Social etiquette: it's a catastrophe and a masterpiece, a game at best and a prepared script at worst; it's a breeze on a good day, and a formulated equation for most; it's conducted in groups of hundreds and intimate gatherings of two.
Thankfully, social etiquette can also be simple.
During the 16th century, social etiquette books were all the rage, teaching things such as how to be a "Lord" or a "Lady." People soon got tired of being told how to conduct themselves, however, and self-help books became a fad of the renaissance.
That is, until Dale Carnegie gave some brilliant advice. The year was 1936, and "How to Win Friends and Influence People" sold more than 15 million copies worldwide.
The book addresses exactly what the title indicates and although it might be a mouthful to say, it takes no time at all to read, being 261 pages short. Perhaps that's 200 pages over your budget, but just think: it is going to tell you how to win friends and influence people. All that knowledge can fit in your hand!
This newspaper also fits in your hand, and if you already know y9ou're not going to read Carnegie's advice, I'll give you the highlights.
How to win friends:
If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive. We all know what it is like to be condemned or criticized. It doesn't make you want to work harder and it doesn't give you good vibes towards the person it came from. Benjamin Franklin said, "I will speak ill of no man and speak all the good I know of everybody." Don't criticize or condemn – do it like Benny.
Everyone thinks Sigmund Freud only pointed at the libido for motivation, but it turns out he was really pointing two fingers because he said, "Everything you and I do springs from two motives: the sex urge and the desire to be great." Let people know you genuinely think they are great.
Now, think of the most popular girl or guy on the street. Do they get really excited when they see you? Do they almost jump out of their skin to greet you? Do they have any alternative motives for wanting to love you? A cute black lab is the most popular gal on my street, so be a pup – we are interested in people who are interested in us.
Showing interest comes first in the form of being a good listener. Ask people questions and encourage them to talk about themselves. Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours.
It starts with choosing your battles wisely. Once you have chosen, begin in a warm and friendly manner; a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.
Never tell the other people they are wrong and show respect for their opinions.
Stand back and let the other person do a great deal of the talking. Listen and honestly try to see things from the other person's point of view. Be sympathetic with the other person's idea and desires, and then appeal to their nobler motives.
Finally, admit – quickly and emphatically – when you are wrong.
These tidbits are pulled from the spine of the book, but they barely scratch the surface of depth within its pages.
Social interaction is what drives us everyday. It is what lands us a job and then helps us keep it. Social knowledge might be the most important thing you take from college because it offers opportunities for practice around every corner.
Cheers to socializing.
Julie Mrozinski is a junior in English. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.