The Real Secret is a different kind of self help. We debunk the empty promises of so many books and DVDs and bring you a simple, sensible approach to real life fulfillment. We don't believe you can achieve happiness, or anything else, by simply wishing for, thinking about or visualising it. Our book - and this blog - takes only the best of what really works and turns it into a positive, practical 12-step programme that will enable you to take control of your life and raise your happiness levels.

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The Real Secret is simple, sensible, scientifically supported self help
by Lucy McCarraher & Annabel Shaw


How To Be Loved

When it comes to making friends and influencing others there are some basic rules you should be aware of - I say should. I mean definitely should.

Step One : Don’t Try Too Hard To Please
You know those people that always seem to be trying so hard to please? Remember teachers' pets? Mummy's little helper? Yes, those ones. Irritating aren’t they? Instead of making the rest of us feel good about them they simply make us feel bad about ourselves - actually, no they don’t. They are just irritating.

People who try too hard to please always respond immediately to any request for help. They reply to emails instantly, as if they were just sitting there waiting for you to send them. They already do most of the domestic chores without so much as a grumble and then when you need some extra ironing done or the kettle needs replacing or the office party arranged - there’s the person. This kind of behaviour always brings out the worst in me. I am obviously perverse. I see that you are too. Am I right? Well, if you are then good. Very good. But if you happen to be the other kind - the kind that tries too hard and doesn’t understand why people are still never happy with you, well here’s why. Sensitive types please try to be strong - I’m giving advice here that the rest of us don’t really want you to know in case it stops you making us tea.

People who try too hard to please are irritating because they seem so needy; they want to be my friend. They want to be seen as ‘nice’ people and so they think if they do all the washing up then I’ll like them even more.

Well I don’t. I never liked them in the first place. I would rather have rude than needy - at least I can shout at rude. Needy would probably just fall to bits and start crying. Do you see what I mean? And that’s why, instead of making more friends they tend to lose the ones they thought they had. Well, after they’ve made the boss a cup of tea and cleaned up the staff room. Naturally.

Well that’s the short of it and now comes the long, hard bit where I tell you what to do and you do it and then afterwards you thank me. Yes, that’s right - you do the work and I get the thanks. Bear with me - it’ll all make sense in the end.

How to stop trying too hard to please
First, if you do do the lion's share of domestic chores then pick a couple of these chores and just stop doing them. For example, do not unstack the dish washer for a week (it’ll take a week to work). Wash only your clothes and leave the rest. Stop making the tea at work.

Second, don’t respond to emails immediately. Leave them for at least a few hours and overnight if you can bear it. It is better to be seen as someone who is reliable because they always respond within 24 hours than to be seen as someone who responds immediately, because on the rare occasion when you can’t respond immediately you’ll only be seen as under-performing.

Third, begin the process of training the people you live and work with to not always expect you to say yes to any request. Say instead that you’ll think about it - and then 2 out of 5 times say no, sorry, can’t do. You do not need to explain yourself. There is nothing in the rule book that says you have to explain yourself when asked to do a favour - although you can of course be polite and say “Sorry - busy” if you really feel you have to, but there you go again being a bit too understanding. Children might have a problem to start with but just remember that it's good for them. No-one wants a dishcloth for a parent or a colleague and certainly not as a partner. If they want a cleaner they can go hire one. You are a parent/colleague/friend not their doormat. It’s not difficult to say no - it just takes practise. Works a treat once they get the hang of it and begin to see a brand new more interesting you.

So that’s step one. Now step two is a little more tricky and you’ll just have to trust me on this one - but there is good evidence to support me so just do as I say and see how it works. Don’t even think of doing this step until step one has been well mastered - it’ll just confuse people.

Step Two : Ask for Favours
This is called the Ben Franklin Effect. This states that people like you more if they have done a favour for you than if you have done a favour for them.

“He that has once done you a kindness, will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged”

So don’t go bending backwards to do others favours. Ask for favours of them. Asking others to do you a favour works because it so happens that we all tend to favour  people we once helped. Its called Cognitive Dissonance, if you want to look it up. We are so shallow that we just hate the idea of helping someone we don’t like - so to make it easy we tell ourselves that they are our friend. Why? Because we once helped them. Exactly the opposite behaviour we started out with.

Finally, here's a little test to see what stage you're at. What comes after ‘S’ in the alphabet? Correct. Thank you so much - I take two sugars. You failed - go back to step one and repeat.
 I can see you are thanking me already.

Post by Annabel who's had a tough day because there was no-one to make the tea.

The Real Secret can help with issues of self esteem and positive attitude, making and keeping friends and maintaining good relationships. It is available in paperback and kindle format on and .

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