How to Win Friends
A True Story
on Sep 29, 2018
The other day, I was leafing through an old Reader's Digest magazine when I came across a brilliant article that said having friends is the secret to a long and happy life. Friends, the article said, help us cope with the difficulties of life. They also boost our immune system.
Because friends are that valuable, I decided to write and share with you, my dear reader, three lessons I learnt on how to make friends from several sources including Dale Carnegie's evergreen How to Win Friends & Influence People. Only two lessons.
The first is to remember people's names because a person's moniker is the sweetest word to him. I can testify that is very true from a personal experience I had when I was Fourth Form at Starehe Boys' Centre. Well, I was playing football with my schoolmates when a popular, handsome chap of Indian descent named Michael Mahinda called out my name "Thuita." I felt so honoured to be known by a person of Mahinda's calibre. (By the way, Michael Mahinda was killed in a motorbike accident earlier on in this decade. May his soul rest in peace.)
So it is true that if you want to make friends, try to remember the names of people you'd like to win as buddies.
Some years back, I invented a trick of making a name stick in my memory when I first meet a person who is new to me. That's by having a short discussion about the person's name. For example, if someone tells me he is called Owen, I reply, "Oh, so you are Owen? You remind me of an England striker who was called Michael Owen." Such kind of chatter, as unnecessary as it might seem to be, has helped me to remember the names of people when they first introduce themselves to me.
The second lesson on how to win friends, which I learnt from the Dale Carnegie's book I have told you about, is to compliment people whenever they say or do something excellent. And that actually works because I know from personal experience how great it feels to be complimented for a job well done. Like my happiest moments these days is when I post a story in this lovely blog of mine and someone out there appreciates it.
Everybody wants to be admired and appreciated. Therein lies the third lesson on how to win friends: that is, make people feel important. So look for ways to make the folks you want to bag as friends feel important.
When I talk of making people feel important, I am reminded of a schoolmate in high school who once asked me my name. Upon telling him I am Thuita Maina, he blurted out, "Oh, you are the famous Thuita Maina!"
That schoolmate may not have known it but he did make me feel important. Such is the kind of way of making people feel admired and appreciated.
In a nutshell, if you want to win friends - remember people's names, compliment them for a job well done and look for ways to make them feel important. Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on how to win friends, you might also enjoy another one I wrote on "Bidding a Friend Farewell." Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Models of Generosity
A True Story
on Sep 27, 2018
St. Paul authored thirteen books in the Bible known as epistles which are so full of wonderful and life-nourishing words of wisdom. I have come to love and adore those epistles so much that I have began memorizing verses from them. Like today, I have memorized the following lines from 1st Timothy 6:17-19:
Command the rich people of this world not to be arrogant nor put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way, they will lay up for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.Thank you so much St. Paul for those wonderful and life-nourishing words of wisdom. Now let me take it from there.
When I think of living examples of those lines I have quoted above, the first people who pop up in my mind are Mr. & Mrs. Moore - the wonderful couple I have told you about in the photo above who hail from the bountiful U.S. state of Indiana. Mr. Moore taught me History while Mrs. Moore taught me English - both in junior high school.
Although I was never a star student in their classes, the Moores inspired me to learn more with their dedication and creativity. They went out of their way to give us files for arranging our papers and expanded our knowledge beyond what was required of us in the curriculum. Like Mr. Moore had us know that Guglielmo Marconi was the inventor of the radio. And that 50% of the world's wealth is in the United States. (I am not sure if that's still the case given the recent rise of India, Brazil and China as world powers.) If my memory serves me well, I also recall hearing that Mr. Moore was a schoolmate of Neil Armstrong, the first man to land on the moon.
That the Moores cared deeply about our education was revealed in the way they invited a senior staff member of Starehe called Mr. Kennedy Hongo to one of their classes to lecture us on the dangers and spread of HIV/AIDS. I enjoyed listening to Mr. Hongo; his lecture probably explains why I have refrained from engaging in pre-marital sex. And going by the HIV test I took last year, I am thankfully glad to report that I am negative in so far as having that deadly virus is concerned.
Not only did I appreciate the Moores for the dedication in teaching but also for their unending generosity. They used to lend me newspapers when I was in Form 2 which made me stay abreast of what was happening in Iraq during the Gulf War 2 that was engendered by the Bush administration following the infamous 9/11 attacks. And my education at Starehe, as I have pointed out in the caption of the photo above, was sponsored by the Moore Foundation. Actually, it's their son - Mr. Mark Moore - who sponsored me under the umbrella of the foundation.
We, the Moore Foundation fellows, were always treated with special dinners and trips. We feasted on sumptuous dishes at the school canteen on special occasions, went golfing at 5-star hotels and toured the Nairobi National Museum. Can you see how generous they were?
One Saturday afternoon in 2003 or 2004, we went to an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi called Village Market where we played bowling, a game I never knew about before. I found bowling to be fun that afternoon. Unhappily, I have never had another opportunity to play bowling since then.
By taking us to such plush places, the Moores must have been trying to show us that there was another side of life besides the poverty we were used to. But that's a lesson that never hit home in me im those days.
I have kept in touch with the Moores over the years, including at one time when I begged fees for my university education from them but they replied that they don't sponsor anyone beyond Starehe years. And I was a bit saddened when Mrs. Moore informed me that Mr. Moore passed away on 22nd May of 2016.
For some reasons, Mrs. Moore has tactfully refused to share with me the contacts of Mr. Mark Moore, her step-son who I have already told you sponsored my education at Starehe. Maybe she fears I might pester him with pleas for financial help. But I want to let her know, if she's reading this story of mine, that I have matured up. As in, I no longer nag people for help and I nowadays don't dish out contacts of important people in my life to friends and strangers alike.
All told, the Moores were a generous couple, willing to share their wealth and knowledge with children of humble backgrounds. They were the kind of people St. Paul would describe to have taken hold of the life that is truly life. I thank God for having let them cross my life. And I have resolved that should I ever get a chance to visit the United States, the most successful nation in history and the land of my heroes, I will have to drop by their home in Indiana to catch up. So help me God.
 Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of International Bible Society. All rights reserved worldwide.