There are things which people unanimously love and appreciate; there are things which they collectively dislike. However, there are other things over which people differ; some find them appreciative while others think them as cumbersome. For example, everyone loves to be smiled at and hates to be frowned at; yet, only some appreciate jokes while others do not. Some people may prefer socializing while others would rather be left alone. Some love to talk excessively while others prefer silence. People usually feel comfortable with those who have the same nature as their own self; so why not be pleasing to people of all natures?
Hence, if someone knows that his father prefers silence to excessive talk, then let him deal with his father accordingly, in order to gain his love. If a wife knows that her husband loves jokes, then let her joke with him. If she discovers the opposite, then she should avoid joking with him. The same can be said about a man dealing with his colleagues, neighbours and brothers. Do not think for a moment that people are all of the same nature, for they differ and come in many varieties.
I recall that a righteous old lady, who happens to be the mother of a friend of mine, would praise one of her sons lavishly. She should always be happy, whenever he visited or conversed with her. Even though her other sons and daughters were also kind to her, her heart was attached to this one son in particular. I would wonder about this, so one day I asked my friend why. He replied: “The problem is that my brothers do not comprehend my mother’s nature. They become too cumbersome for her to bear, whenever they sit with her.”
I asked, jokingly: “So your highness was the only one able to discover her nature?”
He laughed and said: “Yes! Allow me to tell you the secret. My mother is like any other aged woman, who loves to talk about womanly issues, such as who got married or divorced, how many sons so-and-so has, which of them is the eldest, what is the name of her first child and so on. I consider all this frivolous, but she loves chatting about it. She feels that the information she shares with me is priceless, as it cannot be found in any book, audio or website. She feels that she is relating unique information to me and is delighted to do so! Whenever I sit with her, I instigate such conversations, and she becomes elated and continues to speak ceaselessly. My brothers talk about issues that do not interest her, and so she feels bored in their company and longs to be in mine! That is all there is to it.”
Yes, if you realize the nature of the one you are conversing with, what he likes and dislikes, you will be able to capture his heart. Whoever looks at the way the Prophet (sa) dealt with people would realize that he would deal with everyone in accordance with their personality.
Adapted (with permission) from “Enjoy Your Life” published by Darussalam. Compiled for Hiba by Bisma Ishtiaq.