Having attended a holiday get-together several months ago at the home of a friend of mine, I was reminded of a Positive Persuasion (Winning Without Intimidation)-type situation from a while back. Actually, quite a while back, like about 30 years, when present day, quasi-mature me was but a young lad of 20. (“Quasi Mature?” “Young lad of 20?” . . . I don’t talk like this!)
Actually, this took place over a two-year span, and shows that — while winning someone over who is pre-disposed not to like you can take time, it will typically happen if approached correctly.
Here’s how it began. A friend of mine used to hold an annual holiday get-together. Not being a real partier even then, I didn’t attend many, but did make it a point to regularly attend this one. At one of these events, I was spotted by a woman who had just arrived. We’ll call her “Tina” . . . because that was her name. (Only kidding, using made-up names.)
Tina, whom I never dated, but had known in the past as a good acquaintance, came over and gave me a big hug. That would be fine, but her boyfriend, whom I’ll call “David” (you know the drill), and who didn’t know me, was “none too pleased.”
Now, keep in mind that those of us who are not the jealous type and would not be bothered one bit by our significant other hugging someone we don’t know, might not understand David’s feelings. But, the fact is, everyone works out of their own belief system and “model of the world” and has a right to their feelings. Yes, David was not a “happy camper.”
Noticing this right away, I gave David a warm handshake as I was introduced to him, and tried to engage him in conversation that would make him feel comfortable with me. Although the conversation was a bit strained, the three of us spoke briefly, and I managed to discover that he was very interested in basketball and was in fact a faithful member of a winter men’s basketball league.
Turn the clock ahead one year. Same party, same people. I see David and Tina walking in, and I wave. David is not terribly excited to see me but eventually walks over with Tina (who, fortunately, does not hug me this time). Tina says, “David, Bob, you guys remember each other, right?” I, with enthusiasm, said, “Sure!” David grunted.
I then said, “David, tell me what’s happening with your basketball team, are you having a good season?” Well, David’s attitude changed completely and, for the next ten minutes, told me all I wanted to know (and, actually, more) about his season and their hopes for a league title.
Turn the clock ahead one more year. Same party, same people. I see David and Tina walking in, and I wave. This time, David comes walking over to me with a great big smile on his face. Two old friends saying hello. Quite a difference from our first encounter.
You might be asking, “But, Bob, isn’t that a long time to win a person over?” Well, sure, but, first, seeing someone just once a year makes it a bit more difficult for it to happen faster. 🙂
More importantly, years are going to pass by anyway; we might as well have a positive result instead of a negative one.
Question for you: Who is in your life right now that might take some time to win over, but would be worth the effort and put both of you ahead of the game? Choose one person who fits that description, and then heed the words of the Sages: “Who is mighty? One who can control their emotions and make, of an enemy, a friend.”