According to the Fink (who needs to work on them as well):
- Look at people when they talk to you.
- Always try to greet folks by their name.
- Sometimes, you must apologize when it’s not your fault. It’s OK. You won’t die, and most times, truth will out.
- Don’t assume your personal story is always greater, or your experience is always better. Let someone tell his tale, and then comment on his experience.
- Never start a sentence with “No offense, but…” The listener invariably knows that an offensive comment is next, and then she stops listening in order to concentrate on being offended. Find another way to get your point across.
- Embrace periods of solitude. They recharge and refresh.
- Write. Keep a journal, even if it’s not daily. Write fun things, like wishes for your children’s future, where you’d like to be in 20 years, or something funny that happened yesterday. Not only will it serve as self-therapy, it will be a priceless legacy you leave for your children and grandchildren. After you’re gone, they will treasure it and cling to it.
- To defer is not necessarily a sign of weakness. Don’t ride your opinion pony to the point where you alienate others. Not everyone is dying to hear your take on things.
- Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. I think the Golden Rule has been shortened by some to “Do unto others as they do unto you.” They’re missing the point.
- A derivative of #9: Resist the urge to respond in kind to unkindness. Allow yourself a beat to recover from a hurtful statement, then try to respond in the correct manner. You don’t have to be a pin cushion or whipping boy or punching bag for anyone — but shouting matches rarely solve anything.
- Be OK with agreeing to disagree, without making it personal. I have seen too many relationships struggle (and sometimes fail altogether) because one or both parties simply would not back down and admit they could have been wrong. Wow.
- When you apologize, apologize. No “I justs;” no hanging “buts” allowed.
And there’s the dirty dozen. I definitely need to get to work on some of them. And now I need to get to work, period. Yikes!