Today is Friday, so this post is on interpersonal competence.
Last weekend, I saw a great movie – My Best Friend, or Mon Meilleur Ami, as it is a subtitled French film. The plot is intriguing. At his birthday party, a successful antiques dealer has a group of people tell him that he has no friends “only contacts”.
He makes a bet with a colleague that he can produce a best friend in 10 days. After a few discouraging attempts to connect with people in his life, he comes to the realization that he really does have no friends.
He meets a cheerful cab driver, who seems to be friends with everyone. He engages the cab driver to help him learn how to become a friend. He tries to reduce friendship to a formula – the 3 S’s: Sociable, Smiling and Sincere. Obviously this doesn’t work
Eventually, he and the cab drive actually become friends – until he screws it up. The movie doesn’t end on a down note however, as our hero gets an opportunity to redeem himself, which he does admirably.
In the end, we are left with an important lesson about friendship – friends do things for others without expectation of getting anything in return. This is a powerful lesson, and an important one for anyone seeking to become more interpersonally competent.
Interpersonally competent people are good friends because they are willing to help others without expecting anything in return. That’s how they build relationships. They are willing to extend themselves for others.
The irony here is that the more you do for others without expecting them to do for you, the more likely they are to do for you. Interpersonally competent people don’t keep score. They’re too busy doing what they can to make other’s lives better. They’re true friends, and as a result they have lots of friends.
Go to see My Best Friend. It will be playing in art houses in most US cities. Go to see it for the humor and excellent acting, but pay attention to the message.
A quick note – I’m a big believer in serendipity. As soon as I finished writing the words above, I checked my e mail. Barbara Glanz’s monthly newsletter was there. You can get on her list by going to www.barbaraglanz.com. Barbara always includes a few quotes. Here are two that I found today.
“When you give your heart to life, it is not lost; for a thousand hearts come back to you, and each contains a bit of your own.” Robert Sexton
“The effects of kindness are not always seen immediately. Sometimes it takes years until your kindness will pay off. Sometimes you never see the fruits of your labors, but they are there, deep inside of the soul of the one you touched.” Dan Kelly
How’s that for some serendipitous synchronicity?
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com to subscribe to my monthly ezine and for more common sense. Check out my other blog: www.CommonSenseGuy.com for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.
I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open. Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.