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Human Relations Principle #18 to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

“Three-fourths of the people you will ever meet are hungering and thirsting for sympathy. Give it to them, and they will love you.”

~Dale Carnegie


Human Relations Principle #18: Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.

(“What everybody wants.”)

(This is the eighteenth in a series of articles where I will encapsulate each of Dale Carnegie’s timeless, life-changing principles for dealing with people. (Adapted from How to Win Friends and Influence People.))*

When we apologize and sympathize with others’ viewpoints, they tend to apologize and sympathize with ours.

Wouldn’t you like to have a magic phrase that would stop arguments, eliminate ill feeling, create good will, and make the other person listen attentively? Yes? All right. Here it is:

“I don’t blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do.”

And you can say that and be 100 percent sincere, because if you were the other person you, of course, would feel just as he or she does.

Remember, the people who come to you irritated, bigoted, unreasoning, deserve very little discredit for being what they are. Feel sorry for the poor devils. Pity them. Sympathize with them. Say to yourself: “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

When you receive a troubling or condemning letter, email or text that you feel compelled to defend in anger. By all means write out your reply… but don’t send it. Sit on it for two days. Then take it out, read it, and notice that you most likely have less emotion around the situation and a whole new perspective. Probably a different approach, tone and course of action has come to mind that will better serve all concerned.

Dr. Arthur Gates, author of Educational Psychology, said . . .


“Sympathy the human species universally craves. The child eagerly displays his injury; or even inflicts a cut or bruise in order to reap abundant sympathy. For the same purpose adults show their bruises, relate their accidents, illness, especially details of surgical operations. ‘Self-pity’ for misfortunes real or imaginary is, in some measure, practically a universal practice.”

Today, let’s chose to return kindness for insult and be sympathetic with others’ ideas and desires.

Much success and fulfillment with mastering human relations,



* The best guide on effective human relations that I have ever encountered is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, published in 1936. Prior to writing the book, Carnegie spent 20 years researching the habits of successful people. The book has sold over 30 million copies and is still listed on Amazon’s top 100 best selling books.

Other articles within this series you may enjoy:

3 Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

6 Ways to Make People Like You

12 Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

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