I recently went to an event at Paramount Studios. We walked down streets made to look like NYC or a city street. At first glance, they look like buildings and you could walk right into someone’s home. Once you ascend the steps, you can only go in a few feet and then have to turn back around. They are facades only. It made me think about relationships and how people can put on a fake façade. This often happens at the beginning of any relationship. People want to make a good first impression. It may take a few dates before you see the “real” person, warts and all.
Let’s face it, none of us is perfect. Some people are very good at hiding who they really are. Many abusive relationships start this way. People are manipulated into believing that the poor behavior of the abuser is the fault of the victim. They can be very effective at this. If you suspect you are in this type of relationship, seek help to get out. It is not up to you to “fix” them and don’t believe them if they try to tell you that they are the only one who would ever love you.
Learning to accept someone for their faults can lead to a deeper and more meaningful connection. No bond is going to be perfect. There are going to be rocky times. Learning to manage through these together can bring you even closer. You have a shared experience. Look for the signs of an abusive relationship. I was in an abusive relationship for years. I kept thinking things were going to change and get better. They never did. There are multiple ways of be abused. Physical, mental, emotional and so on. Wasn’t it Albert Einstein that said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
This goes along with first impressions. Your handshake says a lot about you. Are you confident, friendly, positive, and full of energy? All of this can come through in your handshake. This is very important in your professional life and your personal life.
In my video, I show you the proper placement for a handshake. I also talk about the wet washcloth or wet noodle. This is a big turn off for many people if you don’t give a strong handshake. Handshakes have changed over the years. Check out the TEDx talk by Allan Pease entitled “Power is in the Palm of Your Hand” and he explains the history of the handshake. It is very interesting. Here is the webmail address for that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZZ7k8cMA-4
Now, back to you. When you shake their hand, look them in the eye and pump your hand 2-3 times then release. More than that can make the other person uncomfortable. Smile!! I can’t stress this enough. They go “hand in hand”. See what I did there? Practice, practice, practice. Practice with family, friends and eventually others. Maybe a church, at a business event or a party. So, make your first impression count and your handshake is a big part of that.
I mentioned in earlier videos that studies show that within 4-7 seconds you decide if you are attracted to someone. This does not necessarily mean in a romantic way. Do you like how they look, are they clean in their appearance, are they smiling, how are they standing. Also, within 4 and 7 minutes of meeting someone we decide if we like and want to be with someone and if we want to engage in a deeper relationship, either personally or professionally. This could be a professional or personal one.
I’m going to focus on the personal one. First look for a smile and eye contact. If you look at each other and hold that eye contact for a few seconds, that is the first step in determining if you are both interested. This should happen multiple times. Next is to start a conversation. Introduce yourself and ask general questions. Use a nice firm handshake to show confidence. I have another video in which I demonstrate a good handshake. Ask them what they do for a living and really listen to their response. Ask them what brings them to this event. If it is a party, ask them how they know the host. If it is at a bar, ask them if they usually come here. I have a video where I offer ideas of topics and questions to ask when you first meet someone.
If during your conversation, you determine that this is someone you like, you might try touching their hand or elbow. Carefully watch their response. If they move back or turn away, they are letting you know that they don’t want to pursue something. Placement of your hand can send a strong message. Don’t touch their leg or use your feet to touch them. This is really inappropriate. If they do this to you, they are most likely looking for a more intimate relationship quickly. If that is what you want to attract, then that choice is yours. Be careful!
For this blog I wanted to talk about chatting with someone in a public setting. In my video, I am in a café having lunch. I share my, albeit brief, interaction with my waitress, Joanna. She was sweet and kind. I enjoy meeting people and you never know what will come out of it. I have had great luck in restaurants when I am friendly to the wait staff as I may get an extra portion of something. Here are some pointers.
Smile and look at someone. It can be just that simple to engage with another person. Did you know that just the simple act of smiling makes you feel happier? It’s true. Give it a try.
Say hello. Once you practice doing that, add, “How are you?” For some people, it takes more practice than others but it gets easier over time.
If you can use humor, do so. Make sure that you are always laughing with someone, not at someone. I give an example of this in my video.
Compliment someone. Make sure you are sincere with them and it is a great way to get a conversation going. Today, I liked a woman’s sandals in line in front of me at the Post Office and we had a nice chat.
Talking about the weather is a safe conversation topic. In Rochester, NY there is always a lively conversation about the weather. Avoid topics like religion and politics as this can go in a negative direction. Keep it light and friendly, not confrontational.
Practice makes perfect. Take a deep breath and go for it!
It is important to set clear boundaries within your personal and professional life. There are times when you receive unwanted attention. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, that a person or situation seems to be “off”, it is best to take the offensive. If you get that feeling in your gut, listen to it. It is nature’s way of protecting us.
