Making Friends in a Thumb Talking World
"I have over a 1,000 friends on my social network," boasted a friend, "but I have few, if any, meaningful personal relationships." How do we get people to like us, especially in a tech-savvy world where people spend most of their time thumb talking, texting, and posting? The answer is simple. If you want people to like you, make them feel good about themselves. The key to the success of this technique is to keep the focus of the conversation on the other person. Keeping the focus on the other person is difficult because we are by nature egocentric and think the world revolves around us. If every time you talk to people they feel good about themselves, they will gravitate to you because every time they are with you, they feel good about themselves.
The primary method to keep the focus of the conversation on the other person is the empathic statement. Empathic statements capture a person's verbal message, physical status, or emotional feeling, and, using parallel language reflects that verbal message, physical status, or emotional feeling back to that person. Empathic statements let the person know that someone is listening to them and cares to some degree about their well-being. This kind of attention makes us feel good about ourselves and, more importantly, predisposes us to like the person who gave us the attention. Avoid repeating back word for word what the person said. Parroting can sound patronizing and sometimes condescending. Simply capture the essence of what the person is saying or feeling and repeat that message back to them using similar language.
The basic formula for constructing empathic statements is "So you..." This basic formula keeps the focus on the other person and away from you. We naturally tend to say something to the effect, "I understand how you feel." The other person automatically thinks, "No, you don't know how I feel because you are not me." The basic formula ensures that the focus of the conversation remains on the other person. For example: You get on an elevator and see a person who is smiling and looks happy. Simple empathic statements might include "So you like the way things are going today," or "So you are having a good day."
Once the basic formula for empathic statements has been mastered, you can construct more sophisticated empathic statements. The easiest way to construct a sophisticated empathic statement is to simply drop the "So you..." portion of the basic empathic statement. For example, if you get on an elevator and see a person who is smiling and looks happy you could say, "It looks like things are going your way today," It look like you're having a good day," or "You look smiling happy today."
This simple, yet effective technique will have people seeking you out to be their friend because every time they are with you or exchange written messages with you, you make them feel good about themselves. Empathic statements keep the focus of the conversation on the other person and make them feel good about themselves. People will not know you are using this technique because they naturally think that they deserve the attention and will not see your actions as being out of the ordinary. You can bring so much joy to other people with such little effort, but you don't because you think the world revolves around you. For all you people who think the world revolves around them, you are sadly mistaken. It revolves around me!