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To Attract Friends, Don't be a Bore

Should a conversation start with a list of every detail of your day? Would you want to listen to someone interested primarily in himself? Boring!

Think about boars. They

don't show interest in others don't care what you think don't ask you questions.

To attract friends, you need to ask good questions.

Warning: not all questions are good questions. Bad questions, asked only for the purpose of giving your own opinions or drawing attention to yourself (e.g. "What did you think of my performance?"), shut the door to better understanding. The listener feels used, not affirmed. Constant questioning also can make your friends uneasy. They wonder, Why the inquisition? Good questions keep your companion in mind. They don't intimidate. They don't make the person feel awkward or invaded. They don't stop the flow of communication-they start it!

Even if you recognize in yourself a habit of asking the wrong kind of questions, the kind that repel people, you can learn to ask good ones and draw people in. You can make effective adjustments in your conversational style by using the following techniques.

1. Reduce Implied Threat Emotions may be involved in your conversation. Even a simple question may suggest a subtle threat. Your friend wonders, Will you use the information you are asking for against me? Why do you need that information? Are you going to judge me by how I answer this question? Reduce threat by making your purpose clear. For example, you can say: Just for my information... I'm trying to decide what car to buy and I'd like your opinion. I'm interested in your thoughts on a decision I'm trying to make. Honey, our checkbook balance is very low. Do we need to buy that boat now? Stating your purpose clarifies your intentions and breaks down defenses.

2. Ask Simple Questions First With a new person, begin with nonthreatening questions that call for a yes or no answer. "Are you okay?" Then you can move to open-ended questions that draw out the other person's thoughts. "What do you like about your new job?"

3. Listen Prudently Listen to other people's tone of voice and even how fast they answer. Consider not only the meaning of their words, but what the words imply. This extra information helps you know how best to respond. For example, reticence to discuss a topic might suggest there is something more to the topic that your friend wants to share but he is not sure how you'll handle it. You might say, "I notice you are hesitant to talk about this. Would you rather talk about something else?" or "Am I missing something?" or "Does this bring up some thoughts you would like to share?"

When you ask good questions · you earn the right to be heard by taking the time to listen. · you meet other people's needs for attention and give them a chance to tell their stories. · you may learn something new! · you establish rapport and strengthen friendship--which multiplies happiness.

People are normally honored when you care enough to ask about their thoughts or achievements. You attract them to you.

You can do it!


P.S. Share this blog with your contacts. For information on my newest book, FINDING HAPPINESS, go to .

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