In this world, you’re always going to have to deal with people, no matter what occupation you may choose. Businesses are just people selling a product or service to other people, ideas are discussed and perfected between people, and every relationship you’re ever going to have is with people. The better you are at dealing with people, the better your life is going to be, because all life is, is people.
Knowing this fact, you’ll realize how important it is that you understand how other people work, and how you can make them like you more. This will improve everything about your life, from your relationships, to convincing people of your ideas, and to making them understand you.
If you truly want to become better with people, you have to start with them. It requires finding out as much information about them, how they work, why they do things, and how they’ll respond to certain things. You’ll only get better at dealing with people by truly understanding how they work and knowing how you can use this to your advantage.
What is going to make you better with people is one simple way of looking at the world. It’s not about reading dozens of books on psychology, it’s not about directly asking people how they work (because they don’t even know themselves).
It’s looking at things from the other person's perspective that is going to skyrocket your performance with people.
This helps you in three ways: You’ll understand people better, you’ll make them like you more, and you can better control your own emotions.
I’m going to talk about these three points in depth and how seeing things from the other person's point of view will massively improve all three.
Understand other people better:
The first thing you’ll notice when looking at things from the other person's perspective is you start to understand them better. You get to understand what drives them, why they are how they are, what they react to positively and negatively, and how they react to certain events and why.
The first step towards understanding people better is by starting to use analytic empathy, as Robert Greene calls it in his book: ‘The Laws of Human Nature’. The premise behind this type of empathy is that you analyze the person in front of you. You pay attention to what they say and analyze it, you really listen and try to understand them by finding the real meaning behind certain remarks or gestures. You pay attention to the words they use, how they say them, what their body language is, and how they react to you. When you say something, what happens to their body language, to their voice, and what words do they use?
You analyze everything about a person and try to see what they are really saying and looking for the reasons why they say what they say.
However, you shouldn’t get too caught up with the logical aspect of this, because people are illogical by nature. People don’t act because of logic, they act because of emotion. They seem to always have a logical explanation for why they do things, but this logical reasoning is constructed only after they’ve made the emotional decision to act.
That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the underlying emotions that go with their actions. When you say something, their response tells you something about how they feel, try and analyze this response and find out what emotions they are feeling. This is a lot more important than what they logically think. Especially when you want someone else to do something, the worst thing you can do in that case is try to convince them with logic.
Logic makes people think, emotion makes them act. When you want someone to take a certain kind of action, you have to instill a certain emotion in them, the emotion that gets them to take the action you want them to take.
The way to use analytic empathy is by talking the least amount yourself. The person who should do most of the talking is the other person, not you. Start asking questions about them, label some of their emotions, and ask for their feedback on your analysis. Were you right, or did you completely miss the mark?
Asking a lot of questions may seem intrusive to you, something that people won’t like and that they won’t want to talk to you because of it. If you do it correctly, it is the exact opposite. People love to talk about themselves, about what they’ve done, what they believe, who they are, and who they want you to think they are.
But you can’t only be asking questions to that person either, that is not a conversation, that’s an interrogation, and people don’t like being interrogated, even when you’re not the police. So to avoid falling into the trap of only asking questions, make it more of a conversation.
You do this by implementing a few things:
First, repeat what they were saying to you and let them know that you were listening, never directly repeat what they were saying, paraphrase them, let them know that you listened, processed the information, and understood the conclusion of their story. In addition, you can label an emotion that goes along with the story, like frustration, happiness, or pride. Let them know that you also understand them on an emotional level.
Also, don’t be entirely closed up, you are allowed to talk about yourself and your own experiences. Just talk normally to people, have a conversation, but realize that you should not talk about yourself all the time, it’s not going to impress anyone, and it’s not going to make anybody like you more.
What is going to make people like you more is letting them talk about themselves, you listening, and them feeling like they are really being listened to.
Now let's go over exactly how this is going to make people like you more and how to optimize this.
Making other people like you more:
As we mentioned before, people like to talk about themselves, and they like people with whom they can talk about themselves to and who they feel understand them.
People who attentively listen are very rare in today’s world, most people are too self-absorbed. They are only interested in what they have to say and don’t listen to anyone else. A lot of the time people are just waiting for you to finish your sentence, so that they can say something more important and more interesting, or at least that is what they believe. They don’t have a sincere interest in the other person's point of view, they’ve already assumed that they already know everything, and what the other person thinks is incorrect and unimportant anyway. This is the wrong way to go through life and an absolute conversation killer.
You must be different. You have to create a genuine desire inside yourself to know more about other person, that is the only way that you can massively improve your listening and conversational skills. Become genuinely interested in the other person's point of view, really want to know what they think and believe, and find out what you can learn from them.
Each and every person you’ve just met is a complete mystery to you, you don’t know what they believe, what they do, how they perceive the world, and what their belief systems are. Your goal should be to want to find out everything about what they believe so that you can understand them better and make them like you more. A common misconception people have is that there are only a select amount of people they can learn from.
This is completely false.
No matter how stupid, how out of shape, how unwise, you can always learn something from someone else. Yes sometimes people are not really worth the effort and you should not waste your time on people who you wouldn’t want to be in some way. But there is always something you can learn from anybody, whether it’s something positive or negative.
From certain stupid people, you can learn how stupid people work, you’re always going to have to interact with them sometimes, so why not understand better how they work and how you can get the most out of your interactions with them?
