Conquering People by Agreeing with Them

friendly shake
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

I know lots of people who love to argue. They seem to be against anything and would fight it out just to win all arguments. I wonder how much stress they get per day. And I guess they hate relaxing and drinking ice-cold bottomless tea, as well. Ever met folks hard to please—and seem to love it that way?

Mostly, they do that to impress you with their supposed intelligence. But they do not realize the health benefits they forfeit themselves if they only live content with peace and quiet by often agreeing with people. I said “often” agreeing. Out of 10, I see the need to disagree only about 0.01 times. And these 0.01 times are times when your opposing ideas are best kept to yourself. A few times you’ve got to voice them out, but majority of the time you can live perfectly without doing so.

I don’t mean you go all-out with their opinions each time people express them. Just agree with them that those are their opinions and have a right to them. Get what I mean? A lot of times, that’s all people want—to be able to have their say and be listened to without opposition. All you have to say is, “Ah okay.”

Not Compromise

It’s not compromise. It’s not agreeing with wrong. It’s simply agreeing that people have a right to their beliefs, like their right to think that what they think is right. When asked about right and wrong issues, I express my opinion uncompromisingly. But I won’t use it to argue against other’s belief. If no one asks me my opinion, I won’t say a thing about it.

But Some Folks Won’t Let You Alone

There are times when people need to hear more than mere “Ah, okay.” They either want a debate or sincerely need advice. You have to distinguish between the two. If they want a debate, I’ll deny them that. I’m too dumb for debates. Instead, I’ll help them probe deeper into their premise by asking little questions, like, “So, how do you feel?” I once asked that to a friend who insisted that it wasn’t proper to drink water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach—and three glasses at that.

He wanted to demolish my early morning water therapy ritual and make me stop it. He thought it was bad habit for my health. Some people are like that—they don’t just want to express their opinion, they want to force it on you, too. They think it’s a service. They want to save you from your own stupidity.

“How’s your bowel movement in the morning?” I asked a follow-up question. “I move my bowels every other day,” he said sadly, obviously worried about it. “And you?” he asked me. “I have mine two times everyday. Sometimes three.” That was enough to stop his attempt at debate. I didn’t oppose or contradict him or anything like that. I merely helped him double check his premise. Lots of folks need a dose of their medicine, and you don’t need to argue with them. Just quietly and calmly give the dose.

Don’t Do an Overkill

If the person needs advice, on the other hand, don’t give a lot. That would be overdose. I note that a lot of people are just too happy to give tons of advice when asked. It’s like, you go to this doctor for your headache and he prescribes all medicine brands on headaches available on planet earth. Again, most people who “need advice” really just need someone to talk to—and be listened to. What they really need is kindness from another person. To be more precise, what they need is a reassuring nod from you. That you agree that they have a right to their opinion. That you understand.

In a sense, all they want is your bottomless tea, filled with ice.

When asked for advice (or my opinion), I always give an honest one, straight to the point. But I never force them to swallow it. I assure them that despite my difference in opinion from their opinion, I’m still willing to listen and understand. But my “nod” does not mean consent. It just means, “I understand how you feel.”

What Do I Get by Being Agreeable?

And the effect is astounding. You get them to agree with you, sooner or later. I have this friend who was obstinate and hot tempered since the day we met. He always fought with anyone who opposed him, company after company and year after year. But recently, he confessed to me. “I don’t know what happened. I’m beginning to be like you—just patiently ignoring offensive people and even being nice to them.” I never debated or argued with him about it. Each time he had trouble, I just listened to his story, looked at him steadily and nodded, saying, “Umm, okay.”

But when he asked me about what I’d do if I were in his shoe, I would just shrug my shoulders and say a dialogue in the movie, Frozen: “Let it go.”┬áHe would violently react to that and insist to punch his enemy in the nose. I just looked at him and laughed. And this is just an example.

I have had many incidents happen in my life and career when being agreeable like this opened doors of opportunities for friendship, employment, business deals, and sudden change of mind. Often, you don’t have to oppose or argue with people; you just have to listen to them and give them the right to express their opinions, at the same time showing them your stand and how firmly you stand.

