How to Lose Friends When Trying to Influence People

How to Lose Friends When Trying to Influence People

Are you trying to connect with people through social media?

Do you feel like you are stumbling around trying to make friends on your social media platforms

There are many top influencers that make the point on the importance of connecting with other people through social media platforms like Google+, Facebook, Instagram, Linkin and others. I have recently taken up their challenge.

I have been experimenting. Truly, I’ve been trying to win friends with the hopes of someday influencing more people. While I’ve been doing this, I have also been rereading the classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

My Sophomore Year

In the middle of my sophomore year of high school, my family moved to a different state, and I started a different school. I didn’t know a single person in that high school. One day, I just literally showed up in English class.

Entering into my social media experiment, trying to make friends on social media felt very much the same way that it did back in sophomore year.

Some people invite you to sit with them in the cafeteria right away.

Some people stare you down, sizing you up.

Some simply ignore you.

Mostly though, people are wondering what you have to offer them and in the social media world people are wondering the same thing.

Why Making Friends in Social Media is Important

I’m sure there are a lot of responses to the importance of networking and making friends in social media, but today I’m focusing on one.

Making friends in social media helps to increase your influence.

Not only will “your friends” share your content, they will promote it, they will comment on it, and they will link back to it. All that creates more exposure. More exposure creates more opportunity.

How to Lose Friends when Trying To Influence People

While I could talk about how to win friends; I think sharing 2 ways to lose friends quickly is more important.

From my experiences in making friends in a brand new school in the middle of my high school years, and what I’ve seen in the social media world, I have learned 2 ways to lose friends fast.

2 Ways to Lose Friends Fast

  1. Criticize ThemThis should be obvious, but still people do it. This tip is a big one in the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Dale Carnegie points to Abraham Lincoln as a great example why we should never criticize.Lincoln’s criticism of someone else lead to a duel. A real duel. Obviously, someone stopped the duel, but Dale writes that Lincoln learned a big lesson that day – Never Criticize.

    I don’t just mean negative criticism. I mean constructive criticism, too. Here’s why: any type of criticism brings on resentment.

    “Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.” – Dale Carnegie

    Even constructive criticism will lose you friends. Instead, make friends like Benjamin Franklin did,

    “I will speak ill of no man, and speak all the good I know of everybody”.
    – Benjamin Franklin in How to Win Friends and Influence People

  2. Brag
    Bragging is a quick way to lose friends, too, especially when it’s a new friend. And, if we are honest, there are a lot of new friends out in social media.Let’s examine two of Dale’s Principles to do instead of talking about yourself.“Become genuinely interested in other people.”

    This describes how instead of talking about yourself and your successes, win friends by being interested in the other person.

    “Win Friends by Making Others Feel Important.”
    Almost everyone we meet thinks of themselves as more superior than us in some way. The way to win them as friends is acknowledging their importance in a subtle and sincere way.

    The way to lose friends is by bragging or diminishing their importance.

Bringing It Home

I envy my two and a half-year-old. We’ll be pulling into the park and she’ll say, “I’m going to make new friends today.” For her it’s a matter of asking her new friends if they want to play. For us, it’s a little different.

The important thing to remember, whether we are writing blog articles or making friends, is that it’s about them and not us.

I would love to connect with you and become your social media friend. Let’s take on the social media world together. Connect with me by visiting my Google+ Page.

Christine King is a staff writer at R & R Web Design LLC. She is passionate about writing and loves what blogging and businesses can achieve. Armed with her degree in social work, she brings the unique ability to motivate readers in every blog article she writes. She specializes in creating content and writing blog articles for a variety of businesses at R & R Web Design LLC.

11 comments on “How to Lose Friends When Trying to Influence People
  1. Rick S says:

    Best article yet and you’ve had some good ones.

  2. I agree with Rick! You can tell that this article comes from the heart. Just like your beautiful daughter reach out but once bitten back away. Fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me. I appreciate the way that you incorporate Dale Carnegie’s quotes. I first started reading his books @23 years ago. They changed my attitude. Keep up the good work Christine you are now and will always be my favorite blogger! Thanks!

