We live in a world where most of us would rather criticize than give compliments, it’s easy to fall into this trap because it can makes you feel superior compared to others. And because everyone loves to criticize, you’ll always have someone to join you. This is one way to network and build relationships, but you always end up feeling a little bad and empty inside…kind of like eating ice cream all day with nothing to show for it but added pounds and a bad stomach ache.
So, are You in? Let’s make a conscious effort to appreciate people we meet everyday. But before doing so, its important you know there’s a wrong and a right way to giving compliments.
How It Can Go Wrong
I see this happen all the time, a stranger(let’s call him Jack) attempts to create rapport with another by asking a question. Because Jack’s real motive is to network, he becomes dependent on the outcome much more than the person without a hidden agenda–he thinks himself,”I really want to be friends with this person” , or ” I really like this person”. So he puts much stock and effort into making the interaction great. He does this at all costs, even if he has to give what I call, a fake compliment.
Jack: Do you know any good bars in town?
Them: Try Jack and Pubs.
Jack: Thank you, I appreciate it! Where are you from??
Notice how Jack thanked them and followed up with a personal question. This may work depending on the situation and who you’re speaking with. But as a rule of thumb, a personal question right off the bat can make you look desperate, and needy. It will leave others with the first impression of labeling you as someone who is over stepping your boundaries by asking such a personal question. Compliments have to be earned. It’s earned by getting someone to contribute into the interaction.
Me: Do you know where good bars are at?
Them: Try Jack and Pubs.
Me: Oh, what’s going on there tonight? (Asking for more effort before legitimately giving a compliment)
Them: It’s happy hour tonight, and they have a band playing. (now I feel they’ve contributed enough to earn a compliment)
Me: Thanks! I really appreciate it. Are born and raised here?
Because they’ve put in effort to help me out, the question after my compliment didn’t come off as needy and fake.
Yes, this sounds really obvious. But you have to do it too. If you actually try smiling more you’ll discover how the world treats you changes a lot. People generally react to how you treat them. And emotions are contagious.
Let’s talk about the rule of X=X. You are X, and so are They. This means whatever emotions you convey, others will sense it and reflect it back at you. I promise, if you walk up to someone and convey that you’re either angry, happy, or nervous, people will sense your emotions, and reflect it back at you. X=X.
Maybe you DO Smile, but people Aren’t Buying it.
There is a right way and a wrong way to smile.
Jack: “Hi, I’m Jack.” [big smile] “What’s your name?” [big smile]
Jack: “What’s your name?” [neutral look on Jack's Face] Girl: “Christine” Jack: [big smile] “Hi, I’m Jack.”
Notice the subtle difference between the two. Like complimenting, smiling has the same concept. A smile is much more appreciative once it is earned.
In the first example Jack is smiling for no reason. Smiling all the time is not attractive. It is what people do when they are uncomfortable.
A smile should be a reward. And you should only reward people when they contribute effort to an interaction.
In the second example Jack has a neutral expression when he asks a question, and then he smiles when he gets effort (in this case she just gives her name).
This is a simple example, but when we expand it over the course of an interaction it does TONS to build presence and authority, thus, adding to the formula that is Making People Love You.
No one wants to talk about anything they can’t relate to. However, I understand sometimes it can be hard to relate with someone you’ve just met, because you’re both strangers, right? That’s the problem, a common mistake with people who’ve just met, is that they think topics are black and white. Allow me to explain.
People may hear a topic and think to themselves, “I can’t relate to that! We have nothing in common!” “Next. New Friend!”
The reality is, when it comes to relating there are many shades to a gray with topics.
Example: I just came back from vacation, I was visiting Amsterdam.
Some people may look this and will think to themselves, ” I’ve never stepped foot outside this country, so relating to Amsterdam is out of the question!”
As I said, there are many shades to a gray when it comes to relating with topics: maybe you’ve never been outside your country, but if you were to go, where would it be and why?
Relating the correct way:
I’ve never been to Amsterdam, but if I were to travel it would definitely be Singapore. I hear it’s beautiful, full of Luscious Green Exotic Plants and Animals. I’ve also heard it’s the cleanest country in the world, so clean that I once read on the news a tourist was spanked in public for taking a leak in a bush… talk about zero tolerance!
When it comes to relating to subjects, don’t take it so literal.
The first step towards relating is being curious, if ever should you come across something you’re unfamiliar with, simply get curious and ask about it. Ask what it’s about, Ask what got them into it, Ask yourself if you’d like to try it out after discovering this new information. Just because you haven’t experienced something, doesn’t mean you can’t try to relate to it. I believe if you look upon yourself as being an everlasting student of the universe, you’ll be able to relate with anyone, anytime, anywhere.
So what about you? What are your experiences with relating to topics? Have you had similar, different experiences with the same outcome? Let me know!
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