Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go. – Oscar Wilde
What does that mean?
I like this quote, especially how it twists the words around to make two very similarly sounding phrases mean the exact opposites of each other.
The first section talks about the people who bring joy and happiness with them, and spread it when they arrive. These are the people who are always welcome at parties, or even in friendly conversations. They never lack for friends, for they are always quick to be your friend.
The other section talk about the people who bring joy and happiness in their wake, that is, when they leave. These are the people who are rarely invited to parties, much less friendly conversations. They tend not to have many friends, for they are usually not the friendliest of people.
Why is being friendly important?
While there is plenty of room between the two people referred to in the quote, I believe most of us would prefer to be a little closer to the former than the latter. Where along that spectrum do you think you fall, and are you happy with it, or do you think you would like to move it a little closer to causing happiness wherever you go?
To me, this quote is about being friendly. Good friends bring good cheer with them, and some people just seem to be naturally good at it. However, that’s not me. However, I work at it, and manage to be more friend than sour-puss, and rarely cause happiness when I go.
By being friendly, one is welcomed by most (excepting the sour-puss types) and being friendly tends to bring good humor, levity, and even happiness along with it. Being friendly helps to bring people closer together, but always at a mutually acceptable pace. Pushy people are rarely friendly.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Are you quick to say hello to a stranger or acquaintance? Do you smile when you see a familiar face? Do you take some time (but not too much) to chat with the people you meet? If all these things come naturally to you, you probably need to leave your hints at the bottom of this post, so the rest of us might learn from your experience.
The rest of us are a little slower to say hello, to smile, or feel awkward talking to others. It’s just how we are. Hopefully, we aren’t so dour or taciturn that we fall into the second half of the quote. Most of us, I would imagine, fall somewhere in-between.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that most of us want to try to improve ourselves, and move a little towards bringing happiness wherever we go, rather than whenever we go. Towards that end, I will share what has worked for me, and urge those who have had success to leave their thoughts and tips in the comments section, below.
As an engineer, I have known plenty of socially backwards people. But even they can easily occupy the middle ground between the extremes mentioned in the quote. To get to the second half, you have to either be mean or be so completely self centered that nothing (and no one) else registers as important or relevant.
But even within the field of engineers, there are plenty who fall in the first category. As I mentioned in the paragraphs above, they recognize you and smile when they see you. They will take a few seconds to chat, with the statement beforehand that they must run (late for a meeting, and all that).
For me, I started with simply smiling or nodding when someone beat me to the smile. Simply acknowledging the other person as being someone worthy of interaction can be a powerful validation for that person. You may just have caused a little happiness, even without putting in much effort.
There is also the step of some quick chat. If you have more than a passing knowledge of the person, you might remember their favorite sports team, or their home town. It might give you something to talk about, briefly. If they have other interests, you might have something else to talk about, just in case it’s the off season for their team, or their home town wasn’t recently in the news.
There is a whole art to small talk, and I’m not very good at it. I’m “good enough” at it that I am comfortable with myself. If I wanted to get better, I would probably look into Toast Masters or some other public speaking organization. There are always ways to learn. If you’d rather, go find a mentor or a good book.
While their focus might be a formal speaking part for a member, while you are waiting, what are you doing? Are you a wall flower, or will you take some initiative and try talking with others. It’s OK to start with “I’m not very good at small talk, but here goes…”, or at least it is in my book.
You will learn by doing, and by watching for feedback. Whether it’s at a Toast Masters event, or a social gathering. Pay attention, and realize that everyone is different. What worked well with the last person might not work well with the next.
Try to relax, and try to be kind. Give it some time, and be patient and kind to yourself as well. Like anything else, you’ll make some mistakes along the way. Note them, learn from them, and try not to repeat them. And persevere. Good things rarely come to quitters.
And don’t forget to smile.
From: Twitter, @RealFarrahGray
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/o/oscarwilde100487.html
Photo by daveynin
Happy Birthday to Oscar Wilde, born 16 October, 1854.