“When our friends are present, we should treat them well. When our friends are absent, we should speak of them well.” – Epictetus
Of course we should treat our friends well, that is how we maintain friendship. But what does that mean to us? We should be truly interested and invested in their lives. They should feel like when they are with us, we are listening and giving them all of our attention. Our most important goal in any friendship should be to be certain that our friends know that we consider them to be important at all times.
But it is when our friends are not around that we can do the most to show them how important they are to us. Speaking well of others when they are not around isn’t just going to make them look good. It will actually change the way people think about them and interact with them. This will make their lives better.
As an aside, it also makes people think better of us. If we share all the good things we can think of about someone every time that person comes up in conversation it makes us look like we care about others and value other people. And we should. This will lead to people being far more open and straightforward with us and far more willing to collaborate with us on just about everything.
So for the rest of this week, let’s try this out. Every time someone comes up in conversation let’s try to mention as many things as we can think of that are good about this person or good things that are happening in their lives. Let’s see if we notice a difference in the way people interact with us by the end of the week.
virtus fortis vocat