Even people from different walks of life and backgrounds have something in common – they’re all in pursuit of happiness.
In my years as an author and life coach, I have had the privilege of mentoring numerous people. These people come from different backgrounds, different walks of life and from a variety of ethnic groups and age groups. Regardless of who these people are and what they do to describe themselves, they all appear to have the same basic desires in life. They want love. They want to feel that they have a higher purpose and that they matter to someone in some way. They want to be accepted, appreciated and recognized for who they are. They want to have a feeling of belonging. They crave fulfilment — meaningful relationships and significance. This is what I hear.
But as I talk with people, it’s as if we’re on an elevator with rules such as “Press the button to your selected floor, stare at the numbers going past, no talking, no smiling, no eye–contact allowed”. Get in and get out and don’t hold up the elevator. We are afraid to say hello in case someone answers back and we wouldn’t know what to say. We have been taught as children not to talk to strangers and, as a result, we’re losing touch with one another! Friends are just strangers you haven’t met yet!
It can take a natural “catastrophe” for people to be touched by the pain of another human being. Then our ‘higher self’ motivation to help, encourage or serve our fellow man comes to the fore. But when things are going okay, this motivation is minimal. We are busy. We are on our treadmill. Don’t make a wave!
But it is relationships that form the basis of a happy, fulfilled life — the joy that comes from people serving other human beings; paying it forward; keeping the good going.
I love to start conversations in an elevator, in fact, anywhere. People are so fascinating. Using the power of the subconscious mind and a genuine smile, you will find it easy to connect with people and start a conversation. It is just the way you program your mind. I had one lady say to me that my smile to her was the first she had received in a month. How sad! And it cost me nothing to give it away, but meant all the world to her. Someone noticed her and smiled!
When you identify similarities with someone, you support their subconscious mind to feel a bond with you. Both of us are in this elevator, which makes us similar. Rapport is achieved quite easily through what is called ‘the mirror technique’. Just copy their expression and posture in a subtle manner, which helps them feel more comfortable when responding to your hello. Smile, speak and then respond at the same speed and volume they use.
I like to say, “Beautiful day today!” It simply starts a conversation. A few people just grunt, but others respond. A genuine compliment about the person is a good opening line. When you start a conversation, often your own subconscious mind naturally will mirror in a non-obtrusive way. You easily will be able to create a connection with people anywhere.
Trust your intuition! It has learned from experience how to read a situation. It is a feeling, a ‘hunch’, that recalls past experiences. Hunches allow you to evaluate what the best next move would be.
The “I like you” emotion initiates from the mind. So it is easy for someone to like you when you are “likeable”. When you ‘like’ them, they feel comfortable with you — they think you are intelligent to like them! It is a myth that liking or disliking someone is uncontrollable. It is really easy to use small techniques to connect with people in any location.
I met a lovely couple at our fire protection training, simply by commenting on their South African accent. They have become great friends and it all started with the common denominator of discussing our different and unique accents. The conversation then follows on, “How long you have been here?” and “How do you like it?”
When we are making new friends, often we want people to be the same as us. Professionals gravitate towards professionals in the same field of work. Immediately we respect the new friend because we identify with the journey they took to achieve their qualifications. They have had the same experiences as you…therefore, you understand each other. Sometimes it can be because we admire a character trait in someone such as leadership or loyalty or integrity.
We like people who have similar hobbies and interests. Usually our friends will have the same values and character as ourselves because we feel ‘comfortable’ with them. Birds of a feather flock together. However, finding out about other “birds” is so interesting. Different cultures, different religions, different occupations, different backgrounds make the world a ‘fascinating’ place. So, in looking to make new friends, when you display the behaviours most people would like to emulate, you will be an attractive friend to them.
When making new friends, be the kind of friend you would like them to be to you. Describe yourself in a few words. Who are you and what makes you a good friend?
How do you want others to see you? It is so much fun reaching out to others and expanding your friendship circle. It makes the world a friendlier place. With practice, you will find it becomes an unconscious habit that you reveal happiness and friendliness when interacting with others — even in the proverbial elevator.