  3. Oh I wish I read this 5 mins ago. Someone posted their new logo & I didn’t love the color used in the last line, so I created 2 new ones for them, you know to show another look. I’m not a graphic artist but have an artsy eye & I thought constructive criticism is ok. But you say it is not. I hope I don’t lose them as a social media friend. I could delete it- In fact I will go do that.
    PS- love your wisdom.

    • Hi Roslyn,
      That’s a tough situation. I agree that you do have an artsy eye and that your opinion has a lot of value to it. I can totally see why you thought it would be helpful to offer feedback.

      This brings up a great point, it’s so easy to offer up constructive criticism. One of the reasons why is that when we do, we often have really good intentions. We really want to help the other person.

      When trying to win friends and influence though, Dale Carnegie, Abraham Lincoln, and Benjamin Franklin all advise not to criticize.

      Thank Roslyn for sharing this! You are a great friend to have in the social media world and I’m sure your friend knows that as well as I do. 🙂

  4. Don Purdum says:

    Hi Christine,

    WOW! Straight to the point and extremely well said. Your two points are so spot on. I was trying to think of a few others but the more I did they all fell into one of those two buckets.

    I hear what you are saying about criticizing others online in any capacity, good or bad. I think sometimes they don’t mean to criticize it just comes out that way or perceived in a way that isn’t meant to be.

    All the more reason not to do it. It’s like the old saying goes… if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say it all.

    The goal is to authentically and genuinely build someone up and validate them in a way that earns their respect and interest.

    To your second point, I learned a long time ago that it’s all about them, not me. I think it’s interesting you can see this in real time at a live networking event. You can always see who is thinking of themselves and who is trying to sell, sell, sell.

    You cannot build a relationship based on you! If all you do is brag or talk about yourself you’re in trouble. I try to share generously and often. Especially with those I am building relationships with.

    If I make it about them, eventually they will make it about me. But, that can’t and shouldn’t be my motive. Just give generously with the perspective that I’m here to learn from you. Not tell you about me.

    Great post Christine. You really struck a nerve with me on this one, lol…

    I hope you have an incredible week!!!

    ~ Don Purdum

    • Hi Don,

      Thank you so much! I know what you mean about trying to think of some other points. I tried to think of some more as well. 🙂

      You know it’s funny, I’ve understood these points in real life but it took me a while to see how they could be applied to social media. It’s incredible to think that a book written in 1936 could have such wisdom for today’s social media world. Talk about cornerstone content!

      Thank you so much for all your continued support Don!

  5. Veronica Solorzano Athanasiou says:

    Hi Christine,

    Great post on behaving online as you’d be IRL 😉

    I’ve found myself realising that others don’t like to be criticised not even with the best of the intentions. There’s no other principle, as you say, don’t do it!

    Also the bragging could be a misinterpretation of us wanting to share something pretty or pleasant with our friends. I’m now thinking adding a little note like: “I thought you’d like to see this”, would make all the difference, don’t you think?

    Definitely there are fine lines on both these actions that are no-nos on social media and live relationships.

    Thanks for saying it as it is.



    • Hey Veronica,

      You know, you make a great point. Bragging and criticism are often misinterpretations of the speakers/writers intention. Most people are not looking to tear us down when they offer criticism or share about something amazing that happened to them.

      So often though, even with the best of intentions we can rub someone the wrong way when we criticize or brag.

      You are so right Veronica, there really is a fine line. Thank you so much for joining the discussion! I really enjoyed reading your take on the article. 🙂

  6. Don Purdum says:

    Good Morning Christine,

    It just goes to show you that nothing really changes under the sun, does it? In reality, when done right, social media ought to be nothing more than our experiences, ideas and thoughts from the offline world that is shared online.

    It makes perfect sense that a book from 1932 applies because at the core people don’t change. Technology changes, but we are who we are in the most simple of terms.

    I really like that you shared about the book and it’s a great reminder for me to just keep it simple sometimes. LOL…

    ~ Don

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