Lighting Matches

How to Make Friends and Influence People

You Don’t Always Have To Right. For many people, being right is a favorite pastime. Socially, it is an excellent practice to make ourselves look good or avoid looking bad. Except, it comes with a price. And no one really questions the cost of being right.

We’re different in our thinking too

One of the reasons we never consider the cost is because many of us believe that everyone should think like us. In fact, you will hear many people state, ‘you should say X’ or ‘you should think this way’. Those people are amazed when others think differently than themselves. In some cases, they will condemn others who think differently than they do.

In addition, we believe our experiences of certain situations are the only way life can be seen. We never consider that we surround ourselves with people who validate our thought processes. Those whose thoughts strongly contrast ours are usually avoided. Or we cast doubt on their sanity. For example, I recently had dinner with a friend. She is well educated and has her own practice as a doctor. When I mentioned that I have never had a drink of alcohol when I was alone, she thought I was odd.

I told her that I only drink in the privacy of my home with my significant other. She asked how could you not come home sometimes and just sit and have a beer? She even asked “What kind of man are you?” I laughed because I know she was not being malicious.

While she and I never got into a debate about the subject, there are many instances where people can turn simple conversations into heated arguments. There is another woman I know who has an extraordinary memory. She remembers every detail of conversations.

I, on the other hand, remember some details. I focus more on general principles. As you can imagine, if I say something that she believes is important and I forget, she gets extremely upset. From there, I am told what I should remember and how I should think.

For both those women, their way of doing things makes them look good in their social circles. However, dogmatic adherence to specific behaviors can alienate very good people, people you want to have influence with.

How many people have fallen out of love and later experienced a tumultuous divorce because their way of thinking was supposedly better than their spouse’s? The same holds true for friends, colleagues and family members.

The Cost of Being Right

Being right may help you look good or avoid looking bad. At the same time, it can cost you love, a job, friendship or clients. Instead of holding your view as the right one, stop and listen to the other person. While it is easy to hear the words they are saying, it is very possible you have no idea why they are saying what they are saying.

Understanding a person’s intention can be more valuable than understanding what they say. This would be the start of your influence. Therefore, it is imperative that each of us learns to ask questions. Additionally, it is inappropriate to expect others to fully comprehend the message behind your words. It is the burden of both the listener and the speaker to ensure assumptions are cleared up.

Furthermore, it is important to consider what we want from our relationships. If it is success in business, make sure your contribution reflects acts and thoughts that will influence a successful business. If it is love, make sure your acts and thoughts reflect a loving and affectionate relationship. When your thoughts and acts are contrary to what you want, that is the time to stop and listen to yourself. That is a great time to question your motive. Ask yourself, “Do I want to be right? Or do I want the fulfillment of a successful relationship.”

Stepping back can be an excellent way to examine our motives and expand our minds by learning a different viewpoint from others. What will you learn today?


  • Ted Santos

    Mr. Ted Santos is skilled at reinventing companies and individuals. Over the past 25 years, he has reinvented himself several times. From sales trainer, executive manager, entrepreneur, executive coach to currently Chairman of an organization that provides high-value services to CEOs of midsize to large corporations, Mr. Santos is experienced with change. As Chairman of the Board of Veteran CEOs, Mr. Santos is responsible for developing strategic direction. He also recruits former CEOs of Fortune 1000s to lead roundtable discussions to provide guidance and mentorship to sitting CEOs of mid-cap companies. In addition, he offers direction to scale BoV's value proposition beyond NYC and into major cities throughout the US. BoV has expanded its offering to middle market CEOs by creating innovative platforms designed to educate and develop CEOs in a confidential environment with peers. Mr. Santos is a native of New Jersey and attended Howard University as a marketing major. Santos Ted