“Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life.”-Pythagoras
With every goal you have in life, people will always be a critical part of it. How fast you reach your goals depends on how well you deal with people and the level of influence you have on them. In order to really influence people you must become a person who is likable.
How do you become likable? You must have a sincere interest in other people. Every person on this earth wants to feel important, so you need to treat everyone with the up most importance, because they deserve it. Remember no one is better than you and you are not better than anyone, we are all human beings who deserve the same amount of respect.
Becoming Likable: Setting the Stage
Your goal in meeting people should be to consciously be the first to initiate and set the stage for conversation. Most people are hesitant to be the first, don’t be like most people, step out of your comfort zone. I know that if you are a shy person that this can be one of the hardest things for you to do, but the more you do it, the easier it will get and eventually it will become second nature.
As a small kid I used to be really shy but I noticed that the kids that where outgoing tended to be the happier kids, so I began to step out of my comfort zone and now I feel I can walk up to almost anyone. This is going to take time; things don’t happen over night but don’t let this discourage you. Many people feel that for you to become proficient in something takes around five years. Don’t waste anytime, start today and each day after that will get easier.
Each different experience will later serve as a reference to remind you, that you can approach almost anyone. By being the first to initiate conversation you also automatically have a certain degree of control, you are able to draw people into your own rhythms. Have you ever noticed how persuasive people are able to seduce you to their ways, dictating your body language and basically synchronizing it to theirs? This is because people naturally imitate other people as a way of communicating with the other person. So if you are the first you get to decide what angle to approach. If the person you are approaching appears sad, approach them with a big confident smile. Odds are they will slowly begin to smile; you will automatically change their mood. Now you will have a better chance of having a better conversation.
In setting the stage you will need to train your self to pick up any subtle signals that the person you are approaching is giving off. With time you will be able to sum up a person in a blink of an eye and from what your subconscious catches use it help you set the stage. This will require you to have an open mind and immerse your self in as many different worlds and cultures as possible. That’s why I never limit my self to one particular set of friends. I have friends from all sorts of backgrounds. I have friends who are skaters, basketball players, artists, musicians, writers, etc. By having so many friends with diverse interests I quickly learn about their worlds.
By knowing what kind of stage to set up you will know how to get the other person to think very highly of you. For example by being observant you will catch the subtleties in the way a person appears to be (The way he is dressed, body language, tone of voice, language, etc.) which will help you to imagine placing your self in there shoes. By really imagining what being that person is like it will give you a good idea of how he/she is feeling. This in turn helps you get a better idea of what appproach to use when trying to communicate effectively with them.
When I am able to pick up persons subtleties I will know what topics, questions, and general things that appeal to them which gives me information to work with in the process of winning that person as a friend. Like if know this person is really passionate about cars, I will ask a question with the minimum knowledge I have about something that he knows or thinks he knows a lot about.
Now you set the stage for “Mike” who will love to tell me exactly why the Mitsubishi EVO is better. When someone is knowledgeable about something it’s in their nature to tell you because it is one more opportunity for them to show how great or smart they are. You have to cater to their ego and never test or contradict their ideas, because their ego will not accept someone who is supposed to know less tell them they are possibly wrong. If I would have told him that I heard that the Subaru WRX is better, we would have just gotten in an argument that he would not have backed out of. But I didn’t and now they will love me for it, because I was taking interest into what he enjoys. Nobody wins in an argument.
The Importance of Body Language
Whenever you approach someone for the very first time your body language will do most of the talking and the other person will immediately have a first impression of you. So you must always be aware that whatever you say your body is also in agreement. If you say one thing and your body says the opposite you will come out as someone fake. We have all seen the girl that walks up to another girl and says “I’m so happy to see you…how you been?….you look so good…” but their body language is saying “what are you doing here….I’m not really listening to what your saying” this is easily seen and can be one of the rudest things you can do in trying to make new friends.
Always approach someone with open gestures and a smile. If you approach someone with crossed arms, this will automatically make the other person defensive and question your motives. Approach them with open arms and a gentle smile, smiling is infectious if the other person has a stern look on their face the moment you approach them with a smile you will gradually notice that they will smile too. This usually sets it up for a good conversation because both people are in good moods. Try this – if you’re in a neutral mood right now, put a big smile on your face for no reason if you pay attention you can feel your body changing and your mood immediately start to change. People who are in good moods will place a lot more importance to what you have to say.
Questions and Listening
Your next goal is to sincerely try to find out as much as you can about the person. Ask quality questions; find out what is important to the person, goals, beliefs, interests, etc. The key is to be sincere so the person feels comfortable and is more likely to open up. Try to have a calm demeanor refrain from being overly eager as this might scare the person. You must be able to match the mood of the person. If the person is excited to tell you a story you must become excited as well. If the person is telling you a sad story you must show sincere empathy. Be open minded and really listen to the person.
