Interpersonal Strategies (that are surprisingly sneaky)

You’ve always been the socially awkward guy sitting on his own in the corner. Even though you’ve always wanted to be liked you never had a knack for making friends. As you get older and are forced to be sober for most of the day you realize that interpersonal skills are very important. Here are some ways to sneakily get people to like you.

The Benjamin Franklin way

“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.”

A strange yet observable phenomena is the Benjamin Franklin effect that basically says if you ask someone a favor they will like you. We humans are way more complex than necessary so to do something we usually have to justify it. When we are doing someone a favor we justify doing it by convincing ourselves that we like the favor-asker.

Of course, you need to make sure that the favor is appropriate. Immediately asking someone if they will go to your cousin’s wedding with you might be too much. 

Use a person’s name

There is a hard-wired response in the brain that lights up like a Christmas tree when we hear our name. We are made to be self-centered as a mechanism of survival from back in our cave-dwelling days. Some of those responses have been dropped due to evolution and some we still keep like we are still being chase by a saber-tooth tiger. Hearing the sound of our name is one of those.

Active listening and Verbal Confirmation

Listening is easy. Something makes sound and you cram those sounds into your earholes. Actually engaging the sound is known as active listening. To show the person that you are speaking with that the gears are spinning up there (even if they’re not) repeat part of what they are saying. For example, if they say “I just got into skinny sky-diving, it’s pretty invigorating.” You can respond: “Skinny sky-diving huh? Sounds amazing.” Now you have the ground-work for a new friend! Finally, you need to decide if you really want to hang out with someone that jumps out of airplanes naked.

Point that chin

This is also a biological response that goes back even further than our cave-dwelling days. Think of what animals do when they are squaring off, they lower their head and look from under their brow. On the other hand if you tilt your head back it exposes your carotid artery and makes you seem non-threatening. This allows the other person to feel comfortable and drop their subconscious defenses.

Try to avoid exposing you carotid artery to vampires, they will like you a lot but you’ll also be drained of all your blood. Avoid excessive head tilting as it could make you seem conceded or if you go for a full tilt it might look like you need assistance.

Eye contact

“I already use tons of eye contact!” you might say objecting. Here’s a nice rule of thumb. Watch Silence of the Lambs. Did you notice Anthony Hopkins constant unwavering eye-contact with everyone including you? Good. Don’t do that. You should go for something between Serial Killer, interested conversationalist and bashful school girl.

Now you are ready to go forth and be-friend my friend!

Have you used any of these techniques in your day to day life? Let us know in the comment section below!