My little girl makes friends wherever she goes.
She’s a natural, and yet she doesn’t care at all about being popular—and that’s the first thing that she’s taught me about making new friends.
Be yourself, not the person who you think they want you to be.
People will come in and out of your life, so it’s probably important that you’re not conforming, and contorting, who you are to please them.
I’m not necessarily saying that you please only yourself and be selfish, but do be real. Phony is never good—for long, at least. It’ll always come back to bite you.
Instead, what I’m implying is that you search yourself for who you are—for what makes you tick and what lights you up—and then you be this person so that the people who come into your life are ones who fit there.
Which reminds me of another reason that my daughter wins people over easily: she smiles—a lot.
I’m reminded of her almost instinctual, regular grins because she’s deeply in touch with herself—she’s deeply in touch with her own needs and desires in the way that children typically are because they’re still figuring themselves out.
She smiles genuinely—emanating from her eyes and radiating down to the upturned corners of her lips—and she looks people in the eyes while she’s doing it.
And the reality is that sometimes dealing with other human beings isn’t easy, but I will tell you this: after watching my tiny lady interact, even at her tenderly young age, it’s clear to me that remaining calm in your own inner happiness, and awareness, has a generally positive effect on nearly every situation—and on the people who are in it with you.
And that’s yet another thing about her: she’s happy.
I’m not sure that I can share with you her secret because, for one, I don’t know it. It’s a part of her and it’s a quality that she’s always possessed; this inner brightness. Still, I will absolutely guarantee that life is both more pleasing to you and to those who you associate with if you find joy in its simple hiding places, the way that she does.
The way that the wind dances in your hair, the feel of sunlight on your skin, and the sheer joy of moving your body and of being with the people you love.
There’s peace of mind, and of self, tucked away inside these miniature moments. We move through life—and all too often we let life move us.
Meaning, we forget that the chaos and the bliss are what’s fleeting and impermanent, and I think that one of the keys to my daughter’s success with others is that she allows herself to remain fluid—and most kids are like this.
She gets angry—and then she calms back down (although, granted, sometimes it takes longer than others).
She gets upset because doesn’t want to come in, she wants to stay outside, but then she changes and becomes contented to take a bath instead.
In short, she allows herself to move through life, not against it—and other people appreciate this.
Because much of life is about what you make it—the effort and hard work that you put in—and then the other part is about learning how to be grateful in the circumstances that you’re inhabiting.
And kids are funny little people.
Literally, they’re funny.
And people like funny.
However, my definition of true humor is finding joy within you and within your environment and then sharing that joy outwardly.
It’s discovering the funny noise that you can make with your lips on someone else’s cheek.
It’s finding wells of laughter after your mom cuts into her dinner and a piece goes flying off of the table.
It’s remembering that hilarity exists in seemingly inconsequential places—and that this is what makes life fun.
So, how do you become popular?
After reflecting upon this little list of my toddler’s attributes, I think that it’s actually unexpectedly straight forward:
You enjoy being you, you observe the world around you and then find wonder and silliness there, and you don’t care two hoots about being popular, because you know that life is all about enjoying this sheer beauty and awe, and not about counting your friends on more than one hand—and I don’t know about you, but sometimes these minimal requirements can be unfairly daunting. (Phew! I even need a breath!)
Which leads me to my last tip: always remember that each day is a new beginning.
Just because life handed you sour lemons yesterday, this doesn’t mean that you can’t add sugar and make kick-butt limoncello today.
When you feel that you’ve not succeeded at any or all of these things, continually remind yourself to wake up with a new sheet of paper and a pen, ready to go.
And maybe we can’t all make friends as effortlessly as my little girl, but I absolutely believe that we can all benefit from checking back in with our authentic selves.
That happiness and prosperity that you think are unrealistic fantasies? They already exist somewhere inside of you—they’re a part of an already existing book that’s waiting to be opened up and shared.
And while these offerings of observations from watching my delightfully engaging toddler might not exactly make you instantly popular in the high school sense of the word, they will help you to reconsider how attributes like kindness and playfulness will help you enjoy your life—and then attract the right people into it.
Which brings me to an interesting thing about life: you’ll generally find that you get back what you’ve put into it.
So put in love and giggles and cuddles—and also put in effort and hard work—and you’ll hopefully realize that you’ve enjoyed the process so much that your need to tally up your number of Facebook friends flew totally out the window.
Because you’re not looking outside for your satisfaction, you’re looking within—and the view’s pretty darn great.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise