Love the One You’re With

Last week I mentioned I would be writing a series of posts on how you can use the principles of persuasion to influence your own behavior for positive changes.

Crosby, Stills and Nash have a famous song from the early ‘70s called “Love the One You’re With.” There’s a lot of wisdom in that little title and while we might not be able to “love” everyone, we can at least come to like people more than we do today.

In the psychology of influence, we talk about the principle of liking. When we like someone it’s easier to say, “Yes” to him or her. Or to look at it the opposite way, it’s harder to say “No” to people we like.

There are many things we can do to get people to like us. Two simple things are similarities and compliments.

When we learn we have something in common with someone it’s easy for them to connect with us and like us. Have you ever experienced a situation where you learned you had something in common with another person (hobby, hometown, college, pet, etc.) and the conversation just naturally flowed? Sure you have. We all have. You could probably tell that person liked you and responded differently to you than a stranger might.

When it comes to compliments, it’s easy to see the impact they have on others. When you give genuine praise the other person not only appreciates it, they feel better. Feelings are the result of chemical reactions in our bodies as different hormones are activated. When you routinely look for the best in others and let them know about your positive thoughts, they like you more because they like how you make them feel.

So how do you use this with yourself? The principle of liking isn’t just about getting someone to like you so they’ll do what you want them to do. The bigger implication is that you will come to like them! That’s right; as you connect through similarities and offer up genuine compliments you’ll convince yourself that you like them. This is the game changer in relationships because when you like someone you tend to:

  • Want the best for them
  • Offer up your best efforts
  • Care for them
  • Trust them

The list of positives could go on and on but you get the point. When you like someone they sense it and respond accordingly. The whole dynamic changes.

So here’s what I want you to do. Don’t approach new people thinking, “How can I get them to like me?” Instead start focusing on, “How can I come to like that person?” Look for ways to connect on similarities and offer genuine praise in order to persuade yourself. It’s often said the only person we can control or change is ourselves so do whatever you have to so you can come to like other people. I think you’ll find it easier, less frustrating and much more beneficial in the long run.

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