Are you cool or funny? What does it take to be likeable?

I asked my daughter if I was funny. She said yes. I asked how funny? She said “medium”. “Can you write a joke for me and put it into the lunchbox for me?” I asked if she wanted a medium funny joke. She said yes. Ten minutes later, she said she didn’t want it. I asked if she didn’t think I was funny any more. She said, “you’re still medium funny but I just don’t want a joke.”

She is 8 right now. So, she finds me amusing. I am sure by the time 13 hits, I will be a complete and utter embarrassment to her. Not funny, not cool and I think in her eyes my I.Q. will plummet. I am getting ready for it. Right now I just like to hear the answers.

I ask her a lot of questions and then say, “tell me more about that.” Trying to teach her a little bit about the Dale Carnegie system of how to be interesting by being Interested. She doesn’t really understand that right now.

I am trying to teach her about not having to compete with other people’s stories. This is called upping the ante. She doesn’t need to do that. We all want to do it because everyone’s favorite subject is about themselves. If you are the one asking the questions, you are the one in control of the conversation. No one likes a bragger. Well, maybe it’s just me. I don’t like a bragger but I understand it is out of that persons need for significance and connection so I play with it and acknowledge the need by giving it to them. Likeability is huge in the marketplace. If people don’t like you, you are going to have a tough time. People don’t want to deal with you unless they have to deal with you.

Keys to being likeable
don’t lie
don’t be the smelly kid
don’t brag
don’t be a conversation hog
limit your complaining

OK, that’s enough of what not to do
Here’s what to do
Be genuine
Be nice
Be a good listener
Ask people about themselves
Be generous
Be thankful

By the way, her dad is also medium funny, so we are in good company. I find him medium funny as well *but I think I am more funny than his medium funny.

Friends are like underwear

Coming home from a family vacation last year, my daughter was talking about her friend, Chloe. They had been in the same school for 6 years together and she was wondering about the likelihood of friendship for the length of time.
In my brilliance, I said to her, friends are like underwear, sometimes you grow out of them.
This led to a whole new list of how they correlated which after a while just plain annoyed her, but I will be happy to share how, indeed they are like underwear:
Some times they just come in the pack
Some you have for a long time because they are reliable
Some just don’t match
Some make you feel good
Some crawl up your butt
Some just make it out for special occasions
Sometimes you lose them
Some are cheap
Sometimes it’s easier to go without them
Some don’t fit
Some you like and don’t care what others think about them
Some keep up turning up
Some are holy
Some rub you the wrong way
Some are tight
Some are loose
Some make you feel uncomfortable
And, some are just your favorites.

The brilliance of this is you get to decide.

Bullying, or not?

My nephew is 10 years old. Recently he received detention for get this, calling another little boy “annoying”. No curse words, no bruising, biting, punching or kicking occurred. But it hurt this little boy’s feelings so my nephew received a punishment. This was also paired with a letter, not from the teacher or principal, but the superintendent of schools. Seriously!? Because this is considered bullying. My goodness, I say the boy ought to man up or the next time he annoys someone, he might get punched.
This is like poking a sleeping bear. If you antagonize people long enough, no one is going to like you.
Basic needs psychology explains this by the need for connection, certainty, variety and attention. People do what works in order to stand out. If you don’t get good positive attention, you will create negative attention.
Bringing this on to my daughter. She has a very muscular build for her age. She is not a stick figure. Last week, a girl said “move it, fatty.” It broke my heart because I was also made fun of for my size. Eating disorders are affecting girls as young as 8 and 10 year olds simply because of the media.
I cannot always be there to fight her battles for her.
My teaching to her was this

there is always going to be that mean girl. The quicker you learn not to pay attention to them, the better the quality of your life will be. You guard what is in your head and don’t let them in.

Teaching a daughter

I have the beautiful opportunity to live with and learn from an amazing little girl. She has taught me so much. When she was an infant, she taught me patience in a major way.
I am a dentist. I am also a solo owner of a practice. Having employees rely on me to support their families had me delay starting a family. When I announced I was pregnant and was needing time off for recovery, my hygienist announced she had found another job because I could not provide her the stability that a single parent needed.
Doing the research, I thought I could come back to work in 10 days after having her. No problem, right? I am an overachiever finishing dental school and college In a record amount of time. I set a goal. Of course I could master breast feeding in his amount of time as well. Millions of women do this around the world so how hard could it be?
Ha! This was the hardest time of my life! After 7 days of trying to get nutrition to her, the pain and suffering matched no task I had ever attempted. Yup, nothing the matter with formula supplementation at this point. OK,time to use the breast pump. Trying to get laundry done and her calmed to take a nap led me to believe I was going crazy.
I am a task master. I don’t like being interrupted. Didn’t she know this? Wasn’t she hanging out with me for 9 months she should know my routine. We needed to get on to the next phase of business. She was crying, I was crying. I couldn’t keep track of the math of when she ate, how often she needed changing,when she slept, when I slept. Who knew. What a blur.
Then I realized I needed to get back to work, people depended on me. I shortened my maternity leave and came back slowly-3 days per week compared to 4. What a knucklehead and missed opportunity.
I was worried about losing my business and my employees and my patients because I had lost key employees. My hygienist came back and stayed taking good care of my clients for 5 more years following her brief stint at another office.
I had a choice to make and unfortunately for both of us,wasn’t her at the time. I missed that magical bonding time and falling into a routine that is deep seeded on love.

My teaching to her is this –

time is the most precious commodity. Once it is spent you can never get it back. If you don’t have the time to do it right the first time, you won’t have the time to do it over.