Not sure I have one. But now you’ve made me think of it, here goes…
My response is based on a number of factors and mainly on human psychology and neuroscience.
The most open, accepting, gracious people on the planet hold something in reserve when meeting strangers. It’s natural. It’s in our neural wiring. We don’t know if the person we meet is friend or foe so we favor foe until we’re sure of friend. The neural wiring of this goes back through evolution to a time before humans were humans.
So step 1: Give people a chance to know you.
Step 1a: Be someone worth knowing.
Step 1a is more important than 1 because people may discover you’re a schmuck and not want to know more about you. They may avoid you.
Personally, I find it easy to be open, accepting, caring, and gracious. It’s kind of my personal DNA. I know others may not find it so easy. Or fun (I do find it fun).
So here’s a trick – Be the best you you can be. You’ll have up days and down days. Hopefully you’re ups will outnumber your downs. In any case, most people can tell when someone is genuine regardless if it’s genuine nice or not. So be yourself. You’re going to be yourself anyway and if you’re a genuinely not nice person it’ll come out at some point and people will drop you like yesterday’s turds.
But Joseph, how can I be someone worth knowing?
Ever hear “Money will buy a fine dog, but only kindness will make it wag its tail”?
It’s the answer to the question above: Be someone you’d like to know. Don’t like yourself? No problem. Be someone better.
Me, I like helping people. I believe that a success for any one of us is a success for all of us, so when I help someone succeed, that’s also my success. I don’t exhaust myself helping people, I do what I can.
And here’s the kicker; I expect nothing in return. There’s a saying, “Cast your bread upon the water and it will return to you sevenfold.”
Bull tacos, that.
Cast your bread upon the water and all you’ll get back is soggy bread. I don’t help everybody. I’m selective. People are investments. Not for me, for the future. I believe tomorrows should be better than yesterdays. I help people create better tomorrows. How do I select? Show me someone who’s actively working to improve themselves and the world around them. Bingo, I’ll do what I can to help.
It may seem I’ve put two contradictory concepts together here. Not really. I’m a limited resource. I do what I can and encourage others to “Pay it forward.”
You’d be amazed how many do just that.
So step 2: Help people when you can.
You might be seeing how all this flows together. Help people and they’ll naturally want to get to know you because you’ve helped them. Some people will just use you and cast you aside when you’re no longer useful to them. I met lots of people in business like that. I decided I wasn’t going to be like that.
And, as stated above, I’m also selective.
Well, I’m not sure there is one. People tell me I’m “genuine.” I’m flattered and have no idea what they mean. But they say it in a nice way and their faces light up so yeah, I’ll accept it.
For me, I don’t worry about how many followers, friends, connections, and such I have. For that matter, I don’t worry. I do what I do and when I see I can help someone and helping that person lets me do what I do, I do it.
And my numbers grow. Organically, as they use to say.
I’m good with that. A friend who lasts is better than a friend lost in the past, yes?