People do not like being told what to do. Yet we want to share things with them. Why not invite them? Invitation is one of the most clear and powerful ways to lead and interact with other human beings.
Invitation works really well if you tell them what you are going to do and then invite them to join you. For example, “I am going to the free concert in the park tomorrow, would you like to join me?” While this seems very simple, it keeps things incredibly clear. It first lets them know where you stand and what you are going to do, and secondly, invites them to be a part of it.
It transforms an interaction that could be perceived as
controlling into an invitation. It also takes the confusion and indecisiveness out of the interaction. So you’re not asking each other, “What do you want to do? I don’t know. What do you want to do?”
There is just not a lot the invitee can do to make this anything but a clear and positive experience. Everybody likes to be invited. They may say no, but they still like the fact that you thought about and invited them.
In essence, you are inviting people to become part of a shared experience with you. You are reaching out to them in a non-threatening way. Shared experiences are the foundation for creating connection and intimacy with people. It also allows people to experience being part of something. Through invitation you can move through life continually opening doors for other people. It is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to make a difference.
And don’t take it personally when they say no. Your job is to open the door, theirs is to step inside. Keep in mind that if they do not accept your invitation, it is about them and not about you.
Keep inviting people.
About the Author
I, Michael Hoffman, am a licensed psychotherapist, teacher, and author with 25 years experience in counseling and teaching experiential workshops. I have maintained this blog since 2009, and my second book Natural Way of Being will published in 2019.
I offer in-person and video-conferencing counseling, intensive workshops, and online courses to allow participants to directly experience their natural way of being and the life they would have for themselves.