Ringo’s Rules: Being a social chameleon

I like to think I live a good life, that I’ve done alright despite all my fuck ups. If one spins the evidence right it’s pretty empirical that I have. I enjoy most days, am fulfilled mentally and physically by my passions, go on adventures regularly, have surrounded myself with interesting people, have little to no trouble make friends and lovers, seem to be well liked and somewhat well regarded even.  As long as one ignores the monetary and career side of my life I seem to be doing excellent. So while I probably am not truly  qualified to give life advice, I’ve convinced myself I’m doing well enough to do it anyway. Besides it’s free advice and everyone knows what that’s worth.

Today I’m gonna tell you how to make friends. Or really I’m gonna tell you how to fit in with people and why most guide on picking up women, making friends, or winning influence are a bit full of shit. Making real friends is something I can’t tell you how to do. A relationship between any 2 people must be unique because individuals are unique and therefore there’s no 1 size fits all guide to how to build a tie between one human and another human. There isn’t even a one size fits all guide for a specific human to other humans in general. Every pairing will have different needs and wants that need to be filled to actually turn a casually friendly acquaintance into a true help you hide a body  friend.

However there are lots of general trends that work with people as a whole. That’s where most self help guides get their advice. In general it comes down to be confident and if you aren’t fake it till you are and have multiple passions that you can talk about. That’s good but very general. After that most guides will list a bunch of tactics that tend to work, things like providing people with options instead of asking opinions, reverse psychology, negging(which is really just teasing why does it need it’s own jargon?) or reminding people of positive experiences so they correlate you with those thoughts. These tactics are the interactions that make friendship(or attraction) and cause people to act in certain ways. Therefore the theory is that using them will build the relationship you want.

The theory is flawed for two reasons. As mentioned above people are unique. Try negging a modern feminist aware of the PUA sub culture and you’re about to get a loud verbal dressing down if you’re lucky. Different people react differently to different stimuli. We are unique.

Beyond that though all of these tactics when do explicitly and with purpose, tend to come off fake. There is an artificialness to the interaction and it’s pretty easy to pick up. Some people will not realize why they are getting odd vibes and shit will work fine. Other people will be used to people being fake and won’t give a shit. There’s a still a large portion of people that will find it uncomfortable and never quite know why they don’t want to interact and others that will pick up the manufactured nature of the conversation and will immediately devalue the person doing it.

That’s why I like a very more generalized approach. One that I think is just common courtesy and respect. When you meet people, especially in a group setting, sit back and observe. Don’t put forth much, unless addressed, until you can get a read on the group. What do they like to talk about, what type of vocabulary do they use, do they have a hierarchy and if so what is? This  last one is the most important. People believe in social rankings and most of us do it all the time with every person we encounter. Knowing where you are in another person’s estimation is huge. They will have certain things they are comfortable with you doing and things they aren’t based on this. Jumping past this line is a great way to create an impression you don’t respect them and while it’s possible to work past it’s not easy.

After you get an idea how the social dynamics work, try a few things to see how they are received. Jokes, observations, whatever. Just try putting yourself out in a manner similar to what you’ve noticed and see how it’s received. If well, continue on. If poorly, observer more, adjust, try again. This is essentially the mirroring technique certain books talk about only on a more general scale and a bit more natural. The point here isn’t to reflect what you see other doing and try to be one of them. It’s to find what in your own experience matches others expectations and use that build bridges.

It also helps navigate the implicit social rules people have. By observing what people do and say and more importantly what they don’t do and say, you can easily notice and avoid any faux pas. It lets you blend. Some might consider this just as fake, that not coming in acting exactly the same as you would in any situation is not being authentic to yourself. That’s true, if the your authentic self is an asshole. When you watch a movie in a theater you are more quite than watching the game at a bar. That’s changing per situation and it’s just basic respect. Which is the key to being liked really. Respecting the things people find important, which is often the social rules and dynamics of the group and situation you happen to share.

The biggest problem I notice between people is them not realizing the rules have changed. People learn one or two sets of social codes and think they can apply that anywhere else. No. That’s dumb. Don’t do that. When you meet anyone, do not assume they share your social background and try to learn theirs. If you are entering a new area, meeting a new group of people, joining an organization, this is key. You can’t just assume that the play the social game the same way you’ve learned even if you learned it in a very similar environment. This is a new culture. Learn their ways before your try and interject yourself and respect them as best you can.

 

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