There is a concept I’ve been actively, but informally, studying for sometime now through past examples and everyday experience. It’s what Robert Greene calls “social intelligence”.
In my understanding, it means being aware & conscious of what people want and making a bit of an effort to satisfy those little, sometimes seemingly vain, longings when you can afford to and still get what you want in the process.
People will always be people. There is nothing anybody can do about that. Whether you are able to see it or not, there are dynamics that play out in relationships, among people and in society; such dynamics being driven by people’s sentiments, expectations and their culture.
Have you ever seen a situation where someone, who seems to have brilliant ideas, is always resisted? Or, maybe you have personally been misunderstood even though you had good intentions. Or, in trying to ‘be yourself’, you inadvertently offended some person(s)’ sensibilities. Or when you feel you are doing others good and yet they hate you for it.
Funny, isn’t it? Yeah. Funny, but it can also be frustrating for the person who experiences the rejection, attacks and persecution that defies the logic he thinks should be in place (instead) for appreciating his ideas.
This is what makes the case for the relevance of social intelligence.
I discovered that certain things we overlook and ignore in our relationships and interaction with others may actually be the oil that keeps such lubricated. When we wonder why there seems to be so much friction (which cannot be logically explained) in our interaction with others, it could simply be the disregard of a simple courtesy or need. Sometimes, you may even have to do things you consider as irrelevant. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to realise that this has wide application: family, work, politics .etc
You know, sometimes, you wonder why there was so much provocation by a simple slip-up from you. Look more closely into how you have related.
For those willing to experiment, you would be surprised at how quickly the mood of a relationship could transform with a little change in your attitude to constantly address that ‘little thing’ you have always assumed was not important and yet could afford to do without any real or virtual loss on your part.
From henceforth, pay attention to what makes people happy, what makes them tick. Some people just want basic respect, yet you say “But, we are friends!” Friends are people too. Some want attention. Some, non-interference. Some, gratitude. Some, a little care. Some don’t like to be made to feel ignorant or to feel less.
I am not in support of licking people’s feet in the name of social intelligence and going ‘beyond yourself’ to satisfy others. Maybe not everybody can be ‘friends’ anyway. As I have indicated above, things you can afford to do that don’t take anything from you, yet have significant positive impact on how you are perceived and how your relationship fares.
That’s how it is.