Dear Next Generation: ‘Make Me Feel Important’

By Dear Next Generation
Dear Next Generation
Dear Next Generation
August 20, 2021 Updated: August 23, 2021

Everyone has a sign around their neck saying “Make Me Feel Important.”

When our Harley Davidson motorcycle club rode to visit Guide Dogs for the Blind in Bradenton, Florida, we all sat in a big circle on the floor. Then they released the puppies into the room all at once. Never in my life have I seen such a storm of affection. With tails wagging, face-licking enthusiasm, and just plain joy, the puppies happily greeted every one of us. Our most hardened guys melted.

That’s the epitome of and secret of “Make Me Feel Important.” If it’s important enough for you to meet someone in the first place, do it enthusiastically—look them in the eye, smile, and wag your tail.

I once had a dear friend who always displayed such enthusiasm. For example, if you ever asked George to do something with you such as get a cup of coffee, he’d never simply say OK, but instead loudly reply, “I’d love one.” And George genuinely appeared always glad to see you even when you know, in real life, that is not always possible. Later on, when I attended a memorial service for him at a very large St. Petersburg church, the sanctuary was overflowing with his friends. Police had to be hired to control parking and direct traffic. Those people and others were George’s life.

But there is also a downside to hail-fellow-well-met type enthusiastic people. You absolutely must be honest and genuine.

There is nothing worse than a flattering type, “phony” person who is merely patronizing you. And when such a phony pays you a blatantly insincere compliment, it becomes an insult.

Mark Twain said he could live for six weeks on a good compliment. But he also added that any insincere compliment is an insult. And that any attempted apology for such an insult often becomes a second insult.

So look for something genuinely good about a person you are meeting and then, and only then, honestly compliment them on it.

And always remember to smile and wag your tail.

Elmer Johnson


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