We’ve all met people who’ve left us feeling important and loved. We’re talking about the kind of people who leave us with a huge grin on our faces every time we see them or who we hope will react to our latest status update on social media.
Often, these people don’t even know what they’re doing to make you feel loved. They’re simply being themselves, and they’re leaving you feeling loved as a result of that.
In other cases, it’s very different. For example, politicians go through a huge amount of training to make them more attractive to voters, and it’s not uncommon for them to take on certain types of behavior because they know it’s more likely to make voters respond well to them.
The good news is that we can emulate these tips and tricks that politicians use but for a nobler purpose. We’re not looking for votes; we’re just trying to give a boost to our friends and family and to make them feel happier.
The chances are that you’re doing quite a few of these already, but you just don’t realize it. And so with that in mind, let’s take a look at 12 ways you might unknowingly be making people feel important and loved.
1) You listen to them
The easiest way to make someone feel important is to listen to them.
That’s because when you listen to people, you’re showing them that you’re interested in what they have to say and that you value their time. Otherwise, they’ll feel disrespected and as though you don’t give a damn about whatever they’re talking about.
When you’re listening to someone, try being an active listener. This means asking questions that prompt them to continue talking and demonstrate that you’re listening to what they’re saying.
2) You put your phone down
Contrast actively listening to someone with sitting there and scrolling through your phone while they’re trying to talk to you. That’s a great way of unknowingly (or knowingly) making people feel unimportant.
That’s why it’s so important for you to put your phone down and pay attention. This can be effective in even the most casual of situations, but the more formal the situation, the more important it becomes.
For example, let’s say you’re on a date. If you’re attracted to the person you’re talking to, consider turning your phone off and leaving it in your pocket. Better still, put it face down on the table to make a clear statement that you value their company more than you value your apps and social networking sites.
3) You provide validation
Building on from that point about asking questions and engaging with what people are saying, the next step is to offer up validation.
In other words, you need to show people that you side with them and that their feelings are valid. For example, if they’re upset because their partner hasn’t called them when they said they would, you could validate them by commiserating and saying that their partner is in the wrong.
Validation is important because it shows that you respect the person you’re talking to and that you think that their thoughts and feelings are valid.
4) You celebrate their victories
Celebrating people’s victories will help them to appreciate the good job that they’ve been doing and show that you’ve recognized the hard work they’ve been putting in.
This doesn’t always come naturally, especially if they’ve achieved something that you wanted to achieve yourself. Sometimes, you just have to put your own ego aside.
For me, perhaps the best example of this is when a snooker player scores a 147. It’s the highest possible break and is equivalent to someone having a perfect game of darts or bowling. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, their opponent is usually the first to congratulate them.
5) You remember their names
Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, famously said, “Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
The idea here is pretty simple. We all respond automatically to our own name, which is why we suddenly sit up and listen when we hear our name being used in a TV show or in a public area.
And so if you’re good with names, or even if you’re just the kind of person who goes out of their way to remember names, you’re probably making people feel important whether you know it or not.
And if you’re as bad at remembering names as I am, don’t worry. There are techniques out there to help you.
6) You remember the things they tell you
Speaking of memory, if you remember the things that people say to you, you’ll find it a lot easier to make people feel important.
That’s because you’ll be able to refer back to the things you’ve talked about. You’ll also be able to spot things that you can bring up in future conversations.
For example, if I talk to my friend Dave about guitar effects pedals and then see an interesting YouTube video about them, I might send the link to him. This shows that I was thinking about him even when he wasn’t there and will help to make him feel important.
For some reason, I find it easier to remember the things I talk to people about than I do to remember their names. The good news is that I know my weaknesses, and that means that I’m able to work on them.
7) You go out of your way to see them
We’ve talked about going out of our way to remember things like names and the conversations that we’ve had. Now let’s take a look at going out of our way to see people.
Let’s say you have a friend who’s been having a tough time over the last few weeks. You can stop by their place for a visit or make time in your busy schedule so that the two of you can go out for a coffee.
You don’t need to make a huge amount of time for people to make them feel important. Sometimes it’s enough to pay a flying visit. For example, I’ll often stop by my girlfriend’s place, just to drop off some flowers.
Just bear in mind that you should never just drop in on people without giving them any warning. Consent is important, folks!
8) You offer support and encouragement
Life isn’t always easy, and so by offering people our support and encouragement, we can make their lives a little easier and remind them that they’re important to us.
We could all use a little support and encouragement from time to time, and one of the best ways to be a good friend is to pick up on when your friends need it. If you want them to feel loved, provide them with this support without them having to ask for it.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be difficult to provide this kind of support. It can be as simple as following some of the other points on this list, like going out of your way to see them or celebrating their victories.
9) You have in-jokes
If you haven’t heard the term before, an in-joke is a joke that only a small number of people understand. For example, I only have to say the word “thumb” to my girlfriend and she’ll start laughing.
When you have in-jokes with people, it automatically makes them feel important because they know that they’re one of the “chosen few” who understand it.
To make people feel particularly special, you can have in-jokes that only the two of you understand. The downside to this is that there’s no easy way to create those in-jokes. You just have to wait for them to happen.
10) You value their opinion
People will inevitably give you their opinion, whether you ask them to or not. It’s just a part of modern life.
A lot of that is because of social networking, which has led us all to believe that our opinions need to be heard. That’s why we tell people what we think about the latest new movies or post reviews of the books we read on Amazon.
But with so much noise out there, it’s impossible for us to value everyone’s opinion, because those opinions often run contrary to one another. That’s why we need to pick and choose whose opinions we value.
And so if we value someone’s opinion and we go out of our way to show them, it’s a great way to make them feel special.
11) You have their back
We all like to know that someone’s got our back, and there’s no denying that it makes us feel loved.
I’ve used this example before, but my girlfriend knows I’ve got her back and it enables her to enjoy new experiences and to go out and do things that she wouldn’t otherwise do. It also makes her feel loved.
Of course, it stands to reason that you’ll have someone’s back if you’re in a relationship with them, but you should also do the same for anyone that you care about. If you want people to feel loved, it helps to get started by loving them.
12) You tell them that they’re important and loved
This builds on from that last point and is perhaps the most obvious thing I’m going to tell you today. It’s as simple as this: if you want someone to feel important and loved, one of the best ways to do so is to tell them.
Of course, actions speak louder than words, and so while telling them is a solid first step, it’s even better if you can back that up with your actions. There’s a rule of thumb amongst writers that goes, “Show, don’t tell.”
So at the risk of repeating myself, if you want people to feel loved, you should start by loving them. And then you should show them that you love them through your actions.