Acquaintances

An acquaintance is someone with whom rapport has been established, activities shared, but trust is not yet developed. Acquaintances are people known to you and you spend time with. You enjoy their company and you have a reasonable sense of who they are, positive and negative. It is an easy-come / easy-go relationship where you are not fussed about their behaviour.


Acquaintances must not be trusted with critical tasks as they have not yet earned your trust to become a friend or closer. Generating trust is covered in Friends.

Developing Rapport

Rapport is a shared understanding of similar behaviour between two people. People who have rapport typically have similar personalities, interests, and enjoy their time together. Trust is a higher level of connection and distinct from rapport.

 


Developing rapport involves investigating each other to see what makes each other tick. Individuals will share a little to see if the other will pick up on the interest. "Do you follow sport?", "How about that election", "I'm at university", "I want to be a ‘xxxxx’ one day", and so on. When another person is saying these things they are sounding you out. It is likely they like you on the superficial level of body, presentation, mannerisms, emotions, etc., and want to know more to see if you are a potential acquaintance or friend. Answer honestly as lies will soon be picked up on, "I'm not much into sport but I would like to be. What sports do you like?" is a reasonable answer.


You are not in this world to impress people, just yourself, and to find similarly minded people to share time with. "Sport is boring!" is a terrible answer as you have just insulted the other person's interest, they will probably dislike you immediately and possibly become aggressive with you. "Sorry, I'm not into watching sport, I just like doing it" is a better answer, or "Sport is great but I don't have much time for it as I focus on my studies. What sport do you like?". It is then up to the other person to decide whether they want to talk more about themself, ask you about you studies, or a healthy balance of both. Conversation is a two-way street of give and take.


Sometimes it does not matter what you say as the other person may become upset from hearing anything but what they want to hear. These people have very little self-esteem and depend highly on external sources of esteem for their contentment. Recognise their need for external assurance and tread lightly, and kindly. They can be sensitive and/or abrasive if they have been done wrong by. They can even become vengeful. It varies from person to person.


Often it takes real courage for people to come up and talk to you. If you notice someone is awkward and nervous around you, then give them a smile and thank them for chatting with you. It breaks the ice and helps them to open up. This way you get to know the real them.


Take the time to ask them about themselves to see what they are interested in. Notice what they do and what they say. Repeated words indicate an emotional attachment to something they want to discuss. Set your focus on those words and explore the topic, for example, 'I want to cook something tonight' then quickly 'I love food' indicates they would love talking about food. If you find they are less experienced than you then frame your answers around their level of understanding unless they ask you for specific answers. By asking specific questions they are indicating their readiness to accept that information. Encourage learning and provide support positively and constructively.

Parlay in Conversation

It is common for many to take over the conversation when asked about themselves. Keep talking about yourself when asked for about 20-30 seconds at most, and then give the other person a chance to speak. Avoid constant interruptions as that shows disrespect for the other person's right to express themself. They will quickly become annoyed. Be patient and pace it out. If you have a problem respecting someone's time to speak this indicates an issue with you, take a look inside and see if there are any signs of neurosis.

 


Being a genuinely excited and positive when talking really brings more people into the conversation. Those who are unhappy, dull, or speak in a monotone tend to put others off and they lose interest very quickly. Keep sentences short and sweet and stick to the point, even if your mind wanders.


Do not volunteer too much information as it can overwhelm others. When introduced to new information everyone needs to devote a lot of time to processing it. Many are not in this frame of mind when they meet socially. You are just exploring at this stage and not trying to impress anyone. If you see surprise, alarm, or a dull glaze in their eye this indicates you are passing on too much for them, slow down and immediately try to pass the conversation to them by asking them a question. Follow their lead from here on in. Do not immediately apologise for being overwhelming as it will make them feel inferior as you will pass yourself off as superior. “Sorry you couldn’t keep up because I’m better and you are slow” is basically what you are saying. This is not true, they just needed the time and desire to switch into a different and stronger state of mind and were caught unaware. The issue was with you.

Similar Body Language

Maintain a similar body language but do not try to imitate the other person. This is all about appropriateness. If someone is sitting then sit at their level, if they are standing then stand. Don't put your feet on the table if they are not. This is about honouring their value as a person and by not doing this you are telling them consciously or sub-consciously that they are not worth the respect.

