5 Steps To Make Anyone You Talk To Feel Like an Old Friend
Everyone wants to be treated like a valued person with acceptance and comfort. When you want to make a strong impression with a person, it is sometimes not enough to simply give them a winning smile, a strong greeting, or make them feel simply comfortable. Sometimes what you need to do is to treat the person as if they are that old friend whom you have lost contact with for some time. Doing this can feel a little awkward at first, and a bit tricky. However, once you have learned how to do it, you will see your relationships to others in your professional and social environment improving dramatically. So be prepared with a few simple steps that can help you look into the eyes of someone you have never met before and help them feel like someone you have known for years.
#1 Trick Yourself Into Believing It is True
Before someone can be treated like an old friend, you have to get yourself to believe that he or she truly is an old friend. This is not always as simple as telling yourself as such. The way you hold yourself around trusted and valued friends is different from with other people, especially in your facial expressions. When you meet someone knew, often times you can become ridged and slightly more uptight in your overall mannerisms. With old friends, what you will find yourself doing is being more relaxed and comfortable in your every movement. Do not mistake this to mean that you should sacrifice proper posture or body language, because the occasion is still present and you still must remain somewhat professional. Instead, what you must do is to allow yourself to visualize this new person or persons as an old friend(s) and truly believe it. Your body will inevitably follow in line with your mind. Make sure that your face is not “trying” to be friendly, for you would never have such a reaction with an old friend. It is often surprising just how affective visualizing the person as an old friend helps you believe that they are. And as said before, once the mind believes it the body will follow.
#2 Help Them Believe It is True
Once you are capable of believing the “Old Friend” routine, then the other person will catch onto it as well (regardless of if they are aware of the fact). To help them believe it, remember to be forward but not intrusive with your body language. This means being more open and less guarded in your stance. Allow yourself to be a bit more expressive than you normally would with, say, a boss or a police officer. Do not sacrifice all your good posture and body language, but instead lax them just a bit in order to allow the other person to know that you are comfortable. When you do this, you will surely also allow them to become for comfortable as well. Tension is contagious and if you are unable to control your own by putting too much emphasis on your smile, greeting, and posture, the other person will notice the anxiety and your meeting will be less fulfilling for the both of you.
#3 Repeat Their Name
While repeating a name may seem like a silly and unimportant gesture, remember what it is that you are trying to do. You are attempting to show the other person that you are “old friends.” What good friend does not remember the other person’s name? Certainly, there is no such example of good friends who cannot recall one another’s names, and so you must strive to show that you can recall this person’s name. You can do this easily be repeating it immediately after the initial introduction, and then sparingly throughout the conversation. Remember not to become to set on repeating the name over and over. When you do this, it shows a general lack of sincerity. Throwing the person’s name in sparingly not only shows them you recall their name, but more importantly validates them in your interaction. When you repeat their name, you automatically reestablish their focus toward both you and your conversation. This is a simple and an invaluable tool to promote a positive interaction.
#4 Encourage Them to Speak
When you see an old friend after a long hiatus, you want to hear how their life has been just as much as you want to share your own. Keep this rule in mind when you are trying to make a new acquaintance feel like an old friend. Do not take over a conversation unless the other person is continually asking you questions. Even in that case, do your best to ask them for their input or like-stories that can encourage them to speak. Not only does this tactic allow them to feel important and validated in the conversation, but it also gives you an opportunity to hear who and what this person is. When you know more about the person, it becomes easier to cultivate the relationship that you are already pretending exists. It is important not to become pushy when getting the other person to talk. If you push too hard it may seem as if you are prying for information or simply have nothing of your own to say. Speak when spoken to and carry on with conversations when you have something important or interesting to say, but keep in mind that an old friend’s opinions and comments are always valued.
#5 Introduce Them to Others Like A Friend
Once you have met the person and have cultivated this feeling of a long-lasting friendship, remember to introduce them to others just as you would an old friend. The shared introduction is a great way to show the person that you value them. Obviously, remembering their name is key in this situation, but more importantly, introduce them as if you are excited to let people know you are associated with him or her. Again, the idea is validating the person’s value. This type of introduction gives them confidence, and they will realize that the confidence originated from you, making you more like a valued friend, which is your goal.
Image credited to http://artofmanliness.com
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