I recently started reading the classic book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
The thing is, I've never thought of myself as a jerk. I'm very loyal and I try to be helpful to everyone, but I definitely have an argumentative streak. If someone says something in conversation that I know not to be accurate, I have a near compulsion to let them know they're wrong.
I try to do it tactfully, of course, but still.
Recently I've been examining this part of my personality, and I've been asking myself: why do I think it's my responsibility to correct all the errors in the world? If my conversation partner doesn't know that the Amish ride in gray buggies, not black ones, what does it freaking matter?
So I've decided that my New Year's Resolution will be to follow all the tips in this book. It's going to be *really* hard (especially on facebook), but I'm nothing if not determined.
If you're interested, the principles in the book are listed below. However, if you haven't read this book, it's been a classic since the 1930s for a reason. Go out and buy it! Not only does it help you look at dealing with people in a fresh light, it's actually a fun read.
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
1. Don't criticize, condemn, or complain.
2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Six Ways to Make People Like You
1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
3. Remember that a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5. Talk in terms of the other person's interest.
6. Make the other person feel important -- and do it sincerely.
Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
2. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say "You're Wrong."
3. If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
4. Begin in a friendly way.
5. Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.
6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
7. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
9. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
11. Dramatize your ideas.
12. Throw down a challenge.