Be Genuine

 

Most importantly be genuine - fakes are easily spotted. Insincerity is easily picked up by most. They may not always know how, but they know. It is far better to be respectful and honest than to try and fool another. Lies have to be remembered, and lies have a habit of building on top of each other. It becomes harder and harder to lie and the longer someone knows you the easier it is for them to spot your fraud. The need to lie is a neurotic distortion of the personality from events when a person’s right to be themselves was denied. They learned to lie to protect themself. All a liar needs to do to stop making their life complicated is to know they will be happier inside if their stop lying. They will slowly unravel their lies, apologise, atone and generally make good. They know they might upset a few people along the way. They also learn that by telling the complete truth they could cause immense pain to others, they have to tell a white lie to protect the other’s feelings. They learn from this constant reminder of potential pain they can cause of the reasons NOT to be dishonest in the first place.

Becoming Trustworthy

Trust is personal connection which has developed from much experience between two people (or lifeforms) to know that each of them will be supportive, honest, and deliver on their promises. For this reason trust cannot be automatically assumed. It is dysfunctional to say “I trust you” or “Trust me” to a complete stranger, as the trust has to be earned.

 

Trust


Someone’s reputation helps shed light on possible behaviour but every individual must learn for themselves if someone is trustworthy as each individual has their own criteria for trust.
Trustworthiness is different from a trust relationship. Trustworthy people are most LIKELY to be honourable while two people in a trust relationship KNOW the other will do right by them. Know the difference.


Demonstrating trustworthy attributes helps build a positive reputation which allows others to successfully work with you. Be mindful of perfection and do your best. The greater their specific skills and trustworthiness, the higher someone climbs in a social or business group. This is the functional way, but be aware of the unhealthy people, especially power maniacs, who lie, cheat and manipulate their way to the top. The functional way is merit based and those who govern based on merit create much contentment and safety for others. The power maniacs cause people to fear them and authority in general, and are the source of abuse and neurosis. If you have an interest then have a read of the section on Healthy Behaviour.


A key skill when fostering trust is not to force an issue. Share information then give the other person the time and space to decide for themselves. This recognises the other’s right to live their life and learn on their own terms. You cannot hurry trust, it is not an action, it is a RESULT of many actions.

Managing Expectations

The key to successful socialising is to be easy going, that is, be accommodating and undemanding. We socialise to relax, de-stress and amuse ourselves. We require actions beyond this to support each other at a specific time and place. It is important to recognise the difference.


To come into a social gathering to meet new people and be intense, disruptive and demanding will only alienate you from others. You may not intend to but you are judged on your actions, not your intentions. By all means share information and ideas but to run in with a call to arms to strangers will only leave the others amused or offended at your expense.


Offer help but do not ask for it (you can ask trusted Friends for help). By assisting others you raise the chance that they will return the favour. By constantly asking for help you become demanding and are considered a drain on people’s precious time and resources. People share time, energy and resources because they choose to. Those that feel supported may have more time to support others when they choose. We instinctively fear those that are a threat to our survival including those that are a drain on our energy.


If you meet someone who is uptight, defensive or reluctant then let them know a little about your values and what you are up to at that moment so they may choose to relax a little. Their perceptions of you can be many and sometimes you may need to spell it out to some. Keep the information to a minimum, be genuine and act in accordance with your words. Open up with information as they ask but again keep it at a minimum, but not too minimal as you may be seen as untrusting.


Be prepared for the unexpected as outcomes from others depend on their experience (short and long term), their mood, their current focus and many other factors. If you have caused offence then apologise. I find that most of the time another person will also be sorry for an outburst, they may even want to share why so be empathic. It can be a bonding experience. Essentially learn to be accepting of all behaviour as outcomes is as much about you as them, share the responsibility.


Lastly be strong in your own self-esteem to be unaffected by negative outcomes. If you tend to be dependant on social outcomes it highlights a need, possibly from a poor relationship with your parents or guilt from hurting someone in the past. Learn to put these feelings behind you and become a functional individual.

