Three Ways to Sabotage a First Impression

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Summer is the perfect season for meeting new people. Our daily routines become pleasantly interrupted with salty distractions and sweet disturbances. Vacations, whether anticipated for months in advance or spontaneously coordinated the day of, become solstice memories we cherish for a lifetime. And in these memories I have a strange habit of often thinking about the people whose paths I’ve crossed en route to our own and unique destinations.

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It is intriguing to me the ways travel can connect us to these strangers; strangers who each have the potential to become characters in our memoir, based merely on the feelings and senses we perceived from their interactions as harmonious or hurtful.

Violating Artificial Time Constraints

When a passenger sitting next to me on the plane strikes up a conversation, it’s not the conversation itself that makes me feel uneasy as I respectfully reach for my headphones, but the slight discomfort of not knowing how long the conversation will last. To help build rapport, it is underrated advice to establish those artificial time constraints by prefacing with something along the lines of, “I’m on my way to lunch, but wanted to ask you…”

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Conversational Narcissism

Narcissism is related to personality traits that involve vanity, self-absorption, and egotism. Conversational narcissism focuses on turning the attention towards themselves, either to focus on their faults or validate their virtues. Try to be present, ask genuine questions and avoid internal and external distractions.

Creepy Eye Contact

Humans are the only primates with noticeable white around their eyes. It’s likely that we evolved this way in order to achieve a greater social connection by way of communicating thoughts and feeling. We’re attracted to someone’s “kind eyes,” feel seduced by “bedroom eyes,” just as we feel unhinged by people’s “shifty” or “darting” eyes.

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Eye contact is a vital tool for making yourself appear more personable and confident, however, gazing for too long can also appear creepy. Make sure to look away (horizontally or up, as down can come across guilty or submissive) about every 5 seconds.