Facts for Living: Your people skills should include affection and joy

By Rebecca McFarland, Frontier Extension Agent

I’ve been writing a series of articles about interpersonal or “people skills”. In the last article, I shared that caring, showing respect and fairness are some “typical” skills common to individuals who have learned the art of getting along. Inclusion, affection and joy are three more skills.

To be included is a basic human need. When individuals perceive they are not included, their behavior changes. Knowing how to make others feel included (or a part of) is very important in the art of getting along. Here are some strategies to include others:

  • Use words like “we” and “us”, not “I” or “me”.
  • Communicate appreciation or acceptance through body language and the words you choose.

Affection is another basic need. It can be defined in many ways and individual needs for affection are different, but all persons need some form of affection. A kiss, handshake, hug and pat on the back are all forms of showing affection. Affection is an emotion that can be very powerful in the art of getting along. It is important for people to understand this human behavior and the need in all of use for some form of affection.

Individuals need happiness and joy in their lives. Joy normally comes from within a person and it is expressed in many ways, such as smiles, body stance, posture, walking, and tone and quality of voice. We all know people who are joyful and they are a joy to be around. The following can help you be joyful and refreshing:

  • Smile
  • Learn what makes you happy
  • Keep a list of happy thoughts
  • Learn to say “what’s good for you today,” instead of saying “what’s wrong”.
  • Be positive and have faith in yourself and others
  • Always see the day as partly sunny, not partly cloudy.
  • Learn that joy and happiness come from within. No one makes us happy or joyful; we do it ourselves.

Follow these strategies for getting along:

  • Understand the needs of people and work to meet the needs of being included, receiving some form of affection, and having some control.
  • Learn to take the high road of positive thinking and become a positive magnet for others. Surround yourself with positive magnetism for others.
  • Learn what makes you happy in life and begin to build on this strong base. Remember that happiness starts from within. It grows and is a force that enables us to get along with ourselves and others.
  • Learn to smile and look others in the eye. It advertises you without you ever opening your mouth.
  • Learn to treat all people equally. Always remember to care for the other person. You may not agree with their behavior, but be kind to the person. Give him or her benefit of doubt when their behavior is not what you expected.
  • Find something positive in everyone and build on that something. Learn to be a positive person and develop an attitude that clearly says, “I care about you and want to get along.”

McFarland_RebeccaRebecca McFarland is the Frontier Extension District family and consumer sciences agent. For more information, she can be contacted at the Extension district’s Ottawa office, 1418 S. Main, Suite 2, Ottawa, KS 66067, or call 785-229-3520, or email [email protected].

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