How to Be a Better Friend
In his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie gives some very simple and straightforward advice on making friends, namely, “Become genuinely interested in other people.” One easy way to do this is to ask people questions about their interests and concerns. These questions should go beyond superficial questions about their jobs or their education, or how their families are doing, and instead should strive to get to the more interesting kernel of their affairs. A good question about someone’s profession might ask what motivated them to go into their field, or what sort of interesting developments are happening in their field today. People love to talk about themselves and their interests, and by talking less about ourselves and inquiring more about others, we help to build a genuine interest in them. We might find that other people really do have something interesting to tell us. Ralph Waldo Emerson is reputed to have said that “Every man I meet is in some way my superior; and in that I can learn from him.” Whether Emerson actually said this or not, the sentiment is certainly one we all should take to heart. We should listen to our friends and neighbors, and perhaps even to our enemies, and by taking a genuine interest in their lives and their concerns we might just learn a thing or two. We will certainly gain their friendship and affection.
Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of a man does not work the righteousness of God.
R.S.V James 1:19-20