Everyone has had different experiences in life, different interests, and different hobbies that you don’t know anything about. In these cases, by having conversations with those people you can live vicariously through them. You don’t need to have the same experience or interest, but you can absorb some of their knowledge on subjects that might be of use to you later, whether in a conversation you’re going to have or simply in your everyday life.
“If you focus only on the good points of a man, then everybody can be a good model to learn from.” ~ Hagakure 1-64
So it starts with having a sincere interest in the other person, and from there on you can use some of these techniques and points to pay attention to, to make others like you more.
Let’s go into some of those techniques we haven’t mentioned yet:
One important thing you should always do is mirror the other person's feelings. This is done by labeling their emotions, paraphrasing, and letting them know you understand them, but also through how you respond and what convey through your body language. Your whole body should mirror the emotions that they are feeling, this way they feel like you truly understand them.
Mirroring is not exactly copying what the other person is doing, like crossing your arms when they cross theirs, that is retarded, and you’re going to look stupid and insincere.
What mirroring is about is sharing their emotions, letting them know that you understand how they feel and why they feel that way, and you show some sympathy for their cause, or some common joy.
By using your analytic empathy you know more about the person and this makes mirroring much easier and more effective. When you analyze and store the information about the feelings and thoughts of others you can use them whenever you like, which in turn will make them like you more.
Another point on how others will like you more is letting them talk a lot about themselves because everybody likes to talk about themselves. To make people like you more, make the conversation about them, and make them stand in the limelight by talking about their interests and experiences. Remember, make it a conversation, but make sure that the conversation has them standing in the middle of it, they are the hero of the conversation, not you.
When people get to talk about themselves a lot to you, they like you because they like the feeling of talking about themselves and being listened to. By feeling a positive emotion of talking about themselves when they talk to you, they connect this positive emotion to you personally, because they feel it in the conversations that you have. When they feel a positive emotion towards you, and they like talking to you, they are going to like you more as a person. Eventually, this gives you an opportunity for relationships, influence, power, and a feeling of genuine happiness for yourself and the other person. You’re always going to derive the most amount of happiness by making others feel happy, if you can do that by letting them talk about themselves, then why not?
Controlling your own emotions:
When you understand people more, people do not only like you more, they don’t just want to talk to you more, there is something else that happens, to you. It’s something that most people are missing today, and it’s a staple for every single man who wants to make it in this world. By understanding people and looking at things from their perspective, its way easier for you to control your own emotions with them. Let me explain this:
Most people lose their heads when someone acts disrespectfully or does something they don’t like. They get angry, emotional, and impulsive, and this almost always has negative consequences. In the best scenario, it doesn’t help you at all getting emotional. That’s because when we react emotionally, the thinking part of our brain almost gets turned off. We can’t think clearly, and when we can’t do that, we tend to make the worst decisions. Almost all of the detrimental and destructive decisions we make in our lives come out of some emotional reaction, not from a logical, well-thought-through action. With this in mind, it is clear that keeping your emotions under control is extremely important if you want to make the correct decisions.
When you get emotional in a conversation and you react angry, upset, or irritated, you almost always react in a way that you’ll later regret. You distance yourself from people, and you make them like you a lot less. People don’t like to hang out with people who can’t control themselves, especially when these out-of-control reactions are destructive. In their minds, you become unpredictable and even dangerous.
What helps with keeping your emotions in check when talking to other people the most is, as we’ve talked about in this blog at length, viewing things from the perspective of others. When you understand people better, when you get why they do what they do, and if you realize that almost none of these reactions are ever personal, it becomes quite difficult to become upset.
By using your analytic empathy on lots of people, observing and analyzing them, you’ll start noticing a pattern: people's reactions are always based on personal experiences, genetics, and how they are feeling in the moment. When you understand that these things have nothing to do with you personally, except perhaps for how you make them feel, you realize that you have nothing to be upset about. What you now need is to be truly objective: “Do these people have something else going on in their life and is that why they are lashing out, or are they just emotionally reacting towards me because I make them feel a certain way?”
This is partly in your hands because you decide how you make them feel, and partly not because you may remind them of some past experience and that’s why they react the way they do.
Either way, you can look at the situation objectively, see what's in your control, try adjusting that, and when that doesn’t work you can just realize that they respond this way not because of you, but because of something inside themselves.
How can you now get emotional or upset with them? You know that it’s not about you, it’s probably not with some malign intent, so it’s just water off a duck's back.
What you’ll realize in addition is that, what most people actually need when they react emotionally towards you, is sympathy. They need someone to make them feel better, and they need someone to show them that they understand how they feel. You do this, again, through labeling, mirroring, listening, and paraphrasing. Make them feel understood, make them feel like you feel what they feel. This way you’ll most likely neutralize their emotional response and get the opportunity to understand this person better.
If it doesn’t work and they’re still upset, walk away if need be, you’re not out to save everyone, some people are just not willing to be saved and you can’t help these people. Only spend your time and effort on people who can be saved, who actually want to feel better. Some people are just in a constant state of misery and they’ll try and drag you down with them. Don’t bother with this type of person.
Luckily, they are the minority and most people will appreciate it if you show them some sympathy.
So be nice to people, show them sympathy, compassion, and love, and god will smile upon you and bless you with happiness and prosperity. Either way your life will be better.