Sartre remarked, somewhat morbidly that “Hell is other people”, but he was also angry and French, so I’ll take his words with a grain of salt.
His point however, that people can somehow be hard to deal with is very real and relatable. People are difficult to deal with sometimes, and the sooner we realize that the better.
What’s interesting though is that there are a few ways we can increase the quality of our interactions with others fairly easily, and I’m going to share one of them here. That is to say I’m going to share with you a snippet from own life, which hopefully will show you what I mean.
I have a background in telemarketing, and unlike most people, I enjoyed selling on the phone quite a bit and I made a living from it for the better part of a decade. The reason I enjoyed it, was because I figured out what made people tick. I figured out what made people from all walks of life open themselves up to strangers.
What I did was simply to ask open-ended questions which made the other person talk about themselves. This gets everyone talking, no matter how high or low their status is – if you want to engage with someone, make a point to get them to talk about themselves. People always have time for that, no matter how busy and important they are.
If you want to make someone feel warm, welcome and comfortable, ask them questions about their personal history and what brought them to the point they are at today. When you show interest in them, they will immediately reciprocate that interest and you will quickly find common ground and many a relationship has spouted from this ability to take a keen and genuine interest in others.
When you show genuine interest in others, you will find your ability to interact with people increase exponentially and your days of staring awkwardly into the ground whenever you encounter strangers will be replaced by a newfound joy of talking to people you’ve never met before.
Trust me – I’ve been there.