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Your Disposition Counts

 My husband (who has a very sunny disposition) and I took a flight recently and we had to book special assistance at the airport for him to be able to use a wheelchair. It’s a service provided independently to the airline so there’s a separate desk you have to go to in order to ‘check-in’ for the service. Once you’ve checked in, you are then allocated to an ‘agent’ who’s the man or woman who’ll be pushing you all the way to your ‘gate’.

We had booked special assistance for both trips – out and return – and as a result we came across different people doing the same jobs in quick succession. What was so interesting to me was how each individuals disposition completely affected their experience of my husband (the one in the wheelchair).

My husband has a great gift of conversation. He’s really easy to talk to and is brilliant at engaging anyone in conversation.

Of the 4 wheelchair pushers and minibus drivers that we experienced, 3 were delightful and each one got into a friendly and interesting conversation with my husband. I don’t think it’s bragging to say but these conversations probably had the effect of ‘brightening up their day’. (I was amazed to hear that these people get a lot of abuse in their job most days from the very customers they are helping!)

But one person was very closed and very reluctant to talk. Now that’s fine – we have no idea what was going on for them that day or in their life. But as a result, they had a ‘pushing journey’ that was devoid of interest or laughter.

The one variable in all this was the ‘pusher’. It struck me that how life goes for us is greatly affected by our disposition and how, as a result, we interact with others and how they interact with us. Those ‘pushers’ who were open to conversation ended up having a great ‘journey’ with my husband. These people walk miles every day – and there’s no doubt that an interesting conversation would help the miles go by – compared to silence which probably makes the day go much slower and harder.

You’ll most likely have heard me say before (and if not me then others) that the only person you can change is yourself. If you change the way you come across to others (your disposition) you’ll find you get different results.

I don’t think I have such a naturally sunny disposition as my husband. He certainly elicits very different responses from people to me. So sometimes I try to copy what he’s doing/saying, and it always amazes me how when I do, I then get different results. Sometimes I think types of people are unfriendly (for example bus drivers or rubbish collectors). But then if I change the way I behave around them – copying my husband to be ever so much more friendly and smiley – lo and behold they are suddenly really friendly!  (9 times out of 10). So, it was really all about me and my disposition and not about them being unfriendly! They were responding to perhaps my unfriendliness rather than being inherently unfriendly themselves.

It’s hard to see this if you’re on your own as you have no comparisons – which is why I noticed it so clearly at the airport as I accompanied my husband with the special assistance he needed.

Perhaps reading this you already think you have a sunny disposition that can’t be improved. And I’m sure that’s the case. But just in case you could possibly get a friendlier response from ‘strangers’ (and definitely think people you are contacting as potential first dates here) it’s worth experimenting with your disposition. Try being different to how you naturally are. A good place to experiment with this is at the supermarket check out (another place which I imagine customer interaction varies massively). See what different results you get.

If you are naturally shy and untalkative and unsmiling – try being the opposite.

If you are naturally talkative and smiley, try being the opposite.

The point is to see the effect you have on others – and then to realize that the same thing is happening with your dating.

If your dating is going really well then you probably haven’t got anything to change – but just in case it isn’t – and you aren’t getting the response you want or had hoped for, then the thinking and suggestions in this article may just be the thing you need to implement to improve things for you.