If you really want to win friends, forget Dale Carnegie
Last night I was walking my dog Snowy. As we passed a neighbor’s house, their door opened. He ran towards them, fully intent on entering their house. When I apologized, they just laughed.
“We like dogs,” they told me. They then proceeded to coo over him as he did the puppy bow on their lawn, rump raised and tail wagging.
It reminded me of the time I was hiking with my dogs Daisy and Red on an off leash trail years back. Red freaked out for some reason as we approached the parking lot and ran full tilt… into someone else’s vehicle! But the owners, a nice black couple, just smiled at me.
“That’s OK,” they said. “She’s just being friendly.” We chatted for a while before I escorted her to my vehicle.
Small children and dogs can get away with things the rest of us can’t. People excuse their bad behavior. They break the ice in unconventional ways. They create entrees for human interaction the rest of us miss.
When you walk down the street dog-less, unless you are in a small Southern town, no one waves at you or smiles. Most people avoid eye contact.
When you walk down the street with a dog on a leash… it’s different.
Children want to pet the dog. Adults smile and tell you what a beauty he or she is. Sometimes people who are walking their dogs stop and have a chat.
This morning, as I was walking Snowy, a young woman smiled at me from across the street. She called and asked if she could meet my dog.
“Sure,” I called back.
She ran across the street just to pet him.
“How old is he?” she asked.
“He’s 10 months,” I told her.
Astonished because of his size, she called to another young woman across the road in her native tongue.
“What language is that?” I asked her.
“It’s Vietnamese,” she said, shyly. Then she taught me to say “10 months” in Vietnamese, making me repeat it until I got the intonation right.
After a few more minutes of conversation, we exchanged names and walked away. I’d made another new friend thanks to Snowy.
Forget Dale Carnegie. If you want to make friends, just get a dog!