If you are looking for strategies to discourage instead of encourage an interaction with someone, my video talks about this. One way people do this is by putting on headphones or using earbuds and avoiding eye contact. Quite often you will see people doing this on a subway or bus. If that doesn’t work, you can pretend to be on the phone. If these do not work, then you need to take another tact. You need to be firm and can be kind at the same time. If you are sensing that your safety is an issue, seek out a safe place to move to with other people around. Maybe a public place would be best. In a workplace, you can’t always use this strategy. You may need to develop skills to manage these feelings. If, and only if, you and the other person can’t work things out, then you may need to call in your supervisor.
As I mentioned in my video, studies indicate that non-verbal communication represents anywhere from 75% – 90%. You can say the exact same words, but with a different tone of voice, it sends a very, altered message. I give an example of how the same phrase can be said in different ways. You may not want to sound mean or rude, but it could be perceived that way.
If you are not getting the reaction you were looking for, ask a trusted family or friend to give you feedback. If you think you have offended or hurt someone, ask them if you have done so, apologize and learn from it. Don’t do it again. When I have coached others, I have suggested that they tape themselves and then listen back to hear how they said something.
Sit up! Don’t you just want to yell that at times to someone you are talking to? It is so rude to speak with someone, especially in a business environment or an interview, who is slouching. It is disrespectful so pull yourself up and look engaged. I remember there was a school superintendent who was in on stage with a meeting with parents and you would have thought he was in front of the TV with a remote in his hand. He was reclining in the chair with his feet sprawled before him. We were mortified. People lost all respect for him and it appeared he would have preferred to be anywhere other than our meeting.
How you carry yourself tells a great deal about your self-esteem. If you are hunched over, you most likely don’t have much self-confidence. At least that is what it looks like. This is especially true when you are first dating someone. It is not very appealing to be with someone that seems to be lacking self-confidence. You will appear to be needy and for women, you may be seen as a vulnerable and a target for abuse. Even if you are nervous, that is to be expected but just sitting up straight, can make you feel better. Most likely, the other person is anxious too. Lean forward to show you are interested in what they are saying.
You only have one chance to make a good 1st impression. The average person takes 4 – 7 seconds to develop an opinion of you. They are looking at your appearance, your non-verbal communication, do you smell, are your clothes, nails and teeth clean and are you smiling. If these things turn them off, it is difficult to change these impressions later on. Ladies, if you choose to dress provocatively, you may be labeled something you don’t want to be seen as. If you want that kind of attention, that is most likely what you will attract. If you want to be treated like a lady, dress, sound and act like a lady. Gentlemen, if you want to be seen as having some class, treat the women in your life with respect. Do you want to be with a lady or a tramp? Be careful what you wish for. If you hope to attract the right person, someone who genuinely cares about you as a person, you need to look at the “message” you are sending out. To get respect, you need to give respect. Good luck!
Happy Valentine’s Day! Ahhh, the “day of love.” If you are in a relationship, use this day and every day to let them know you care. I personally think that every day should be celebrated as a “day of love”. Doing little things for that special person all the time is just as important to keeping your relationship strong. Write a post-it note saying “I love you” and putting it on the bathroom mirror. Fill their car with gas. Make their favorite meal for them. If you are not in a relationship, that is okay. The most important person you need to love is YOU. You can’t hope to love someone else if you don’t love yourself. I used to use three affirmations and I’d like to encourage you to do so if you need a “self-esteem boost.” Complete these phrases, “I am _____________. I can ________________ and I will _____________.” What I wrote about myself was “I am kind, I can help others, and I will keep my heart open.” Once you have filled out these phrases, look in a mirror and repeat them several times. It can be while looking in the rear view mirror in your car (please wait until you are stopped at a traffic light first), a bedroom mirror, mirror at work or a bathroom mirror. Do this often throughout the day. Do this for as long as you need to. When I was first divorced, over 20 years ago now, I used to get down about being alone. While I have dated on and off since then, I realized that I don’t need another person to validate my qualities. I can do that myself. You can too. With time, your self-confidence will grow and if you want to be in a healthy relationship, you will find it. Your inner-strength in yourself will give off an energy that will attract others. Have a wonderful day. Remember, you are amazing!
I’m sure you have heard poems about how small a person can feel when compared to a mountain or the ocean. I felt just that way today. I went to a Lunch and Learn Networking/Writing Meeting. I met some wonderful people and learned something as well. I arrived early and we were located on the 12th floor of an office building overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The views from the conference room were beautiful. It still takes my breath away whenever I see an ocean.
As I mentioned before, I am from Rochester, NY and to have the chance to see Santa Monica, California was a thrill. As I chatted with “new friends”, I was sharing what I had been doing while visiting California. One of them exclaimed, “we live here and often forget what there is to do.” I am learning how to be a “tourist” everywhere I go, even at home. Finding the beauty from the window of a conference room or stopping by the beach, even in February, can be fun. It is about 30 degrees in Rochester today and being able to walk in the sand and feel the sun on my face in Santa Monica, was my way of grabbing a moment to appreciate where I was and what I was doing. I would not have been able to do that at home, at least not warmly.
My challenge question for you is, “What can you do today to see things differently?” Notice the people and nature around you that make up your landscape. In doing so, your feelings about them might change to. Hopefully, in a positive light. Enjoy the moment and if you can, make a snow angel or dip your toes in the sand!