Mary Kay Ash, the founder of the hugely successful Mary Kay Cosmetics, had it right.
“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, “Make me feel important.” “
Imagine how incredible our relationships with people would be if we actually did this? All of the time? Not just with our immediate family members, but also with our parents, siblings, neighbors, co-workers, close friends, the person standing in front of you in class, the person ringing you up at the grocery store, your waiter or waitress at dinner, the mailman, your kids’ friends…every single person.
That’s no small feat. It’s the sort of thing that if you actually sit down and think about it, you realize just how hard you need to work to make that happen. Because making someone feel important, like genuinely important, doesn’t just happen.
Making someone feel important means hanging on every word that comes out of their mouth, really thinking about everything they say and how it relates to other parts of what they’ve either said or that you know to have already happened, and making connections between their “story” and how that story makes sense in the world.
I like to think of the few people that always make me feel important, and I try to replicate their attentiveness, their body language, and the feeling they evoke in me by digging for more information from me about what my “situation” is. I like to think of all of that, and then figure out how to do that in my own way.
I want everyone I cross paths with in any variety of ways to feel that. To feel like they are the most important thing in my world. To feel like someone truly and genuinely cares about what is going on in their life. And, to feel like when I see them again, whether it be in 24 hours or 24 days, that I will remember all of it.
That is the relationship I want to have with everyone I encounter every day.