can be in a relationship or an office environment. Have a group of people who don’t greet each other, and you’re practically guaranteed to have poor communication and a poor final product.
Compare this with the happy person who greets you with a smile and a hug. This person is not ashamed to know you. He is letting everyone else know that you are his friend. He is indirectly telling the people around him, “This is my friend. I am VERRRY excited to see him!!!” He is proud to know you. Can you depend on this person in times of need? Well, it sure seems like he’d at least be open to the idea. If he’s not a friend, at least he’s the beginning of a friend. He’ll at least try to work with you when things get tough!
There you have it – Smile, be genuine, and greet people enthusiastically. Interestingly enough, there are entire chapters dedicated to these three topics in Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People!
This article is based on my experiences in The Girl With The Open Arms.
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