The guy spat on me.
Last week I went out with friends in Singapore who all work together. There was a new guy who was a new co-worker at their company. He was from Canada, so I figured it would be fun to chat with a fellow North American here in Asia.
He kept talking about himself. Leaning in way too close to me. Spitting on me. Talking too loud. Invading my personal space, not just physically but audibly. Trying to elicit some kind of impressed reaction from me that would validate him.
He was new to the whole group and just kept talking over everyone trying to awe us with jokes and stories of his travels. He was dressed sloppily and his body language and the image he was imprinting on us was one of insecurity.
He was drinking fast and a lot to give himself liquid courage. Clearly he was nervous.
We were all open, welcoming, and accepting in the beginning. An hour in, he was a pest and not perceiving the fact that he was turning everyone off.
Then he turned to me and said in an accusatory tone that America is bombing everyone under the moon. Now, I don’t agree with America’s military occupation and bombings around the world, but that’s neither here nor there. He was saying it as if I was bombing the world.
I stared at him in silence for 10 seconds, then attempted to change the subject.
He scoffed at me in an effort to act cool then proceeded to call me ignorant and stupid in a flippant tone.
I speechlessly looked at him. And started to physically push back my chair away from him. He was starting to look sheepish because of my clear physical reaction, but I could tell he wasn’t sure what was happening.
He was actually clueless to why I was disengaging from him!
I started to chat with a different fellow at the table. We were 20 seconds in and mid-sentence when rude, nervous Canadian guy jumped into our conversation and asked me if he could tell us a story about a taxi ride he had.
He was trying SO hard to be interesting and charismatic with us but he was actually having the opposite effect.
Are you unknowingly doing things that are making people dislike you?
Canadian guy just wanted us to like him. He wanted us to think he was interesting. He wanted us to want to hang out with him.
I get it. That’s a perfectly normal human desire.
But he didn’t know how to do it. And even worse, he didn’t recognize when he was offending others or even understand why they were offended.
Humans have the desire to feel known and important.
It’s a human desire to be known in the world. We want other people to understand us, to get us, and that can make us want to talk about ourselves incessantly. We want to feel valued and remembered.
However, talking about ourselves is not the answer to people being engaged with us or thinking we’re interesting.
So what is the secret on how to be interesting and thought of as important by others?
Here it is.
To be important, you have to make other people feel important.
To be interesting you have to be interested in them.
Dale Carnegie wrote in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People that “you can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
So why do most people, when they go into dates, meetings, presentations, etc. keep trying to figure out how THEY can be interesting?
They think of jokes, of stories, or funny anecdotes they can tell. It’s the opposite, though. To connect to people and get them to connect to you and like you, you want to engage others to tell their stories and anecdotes. Then, they can’t get enough of you and then want to hear about you.
That’s how other people find you likable and interesting. Because you make them feel liked, interesting, and important. They will associate those great feelings they are feeling towards being around you.
In dating, this is really important if you want to be successful in making your date feel special.
When I was dating, I went out with some very interesting men.
I was impressed by them and thought they were entertaining and exciting. I also felt a little unsure around these guys and not super excited. Not really certain if they were that “into” me. They “advertised” to me on what fascinating people they were but I didn’t feel like they thought I was all that fascinating.
And that's never a fun feeling to have.
The man who won my heart was the man who made me feel like I was the most interesting person in the world. Today, he listens to me and holds his attention on every word I say. I feel like the smartest, most beautiful woman around him and in turn I’m interested in everything about him and find him infinitely captivating, fun, and influential.
If you're ready to find out more about how you can work with one of our image consultants to improve your verbal and non-verbal communication skills, let's get started! If you are not in Los Angeles, Denver, or Singapore, our consulting services are also offered via internet video conferencing or telephone.
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If you want more great information on how to communicate and behave in a way that can improve all your relationships, I highly recommend reading Dale Carnegie's provocative and famous book, How to Win Friends & Influence People.
This newer version for our digital age has some extras added from the original publication.