Providing Support

 

Once an initial introduction has been successfully completed you may have a non-binding connection with someone, that is, not a trust relationship. This needs to be maintained over a number of encounters for familiarity to build. Once this happens offers of support can be extended. This is not a rigid rule and needs to take into account the preferences of the two individuals.


Selflessness is a very desireable trait that endears us to others. Being selfless is simply the act of unconditional caring of someone else.


Show empathy with their situation, show that you understand and ask how you can be of assistance. If the other person is unsure or does not know a way forward ask if they want information. Most people do not like advice unless asking for it (unsolicited advice), they instinctively want to solve their own problems as it builds self-esteem. Unsolicited advice comes across like a lecture and unfortunately parents and others in a position of authority have a habit of doing this and it lowers one’s self-esteem.


Do little things at first and gradually build on this. Doing too much too soon can overwhelm both people and the over extension can leave you vulnerable as the favour may not be returned, thus it can be viewed consciously or sub-consciously as selfish. Do a little, see if it is returned and then move to greater support. If someone provides help/support/a favour to you always acknowledge it and return the favour the best you can. If someone saves you a lot of money then give them a little gift in return. Kindness is effort beyond the equilibrium and must be balanced by a return effort otherwise the imbalance is likely to manifest elsewhere.


Be weary of gender differences. Women tend to like support, while men tend to want to be self-sufficient. Of course this is a general observation and individuals may vary.

Allegiances

People are social and mostly like to work together. Instinctively they like people 'to be on their side' but are not always aware of the reasons why they have this preference. The people that are aware can be calculating and potentially selfish. People of complimentary nature tend to group together like elements to form chemicals (allegiences). All the people (elements) of a group (compound) fit together with almost mathematical predictability like a leader, followers, personality traits, skillsets and other properties define how these fit together. These groups work together effectively given the conditions and resist being broken up.



In chemistry when a new element is added to a compound it takes a lot of energy to break up a stable compound to add a new element and may in fact need more than just one element to do this. Take note of this fact when watching groups forming versus when they are stable. Stable groups are very reluctant to change and can be quite forceful or nasty when maintaining their structure. Unstable groups have people come and go on a regular basis and allow you to come aboard but you may also be kicked out just as quickly. New groups can provide a chance to join a stable social or business group. Unstable groups are missing elements that would otherwise make them stable.

Leadership

Leader - Richard Branson

 

Great leadership stabilises a group by recognising the environment in which it operates, knows the process and elements (including people), and works functionally (positive and constructive) with both. When a leader performs this job poorly they are usually challenged by another who perceives themself as better. Constantly battling leadership leaves a group unstable and prey to another group's competition.

Groups naturally clash as they compete for resources and power. Don’t let things get heated. Be a moderator. Power is the ability to get things done, nothing else.

Getting Along

Getting along is about being easy going, that is;

Be as neutral as reasonable, avoid criticism, be transparent in your actions unless you know you will upset someone, and make allowances for differing points of view. You can be right in your own time, if someone has a point of view which is 'wrong' in your mind, just let them have their opinion. They will find out soon enough what is functional, and at times what you believe may change over time.


Compromise where possible but draw a line when things potentially become negative and/or destructive. Do not cross that line into negative thinking and behaviour even when others try to pull you in. Smile and walk away. Later explain why you were uncomfortable as it is important to communicate these facts because the other person cannot read minds.

 

Getting Along


You do not have to agree with everything. Often challenges come up when two people cannot agree on a point of view. It is best to stay polite and put your point of view without making it personal, that is, "I always heard differently", or "Interesting, I did not know that, I will have to look into that more closely", or "That's a new way of looking at it". People who get angry with you because you do not agree with them exactly, and/or are not adaptable can make life challenging. If they become aggressive then move carefully away, they are likely neurotic or worse.


Your actions also helps with getting along. Being honest and showing integrity really helps bring people together. Integrity is an instinctual behaviour which most naturally warm to, it's in our genes. Neurotic and other unhealthy people may sometimes have a particular problem with integrity as they may have been bullied for not showing integrity and if they were constantly compared to someone with integrity then they may come to hate people with integrity. It rarely happens but it is possible, just always be on the lookout.


Be sincere in your appreciation for other people's support or a high standard of effort. It is encouraging to hear a little appreciation, but a independent person does not rely on other people's feedback to feel good about themself.