How to Be Great at Relating, #2: Share Your Successes Graciously

What do you do when you really want to share a personal achievement with someone but there’s a conflict? It can greatly intensify our pleasure and satisfaction to celebrate a success with someone else. How can you enjoy that, without appearing arrogant or off-putting?

In our first How to Be Great at Relating blogpost, Carlos told a friend that he’d gotten into college. Imagine yourself in Carlos’s position. You’ve just been accepted to your top college. This should be a purely happy moment, right? Yet there may be many reasons why you struggle to share this news with people. Maybe your parents will balk at the price tag. Perhaps your friends will be crushed that you’re moving three time zones away. Your peers might turn green with envy. These people wish you well, yet at the same time they may struggle to join in your joy.

There are specific ways that you can help people celebrate your good times with you. Here are the don’ts and do’s:

    • DON’T tell someone your good news when they’re in a foul mood. Ask yourself if the person you want to tell is distracted, distressed, tired, sick, overwhelmed, hurried, or for any reason unlikely to be receptive to happy news. If the answer is “yes” to any of these, wait for a time when the answer is no.
  • DO tell the person when they are likely to appreciate good news. Hint: the person will seem at ease, will act as though they have time for you, and will appear interested in what you are saying.
    • DON’T tell someone who has just received bad news. It’s highly unlikely that an individual would be ready to hurrah with you if they’ve just had the wind taken out of their sails.
  • DO tell the person who is likely to be genuinely happy for you. This person likely cares deeply about you and feels secure about how things are going in his or her own life.
    • DON’T forget who you’re speaking to. Consider whether anything about your news might hit a nerve for the person, given her or his past history, personality, and values.
  • DO customize your story to the listener. Make it easy for the person to be excited with you by connecting the good news to things that are important to him or her. Draw attention to how your news is relevant to your relationship, memories you share together, or the person’s interests.
    • DON’T forget to express thanks. It is easier to be glad for someone who demonstrates humility by acknowledging those people who made the good news possible.
  • DO show gratitude to your listener. Thank the person for kindly sharing your happy moment. You can do this by saying thank-you and through appreciative body language, like smiles and hugs.

The next time you are bursting to share your great news with someone, use the guidelines above to help you best present your successes. Which tips worked especially well? How can you use those even more effectively in future interactions? If you learn to be considerate of the person listening to your good news, you can maximize your own pleasure in the sharing and use the celebration to strengthen and brighten your relationship!