I remember my stint with an outdoor advertising company. This client was so stubborn about not buying the photographic billboard he asked quotations for. Not even the heads of our sales and marketing departments could get him to buy, even after our two bosses treated him to an elegant dinner. It was a potential project.

As their last resort, they decided to send over an agent who could soften the heart of this difficult client and make him buy. They picked me, not because I was top in sales, but because they saw something in me. “You’re such a nice person it would seem a crime to break your heart,” the bosses said, or something to that affect.

So I went. After about an hour I came back with a down payment check. The bosses looked at each other in surprise and couldn’t believe what I just handed them. “What did you tell him?” one boss asked. “Nothing,” I said, “we just told each other stories and I listened most of the time. We just enjoyed our short conversation.”

Well, I didn’t tell my bosses how the client complained about our product and lead time and pricing and told me a lot of stories to that effect. I just nodded my head, listened and didn’t argue—because anyway, what he said was true. In contrast, my bosses argued with him. See? After that I and the client became friends and he preferred me over other agents with his projects and payments.

Once you perfect your mix of iced tea, you can serve it bottomless and people will seek after it.

Smile that Launches a Thousand Ships

Comic Legion

They say to always smile. It’s supposed to make things in your life better. Well, I’ve seen more than enough of life to know that it isn’t so all the time. Still, a smile is so important, if not to people you give it to, then to yourself. Did you know your smile could launch a thousand ships?

A famous song in the 1970s tells how a face could launch a thousand ships, and I guess it’s a face with a smile. I cannot imagine how a scowling face could do that. Sink a thousand ships perhaps, but not launch. When I was a kid I could not understand how smiling could do me good so I often looked sad. I thought smiling was stupid. Then in high school, I realized how my smile lit up the faces of girls in the campus.

Campus Star!

Believe me, I was some kind of a celebrity in school those days. A lot of girls had a crush on me, though I wasn’t really good-looking. Often, I looked bad with my worn out school uniform and tattered rubber shoes. But I think it was all because my smile shew my dimples. Our first year class adviser, Mrs. Cortez, was also so fond of me while she was pregnant that she always watched me with delight. So she seated me in front and made me class president. See what difference smiling can give.

But something terrible happened in college that made my smile scary. People got scared the more I smiled, so I stopped doing it. I was back to square one, looking sad most times. But the irony was that, the sad face seemed to be masking my growing love for good jokes and funny anecdotes. I started taking so much interest in how people looked funny in their silly habits, idiosyncrasies and ideas. I mean, I’d been like that as a kid but it got worse in college. I kept it all a secret, though, except to my close friends. Outwardly, I seemed sad but my close friends knew better. They knew what went on in my mind and when I shared my secret funny thoughts, their stomachs ached as they laughed.

Boss’ Favorite

After college, I had various jobs, all of which were managerial in nature, although I never finished college. How it all happened? Well, my best explanation is that it was all God’s miracle. Anyway, I discovered that I became naturally likable to most people when I smiled. I don’t know what happened but my smile transformed so that it again launched a thousand ships. One slight smile and people liked me a lot.

There was this guy who was the topnotch in PR in the entire Philippines at the time. He was known to be strict and had high standards. After a few days of training, he chose me over a younger and a really handsome guy who was a graduate of a prestigious university and had remarkable work experience. Later, the boss told me why he picked me. “Everybody in the office likes you because you seem to be a nice guy. You’d be a rich guy someday in PR.”

It must have been my smile, because the younger and really handsome guy was also nice. In fact, I thought he smiled better.

What was so special about my smile?

What’s in a Smile?

It was not an artificial or made-over smile. It was a natural smile. I smiled with a good feeling and that was it. I didn’t try to make it better than it was. And it launched a thousand ships, whatever company I worked for. Well, others said it was my kind, humble and gentle personality, and probably all these worked out a natural ship-launching smile on my face. But what I know is that it started when I started smiling because I liked people.

