Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Meeting New People

I realized something very important recently. I've always been good at making friends with people that had interests similar to mine, but had struggled with finding an effective way of connecting with people with whom I did not identify in any meaningful way. There are a few people that I know that are passion-drummer people (these are not status-conscious socialites) that seem to make friends with most everyone they meet. I think I've figured out how they do it. When they meet someone new, instead of looking for common interests like I do, they look for a person's passions. They ask open-ended questions that truly seek to find out what a person's passions are. Questions like, "What do you do for fun?" and "What are your hobbies?" When the person starts to "light up" about a topic, they know they've found a topic of passion. After this, it's just a matter of asking effective questions related to that person's interests. They learn about the really important things about the people they least in terms of passion that is. And these people come away from the introduction feeling cared about and of interest and in that way the people come away liking them because they made them feel good. These people felt good not because they pounced upon them with flattery, but because they took genuine interest in them. I always thought it had to be a topic of personal interest to me for that to happen. I now know that it's less about topics that interest me and more about finding something of passion to them. When that other person is talking about their passion, you can't help but feel the change in the person's energy. It is a positive energy that cannot be faked. Oddly enough, their passion, whether the topic is of interest to me or not, is of interest to me almost always (unless it violates a core value of mine). So I learned something really valuable today. Find the passion in others is the most important thing I can do when I meet a person for the first time. And every time I do, we'll both come away from a positive experience.

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