I’m not much of a Netflix binge-er. I have a hard time getting into any shows. But I do like watching movies with my boys, and once in a great while, I will even watch a movie alone, usually on an airplane. Anyway, last week I watched It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. I loved it. Tom Hanks was a very convincing Mr. Rogers. The same day I finished watching the movie, Will read me a quote from a book. He’s an obsessive reader and I benefit from him sharing tidbits he knows I’ll appreciate as he tears through everything from leadership to history to theology. Honestly, one of my favorite things is to be sitting beside my reading man and hear the words, “Listen to this…” Last Saturday, Will read to me about Joe Girard, who was evidently the world’s greatest car salesman. Girard claimed the secret of his success was getting customers to like him.
Each month he sent every one of his more than thirteen thousand former customers a holiday greeting card containing a personal message. The holiday greeting changed from month to month (Happy New Year or Happy Thanksgiving, etc), but the message printed on the face of the card never varied. It read, “I like you.” As Joe explained it, “There’s nothing else on the card. Nothin’ but my name. I’m just telling ‘em that I like ‘em.”Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
We laughed about how this tactic actually worked, and then Will said, “I wonder if Bob ever sent cards out or anything.”
Bob Staples is our brother-in-law (my sister’s husband). In a sense, Bob is the Girard of his generation. He has sold cars for decades and has the most loyal customer base imaginable.
“I doubt he sent cards,” I said. “He wouldn’t need to. He genuinely exudes, ‘I like you.’”
It was just an off-handed remark, but the truth of it, coupled with the “I like you-ness” of Fred Rogers has really left me thinking about how important this is. Bob is handsome and kind, but I bet his customers keep coming back again and again because they feel liked. In fact, it’s not just a feeling. Bob likes people. People know when they are liked. People like to be liked. Do you shed an “I like you” vibe wherever you go?
In today’s culture, even though we have added that little thumbs up button, there’s a real void of liking. We seem to be obsessed, more than ever, with who we CAN like and new demarcations arise almost daily. You are NOT wearing a mask? I don’t like you. You ARE wearing a mask while driving alone in your car? I don’t like you. You left your house when you could’ve stayed home? I don’t like you. You refuse to affirm or condemn exactly what I affirm or condemn? I don’t like you.
But gentle, dear Mr. Rogers had it right in his sweet little song:
I like you as you are. Exactly and precisely. I think you turned out nicely. And I like you as you are.
Some people like Bob Staples and Fred Rogers have a much easier time liking people. It doesn’t come as naturally to everyone, but it helps to remind ourselves that each and every person has been made in the very image of God and is worthy of dignity and respect.
Of course, Jesus took the concept much further. Not only are we to love our neighbors as ourselves, the standard is even higher than that. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 ESV.
How are you doing on loving your enemies? Are you praying for those who persecute you? I don’t think you can without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Yet, with God all things are possible!
Thanks for reading! I like you! And I hope you have a fabulous weekend loving and praying for even your enemies.
P.S. The picture above is from five years ago but illustrates just how much Bob exudes “I like you.” This massive dude, Brian, was in a gym where Bob was shooting hoops with my sons. In a matter of seconds, and in a very subtle way, Bob made such pals with Brian, that Brian played along with telling Sam, who was seven, that Bob had whooped Brian in a wrestling match. Brian even suggested that he had gotten that big in hopes of having a rematch with Bob. It was priceless, and yet Sam found it so believable that he was extremely concerned about how his Uncle Bob would fare in the rematch!