Everyone likes to feel listened to, respected, and appreciated. It’s human nature and we like those who make us feel those things. That’s why it is a great skill to be able to make someone feel special. The best thing about it is that it’s so easy!
1. Listen to them.
And really listen to them. Listen without thinking about what you’re going to say next, just focus on the person and what they have to say. Sometimes it might feel natural to interrupt someone else’s sentence when you’re excited but try to let whoever you’re talking to completely finish their thought. Besides, you already what you’re going to say but you don’t know how the other person feels about a topic or information they might know. One of Bill Nye’s most famous quotes is: “Everyone knows something you don’t”, and if you approach conversations with this in mind you’ll automatically focus more on what the other person has to say and you’ll seem a lot more interested because, well, you are! Make eye contact, ask questions, give them your undivided attention, and remember what they tell you so you can show them how much you really were tuned in. Those who really listen to us and are interested in what we have to say are the people we love most because they make us feel… special!
2. Validate them.
Everyone wants to have their ideas and actions validated, it’s a natural feeling to want to hear those around you compliment what you’re doing. So a sure way to make a person feel good is to compliment them, congratulate their accomplishments, and validate their ideas, goals, and interests. There are so many ways to make a person feel validated, tell them you agree with them on a certain topic, ask for their advice or opinion an issue, compliment their positive traits, or anything else that communicates to them that you recognize a good thing they are doing. Criticism can be common friend to friend but try to be aware of how much and how harshly you criticize a person. If a little validation from someone you trust gives you a feeling of positivity, a little criticism gives a person ten times as much feeling but in a negative way. So be aware of how much disapproval you show someone, it can erase all the validation you give them and then some.
3. Show your respect.
So often in life, we are given little to know respect so being the person to give someone the respect they deserve goes a long way. To truly respect someone you must respect all things about them including their time, their reputation, and your relationship with them. That means being honest with them even about difficult matters. That means never talking badly about them behind their back because you respect their reputation that much. If you hear something about them, give them the benefit of the doubt you wish others would give you in similar moments. Try to limit how much you speak negatively of others around them too, because you wouldn’t want to hurt their reputation with other people also. Respect their time by realizing that they might be busy when you’d like to chat and that their whole schedule does not revolve around your needs. You don’t have to aim to be respectful with just authority figures, realize everyone in your life would benefit from feeling respected and would probably return the favor. The feeling of being trusted is a special feeling in our world and it is an easy gift you can give to others.
Just a reminder that all the feelings listed above are gifts that cost exactly nothing but really affect how a person feels about themselves and their life. So give the gift of respect, attention, validation to anyone who you think deserves to feel special and do so in generous amounts because, after all, no one can ever run out of appreciation and admiration. Give some to your parents, your teachers, even people you don’t necessarily like and see how your life changes! You’ll find that being a person that knows how to make a person feel special is awfully… special!