How Important Is It To Be Liked?

Sitting amongst a group of people ranging in age from early twenties to late sixties is tricky. There is age to think about. Family backgrounds. Current job situations. Romantic statuses. Intertwined relationships within the group. Religion. Expectations. How does one say something without offending at least one person in the group? How does one maximize the likeability of their words? With so much to consider before opening one’s mouth, how does one find the courage to open up at all?

I think the need to be liked is a universal human craving. Feeling liked is being hugged by your favorite aunt. Getting a slap on the back by your soccer coach. There is a certain comfort in knowing that someone is seeing you, and saying, “He is good” in their minds. We need that affirmation. We like to be liked. And the only thing better than being liked by someone is being liked by a whole group of people.

I tried to just sit there. I tried sitting pretty because sometimes all you need to do to be liked is to stay quiet and smile a little. But they started talking about planning. They were talking about long-term planning for the organization we were all there for. They started thinking about the vastness of the future and they were getting scared by all that had to be done. They weren’t actually getting anything done. I couldn’t sit anymore. I said, “For me, I’ve learned that I can’t plan because everything I’ve ever planned for never went according to plan. So I decided I’m just going to do it. I’m going to make as many mistakes as possible and pick myself up as fast as possible. I think I will get more done that way.”

And they hated my plan. They hated everything I said. I could see it in their eyes and the way they immediately moved onto the next raised hand. I felt my likeability dropping like a heavy stone going through water.

But it was okay. The only thing better than being liked by a group of people is being liked by yourself.

Are you good at Humblebragging?

Image“The Art of Humblebragging” is a recent post from the site, Boredom to Boardroom, that puts a name to the phenomenon we all know so well. Humblebragging. Humblebragging is a method of self-promotion that highlights one’s accomplishments without appearing too egocentric. If it is done right, humblebragging can do wonderful things in the workplace. According to the writer, the best way to humblebrag is to draw attention to others. So, for example, if you are the manager of a team who just finished an awesome project, the best thing to do is not to congratulate yourself on leading the team to a victory, but to give your team praise instead. And if your project had sponsors that made its existence possible, then praise the sponsors as well. By doing this, you are not only making everyone who was involved feel happy and accomplished, but you are also bringing attention to your work as well.

While I was reading this post I couldn’t help but think about those moms that love to humblebrag about their kids. Doesn’t this sound familiar to you??

“Oh, Jackie can’t do a play date this Wednesday. She has a state competition on Saturday…she won last time but it is always good to practice more.”

“Do you want to bring your kids to my house to study Chinese? My Allison is at a fifth-grader’s level. She can help teach Stephanie.”

“Your kid didn’t make the soccer team? You know, that’s a good thing. Now they’ll have so much more time to improve their Chinese! Well, time to shuffle mine off to the game, cya!”

Have you ever heard someone humblebrag? Do you do it? Now that you know about it, will you try it at work?

Unwanted Offerings

couponingI used to have this friend who never used coupons. Her reasoning was that coupons are inconvenient to use, they don’t save you that much money, and the good stuff, like organic cheese and the thick rolls of toilet paper, never have coupons for them.

Being an avid couponer, I tried to persuade her into using them. “Coupons don’t seem like much, but saving a dollar here and there really adds up. Look, my last grocery trip would have cost me $25 if I didn’t use coupons. I only paid $14.”

She was always happy for me, but never felt compelled to try it herself.

One day, I found the perfect coupon for her. “Here is one for the eyeliner you’re planning on buying. You can save $2 just by handing this over. It’s all cut out and ready to use.”

After some convincing, she finally took it and said thanks.

I felt pretty proud of myself. I thought I was about to make an unbeliever turn into an out-of-control couponator. I imagined she’d go to the store, pick out her usual eyeliner, walk up to the register, and suddenly go, “Oh my gosh! I only have to fork over $7.99 rather than the usual $9.99? This is amazing!” I was positive that her life would change and she would never go back to her couponless lifestyle again.

A few days later, I noticed that she was using a brand new eyeliner. “So you used that coupon, huh?” I said casually. (But I was not casual. I was so excited and waiting for her to share that Ah-ha! moment.)

“Oh, yeah, actually, I had it in my bag at the check-out counter, but I just totally forgot to use it. Oh well. No big deal. It’s only two bucks.”

My enthusiasm sagged a little. I guess I kind of saw that coming. She is not the type of person who cares to use coupons.

That wasn’t the first time I had offered something that someone else deemed not valuable. It was probably the fiftieth or the hundredth. I like to offer what I think is good in the world so I do it whenever I can. But the things that get me excited don’t necessarily get other people excited. And that’s ok.

I called up my other friend, a fellow couponer, and said, “Let’s go shopping!”

And off we went to Macy’s, carrying $10 off $30 coupons.