Listening: Try to listen at least twice as much as you talk. Listening requires more than just pretending to listen or simply hearing a person talk. Listening and hearing are two completely different things and the person can tell if you’re really listening to them, or simply hearing them speak. Being a good listener is a skill, you must become an active listener. Remember this is all about the other person, who cares if you don’t get to talk about your self. In the end the other person will love you for it. They will tell their friends “Man I really enjoyed talking to that person”….why is that? Was he a very interesting person? “You know what…I really don’t know why…I really don’t know much about him”
This shouldn’t bother you because in the end you greatly benefited from the situation as well. If you’re an effective listener you will gain a better understanding of that person’s thoughts, perspectives, feelings and actions. You have to remember that most people would rather talk than listen, but most of the time this person is not very influential. Take this as an opportunity to become more persuasive and influential.
Sometimes the problem with most people is that listening to them doesn’t have much value. They feel that in order to get people to like them they must do a great deal of the talking. Think about that for a minute, how do you like it when another person is talking so much that when you try and say something they still keep talking. You eventually quit listening to that person because you got to annoyed. Now sometimes you don’t need to do most of the listening, you constantly need to evaluate the situation. Sometimes people really want to hear what you have to say. In this situation still try and get the other person involved and flip around the question that they just asked you.
People Who Talk Too Much
1. People always talk about them behind their backs.
2. In group settings they feel they always need to say something just to feel like they are contributing.
4. They ask questions that they already have the answers too.
5. Because they are so focused on having something to say aren’t even listening to what someone is saying.
People Who Listen Effectively
1. Get the whole picture, than they can act accordingly.
2. Everyone loves a good listener so you will make tons of friends.
3. No one talks bad about you, who ever said “man that kid just loves to listen too much”
Good listening is going to really take effort. The reason is that people can think a lot faster than people can speak. What ends up happening is that you begin to think of other things as that person is speaking. Than you become consumed with those thoughts. Next thing you know the other person asks you “So than do you think I did the right thing”. You weren’t listening so you have no idea what to say. This is one of biggest turn offs in trying to become friends with that person.
Things to Avoid When Listening
- Don’t Interrupt: Because you have the upper hand by thinking faster than someone who is speaking, you will become tempted to interrupt. Don’t because the other person will get the feeling that you don’t care what they are saying and want to bring back the topic of conversation to you. The other person might also have great momentum going in telling you a story, but when you interrupt them their story doesn’t carry as much feeling when they go back to speaking. You also show that you are one of those people who enjoy speaking more than being a good listener. When you interrupt you are also making assumptions of what you think the other person is about to say. This might cause you to miss out completely different information. Because you interrupted them the other person might not even want to continue telling you about it.
- Don’t Finish Other Peoples Sentences
- Don’t Offer Advice Too Soon
Compliments + Appreciation
The way to make people feel important is through sincere compliments and appreciation. Most people go out their way to do something, to get other people to notice them, yet most people don’t. Get in the habit of noticing the little things about people. In the end the little things are what matter and what end up making a person unique so pay attention. Next time you see them, be the first to give them a sincere compliment on something even as simple as their hair cut. By making other people feel good about them selves you should also feel good for doing it, it’s a win win situation.
Many times people walk around with the mentality that other people owe them something, nobody owes you anything. Whenever anybody does anything for you show your appreciation and let them know you don’t take anything for granted. Be spontaneous get the person a small gift when they don’t expect it.
Once you find out what is truly important to someone you must provide encouragement. Everyone has dreams and aspirations. Be the one who encourages them to pursue their goals. Any insight or information that’s empowering will provide a boost to their confidence. Most people are so afraid of failure that they will not pursue their goals. They will give you all the reasons why their goals are out of reach. Your goal should be to switch their focus on the negative reasons to the ways how they can make it happen. You have to remember that whatever we focus on becomes our reality, so when you focus only on the negative aspects that’s all you will see. When they give you a reason why they can’t do it, ask them if that’s really a reason or a mere excuse. If they are excuses show them how destructive it is to be in this mental state.
Make them realize that all their hopes and dreams are in danger all because of petty excuses. One of the best feelings you will get in dealing with people, is when you get another person excited about his goals or ideas. Now that the person is excited you need to point them in the right direction. Help them research the world they want to be in; find out as much relevant information. Help them create a plan and deadlines that will help them reach their goals. Start with small attainable goals, this will help them gain momentum and than move onto more challenging goals. By being active in the whole process you will build a deeper and more influential relationship with that person. He will not see you as a mere friend but as an ally in their journey to success.
Plan and Organize Social Events or a Traveling Adventure
One of the best ways to develop a meaningful experience with someone is through a social event. Whenever you participate in an event or trip your relationship with those people will become even greater. Some of my best friendships have come from traveling with other people I meet while living abroad. I meet people from all over the world who love to travel, so consequently we would end up taking trips together.
On these trips I made incredible bonds, because everyone was on an adventure of experiencing new things together. Experiences are usually magnified with more people involved. Just think about when you are watching a funny movie all by yourself ,you begin to laugh but than realize no one is there to enjoy the moment with you, and your experience is quickly diminished .
“Without friends no one would choose to live” Aristotle
Making friends does not need to be complicated, practice what feels good and natural to you. It was not my goal to change your personality, just to make you aware of things you have always known about. Just be genuinely interested in others, keep your ego in check, and enjoy learning from others. Having a good set of friends will add value to your life in more ways then you can imagine. Now quit reading this post and get out there and make some new friends.
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