You are at a social gathering and friends are talking about recent travels. You say you recently did a trip to Ukraine. Considering Ukraine has been in the news lately, you would think people would be interested in your impressions. But no, no one says word one. The conversation continues around you, like you were not even there.
You are at a staff meeting. You make a suggestion about how to handle an upcoming event. There are courteous nods from your peers and the meeting continues. Ten minutes later a colleague makes the same suggestion which is received with praise as if he/she just saved the world.
You are talking to your husband, wife, friend. Instead of connecting with you, making eye contact with you, the person is playing with his/her phone, tablet, scrolling through messages.
What’s going on?
Some of you may be familiar with PMMFI. Love this acronym! It stands for Please Make Me Feel Important. I am firmly convinced that a significant portion of the adult population suffers from ADD – attention deficit disorder. Not the famous ADD, that we may also suffer from. That is a whole other issue.
What I am talking about is the feeling of not being seen. The feeling of being invisible even when you are surrounded by people you know – that no one notices you, that you somehow blend into the wallpaper. Over the next few days see if you can notice this trend in action.
Another example from my passion – mah jongg. A player at the table wins the game. Rather than say “Great job” or Congratulations” to the winner, I know someone who immediately wants to show me and everyone else at the table her tiles and talk about the hand that she was attempting to play. She totally ignores the winner. This person is suffering from ADD. She needs attention, to know that she matters.
So I ask you to think > Where do you need attention in your life?
It’s simple really. People want to know that they matter. The ability to make someone else feel that he or she matters is a rare gift today. I’ve sat through countless conversations with friends who share the never ending drama going on in their lives. I listen quietly being supportive. Sometimes I wonder if the person will ever ask me “How are things going for you?” And sadly, that question rarely gets asked.
One of the most important component of leadership, friendship – all relationships – is showing others that you care about them, that they are important, that they matter and have valuable contributions to offer.
Take every opportunity to show others that they matter in your life – to you. Put down the technology. Listen. Make eye contact. Express appreciation. Your words and actions will truly matter. And remember, what goes around, comes around.
Graphic courtesy of Freedigitaldownload.net