“What if the other person is boring?”
People ask me this question all the time when I tell them they can attract people better, especially through genuineness and authenticity. The question reveals a belief about people I disagree with. My belief creates more friendships that are deeper and more meaningful. I’ll talk about it here.
Two beliefs that create friendships
I believe everyone has facets of their personality that are interesting, intriguing, and fascinating.
I also believe that you could know someone for decades and still find out new things about them. Think of the person you are closest to. You never run out of things to say, right? Imagine talking to them for fifty years. You’d still have things to talk about with them, right?
The consequence of these two beliefs is that when I meet someone, I assume they have facets worth my time to communicate about, no matter how boring or uninteresting they may seem at first. If I see nothing to connect on at first, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to connect on, it means I haven’t seen those facets yet.
And since everyone has innumerably many facets, I know something worth connecting on is there.
Moreover, since I know they will respond to my behavior as part of their environment, I take the responsibility to motivate them to show facets interesting to me.
First assuming they have the facets motivates me. I’ve never failed to find them. I should note that I don’t expect to be able to create friendships or connections with everyone. I may not agree with the person’s values when I get to know them, for example, but I can at least learn them.
I don’t believe everyone can be boring to everyone. Or devoid of passion. If they don’t show it, it’s because my behavior doesn’t make me seem to them like someone to share it with. So I have to change my behavior to motivate them to share if I want to find out who this person is.
This is an example of my strategy “Don’t look for blame, but take responsibility for making things better to the extent you can.” I haven’t written those words in a post for a while even though I think them daily. Calling someone else boring blames them. Taking responsibility means doing something to make the situation interesting. My beliefs on facets motivates you and gives direction.
Another big help is to share my passions and values. I believe people feel reward from helping others. If they don’t know what I like, they won’t help because they have no expectation of success. If they know what I like they’ll have some chance of helping me.
For example, when I share that I like doing burpees (which I do all the time), I communicate to people that if they share with me about exercise, diet, friendship, and so on, they’ll get rewarded and be able to share passions. If they share with me victimhood, laziness, complacency, or giving up, they probably won’t get reward from me.
So by giving them something to share, I motivate them communicating and I motivate what facets to show me.
Of course, I don’t have to try to meet everyone. If I’m at a cocktail party filled with people and someone is boring, I may choose to talk to others instead. Or if I prefer to leave to work on something else, I don’t have to find out everyone’s passions.
But I know I can, based on the practices I developed based on these simple beliefs:
- That everyone has facets that are interesting
- That everyone has innumerably many facets
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book