Good morning and happy holidays! I thought I’d take a moment to share a small tidbit out of my book, Don’t Be A Stranger: Creating Connections and Memorable First Impressions in Everyday Life.
As you enter into small talk with relatives and acquaintances at those holiday gatherings or upcoming run-ins, I’d encourage you to consider what I wrote in the Chapter 9 on Showing Curiosity: “I’d like to strongly encourage you to refrain from saying so. Have you noticed how it feels when you ask people how they’re doing and they reply, “Busy! I’m just so busy” with little else to say? Telling people how busy you are instills negativity and distance in conversations and can curtail dialogue. We’re all busy, yet we can make time for moments in time. I bet you’d find time if the opportunity for a hot date popped up while you were so busy! Telling people how busy you are does not raise your social value or significance. In many cases, it makes you seem unapproachable, arrogant, and challenged around time management, so try a different response. Instead, share about what’s kept you busy: “I’ve been working on writing a book, learning to ski, learning another language, traveling, volunteering at the dog shelter” or any other truth. This facilitates direction for further questions and conversation about mutually shared interests. By the way, ask follow-up questions to whatever the person just told you about. Not only will this show you were listening and curious but also engages more dialogue about something the other person enjoys, which tends to bring out the best in people…Showing curiosity is about asking questions more than making statements. It’s about entering a room enthusiastically as though everyone there can teach you something. Sometimes the lesson is how not to behave.” Focus on yourself, not the other person. What can you learn, not teach. What inspires you to be better. What passion can you share, what has kept you busy, what can you offer that might help others align to you and feel comfortable engaging with you? It’s not about how they present it’s about how you do. With that, persent your best self and help each person you encounter feel worth that moment of your time.