But it all changed again when I entered the threshold of mid-life. I became wiser and more experienced in the streets. I learned the different types of smiles and when to use them. My smile is not scary but it somewhat evokes respect. I suspect that it’s a mix of things—the look of hard and deep experiences wrought in my eyes plus my expertise in what smiles are appropriate for the moment. Then combine that with my military-cut white hair. See what I mean? Does that still launch a thousand ships? Oh yes, it does. Name what ship—cruise, military, cargo, oil tanker or expedition—my smile can launch it.

Just Smile

Whatever the effect on people, a smile is important. Smiling is worth it—never mind how it looks. Just make sure it’s simple and all-natural like an all-natural tea prepared simply and served bottomless. But there are different types of tea for specific uses. Understand that the same is true with smiles.

Oh, you’ll learn about it as you mature.


They Still Care

Sad love heart symbol background
Age Space

Some people still genuinely care. They go out of their way to help you out or make you feel better. I’m just sorry for those who see only business and money in everything and won’t lift a finger if they can’t squeeze out a profit from you. And most of these guys are professionals—professionals with degrees, but most of all professionals at making money.

It’s become scary to be out there in the world and not be self-reliant or self-sufficient. I mean, you don’t know if someone would help if you’re in trouble. Some won’t help due to fear of being involved in trouble. Some won’t make a move because they are simply unconcerned. Worse, other people would even take advantage of your weakness. These are realities we see in the news today. That’s why I make myself as self-reliant as possible when I go out. I take with me all the things I urgently need—explains why I always carry a small shoulder bag.

But still, we need to seek help from others and you have to be relied on by others. We should all still care.

There are those who make it their profession or mission to help people, regardless of their careers, titles or degrees. Sometimes, they seem too good to be true. Sometimes I can’t believe what I see when I watch them in action. Are these guys for real? But there aren’t any cameras around when they do good deeds, so they must be for real. Like this young guy I know who risked his life helping an old lady who was just maltreated by an abusive street cop. The young man protected the old lady and saw to it that she got away from the cruel cop safely.

And this wellness coach who went out of his way to explain to patients the full results of their magnetic resonance body analyzing tests (this procedure analyzes some 37 body organs to help you see what you are sick of). I have not seen any medical practitioner as patient in explaining tests results to patients. All they do is write prescriptions and how to take them. You go home with nothing but faith in the doctor and the meds he made you buy. Some medical doctors are even rude. Some are arrogant. Some won’t care if you don’t have the money.

Well, in fairness, there are medical doctors who also explain things to you a bit, especially if you persist in asking them (or wring out the answers from them).

But it’s different with this wellness coach. The patients went home knowing what they were currently suffering inside their bodies, why and how to have the ailments treated with alternative medicine. Have you ever had a doctor explain to you what’s wrong with your 37 body organs and discuss all your options, from medical to natural?

How about the stranger who helped a couple find their way correctly in the city by actually going with them to point out the right path? And there’s this grade school teacher who found a poor street boy asking people in the wet market for some food but was ignored or shooed off. This teacher treated him to lunch! When I see people like them, it’s like a tall glass of good-looking and tempting iced tea—you’re tempted to do the same because it’s so refreshing.

Some folks also do kind things but only when the cameras are rolling. They can hug dirty street kids, carry and kiss them, hug poor people and eat with them in their messy dining tables as long as there are cameras around and everything will be posted on Facebook or shown on TV for the world to see. They’re amusing to watch but I prefer those who do kind things in secret, seen accidentally by me because I’m a nosy fellow who notes almost everything around me. Because I like the sight of bottomless iced tea, all-natural!

In fact, if you want to see real kindness that’s natural and unscripted, forget about watching it on TV or online. Or sometimes even watching it in church. Go where real folks are and watch what real people do. You’re bound to find genuinely kind folks—real heroes—in places you don’t expect them to show up. They often hide from the limelight and see to it that what they do is kept private. That makes natural iced-tea more appealing. Yup, they still care.