I read recently that Francois Hollande, the President of France, after only one year in office, is now the most unpopular French President ever with a 75% disapproval rating.
Think about it, in a country of 65 million people, Hollande is now only approved of by 1 in 4 of the population. It just goes to show that no matter now much power, wealth or success someone has they still cannot please everyone, they still will not be liked and approved of by everyone. Even someone who just one year ago was elected president of his country cannot count on sustaining his popularity. There is an important lesson in this for all of us.
What can you do to be more popular?
When it comes down to it, a few simple approaches help enormously when you want to be liked and popular:
– Be a great listener. Do this and you will stand out from most people who regard listening as a short break before they can speak again. This may be the single most overlooked way to get to know people and to encourage people to like you.
– Choose to like and even love the people in your life. Find the good in people, focus on their positive qualities and let them know what you appreciate about them. Tell them often with praise, encouragement and support.
– Keep your promises and be consistent. If you say you’ll do something then do it, if you commit to showing up then turn up and if you offer to help out then be someone who is dependable. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver, doing so is a formula for losing friends.
– Give first. Give sincere compliments, your complete attention to who is talking and genuine kindness. Don’t wait for other people to be kind and considerate to you, take charge and lead by example. Do this with generosity and without wanting anything – that’s when magic happens.
If you’ll follow the above guidelines you’ll see how quickly people warm to you and want to get to know you better. But, what can you do if you’re suffering a loss in popularity with some people you know? What can you do if like President Hollande you find yourself extremely unpopular with some people?
– Tackle the issue head on by asking whoever disapproves of you why you are now out of favour even though you were liked before. If they have genuine grievances then apologise before correcting any errors, omissions or oversights on your part.
– Determine if these people often gang up against people for no good reason. If this is the case then it’s not personal so be objective about their bad behaviour and see it as a pattern that has nothing to do with you. Minimise contact with them.
– Take a long term view on the situation, decide it’s better to get along with people than to be right all the time. If you can be the mature one and let go of a minor issue then do so if it means the relationships are saved.
– If all of the above suggestions fail to shift the disapproval then there is very little you can to get others to drop any prejudice, grudges or misconceptions they may have. All you can do in this case is give it time and make sure not to bad mouth those people.
Remember, above all, that popularity is fleeting in the world beyond your closest friends and family. One day you’ve just been elected president and you’re on top of the world, then before you know it you’re the most unpopular president in history.
What’s important to bear in mind is that craving popularity is a need for approval in your community but having it comes and goes, and you should never base your happiness on it. Base your self esteem on who you really are and base your happiness on loving those closest to you. Yes, you can have the ongoing approval and respect of your friends but never see the approval of the masses as the key to happiness because it isn’t. You can’t control it, all you can do is aim to win it and once won you can’t always keep it.