Wednesday, January 16, 2008

How to make people think you care about them

So I sound like a sociopath, so what? Truth is, I care very much about people, individually and collectively. It's just that they might not know it. So maybe a more apt title would be, "How to let people know that you care about them." But that's kind of lame. These highly insightful tips are useful for a number of reasons. People who think you care about them are more likely to trust you, to like you, to care about you in return. Making them think you care about them can lead to friendship, marriage, and/or a successful money-swindling scheme. Because I care about you, I will enumerate them for ease of reading.

  1. Actually care. Not required, but extremely helpful. Be interested in what they have to say, how they feel, and about the events that are going on in their lives.
  2. Buy them stuff. Careful! Buying someone's affection often backfires if it's not accompanied with genuine care and love. But a little something out of the blue is great. Ex) My friend is in school for massage therapy. I saw a massage therapy magazine one day that looked really interesting and informative, so I got her a subscription. It didn't cost a lot and I was able to show my friend that I was thinking about what's important to her.
  3. Really listen to what they have to say. Don't remember COM 101? Well, check this helpful page on active listening for details. An easy way to do this is to devote all of your attention to them while they are talking. Turn the TV off. Step away from the computer. Look at them. If you're on the phone, go sit someplace where there aren't any distractions.
  4. Don't disagree with them. Go back to the active listening page and figure out how to apply the paraphrasing and primary empathy sections. Suppose they've got some whack opinions that you don't agree with, but don't really want to get into an argument over. Showing them that you're listening and restating their ideas back to them will help them feel validated, while you didn't admit to agreement. This works best with old people and children.
  5. Call them to do stuff. Making plans to include them is an obvious way to show someone that you want them around. But don't be an idiot about it. Your friend that just got dumped probably doesn't want to go the the bridal expo with you. And as much as you want your athiest friend to go to church with you, I bet he or she really doesn't want to.
  6. Do stuff that they want to do. So maybe you're the recently dumped or athiest friend. Go anyway! They will appreciate it and you may not hate it (although you probs will.)
  7. Tell them. This is the one that I suck at most, which is a shame since it's arguably the easiest to pull off. Maybe I will add this to my half-hearted resolution list.
There you have it, an easy peasy little guide to making people think you care about them, whether you do or not.

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Tip Diva said...

Thank you for submitting your post to Carnival of Tips!

I saw an interesting tip in a magazine a few months ago - a woman keeps manila envelopes with people's names and addresses on it. During the month, she fills those envelopes with things that remind her of that person, such as newspaper clips, comics and recipes. At the end of the month, she writes a quick "thinking of you note" and zaps it off in the mail. I thought that was a neat way to remind someone you care, and doesn't cost a lot of money.

Hops said...

That is brilliant! I'll probably try to do that, but forget midway through the month, lose the things I've saved for a few months, only to be completely dumbfounded when I come across them again.

Ben Sutherland said...

Definitely sounds little sociopathic. May I suggest just caring. Or if you don't, just stop pretending. At least then everyone knows where you stand.

People who care don't need lists. They just care. Everything else is bullshit that will eventually be found out.

I'd rather know someone doesn't care so I can stay away from them, personally. And keep the ones who do as close to me as possible.