That’s how many likes Justin Beiber’s fan page has on Facebook as of September 15, 2013.
I am not Justin Beiber (though our haircuts have both been compared to Ellen at certain points). I do not have a fraction of his likes or followers on social media.
But I do know the secret to getting more likes in your life.
Let’s face it: everyone wants more likes. From a young age our brains are conditioned to enjoy the affection of others.
But let’s be clear: I’m not encouraging you to be the type of person who lives for the approval of others. No need to be a Lady Gaga just living for the applause.
This is not a post about becoming more popular.
This is not a post about getting more thumbs on Facebook.
This post is about having a life where you genuinely get along with more people, where people enjoy your company and look to you as a true friend. This is about having a life where more people actually like being in your company for the right reasons. It’s about strengthening relationships and making strong, real connections with the people you interact with everyday.
When I was in high school, I had a Sunday School teacher who did a lesson on the 4 steps you take to show you really care for someone.
That lesson has always stuck with me. I’ve done some minor tweaks to those steps and found following them is the secret to getting more likes in your life.
The secret to having more fulfilling relationships where people genuinely like being around you, is all about the way you L.I.V.E. – Listen, Ingrain, Voice, Engage:
LISTEN to people. When you have a conversation with someone, anyone, listen to them. Listening is not the same as hearing. It doesn’t take any effort to hear the words someone is saying to you. Listening means paying attention, asking follow-up questions, asking more questions of others than they ask of you. The simple act of listening to someone rather than hearing them will make them want to come to you as a friend more often.
INGRAIN the words of others into your heart and mind. The next step beyond listening is remembering the conversations you have. Don’t let their words go in one ear and out the other as you nod passively playing Candy Crush. Commit their concerns to memory. This might mean writing down what you talked about in a personal journal or prayer diary. For you it may just start with remembering people’s names (a struggle for me). If you’ve ingrained the pertinent details of your friend’s life to memory, you’ll be more likely to be by their side as they go through it.
VOICE a prayer to God. This is the most important of the 4 steps. This is also the promise we fall short of most in life. It’s not enough to simply say to someone, “I’ll be praying for you.” Words without action are hollow. Once you’ve listened to someone’s words and ingrained them to your memory, voice your friend’s needs up to the Lord. Truly praying for someone and lifting them up to God is the absolute best way to develop affection in your heart toward them. The more you pray for someone, the more likely you are to follow up with them as well and enter into a truly meaningful relationship with them.
ENGAGE in follow-up conversations. A conversation between two friends shouldn’t end when you wave goodbye. After you’ve remembered their words and prayed over them, it’s time to check in again. Show people you care about their lives by calling, texting, emailing. When you get on Facebook ignore your notifications and look to your news feed. Make it a point to check in with friends you haven’t heard from lately. Send a card. Send a gift. Ask them out to coffee. Be available after the conversation ends. Doing this shows you are willing to be a friend for the long haul and not just in the easy times. That’s the friend a friend would like to have.
By no means am I perfect on all these fronts. Not a day goes by where I don’t wish I had the smarts and the patience to L.I.V.E. more actively. There are some who will see this post and call me out on my mistakes. But every day I try to be a little better. I’ve found following these 4 simple steps are what make for the most satisfying relationships in my life.
Scriptures tells us when we lose our lives we will find them. Think about how you L.I.V.E. with the people in your life. Are you living for your own interests? Or are you living with others in mind?
Start trying to get lost in the lives of those around you. God has placed them in your life for a reason. More importantly, God has placed you into their lives for a reason.
When you get to the point where you stop worrying about yourself and start thinking about you L.I.V.E. for others, than you’ll find more likes than you will know what to do with.
Which of these 4 steps are you already doing well in your life – listening, ingraining, voicing, or engaging? Which could you be doing more of?