I’ve learned a lot about human behaviour through years of awkwardness. People don’t need to know very much about you to make a snap judgement about the kind of person you are. You can take advantage of this by making a few subtle shifts in your everyday behaviour.
These will improve the perception people have of you:
1. Sharpen up your physical appearance.
We can’t change how we came out of the womb, but we can maximise our appearance.
There’s a reason you feel better after a haircut or a manicure.
What does it say about you? Looking at a body we like in the mirror makes a difference.
We might claim that caring about how we look is shallow, but deep down you know it’s key, and will alter the perception others have of you greatly.
That’s nature. It’s reality.
Your resistance to this will keep you miserable.
2. Emotional control.
If you are quick to react with anger, you lose respect.
Avoiding this is to nurture what I call ‘the Gap.’
Reactive people have tiny gaps, meaning they don’t create any space between a triggering stimulus and their emotional response.
Non-reactive people command tremendous respect because they have nurtured gaps wide enough to allow any tension in themselves to dissipate.
3. Stop always being available.
You don’t always need to respond to that text. You don’t always need to smile, laugh or get back to people.
You shouldn’t be always available, and your real-life can reflect this. It can’t be an act.
It is a sense of scarcity that creates the perception of high value. Create a life that makes you and your time scarce.
What impression does ALWAYS being available transmit?
You have little self-respect, you aren’t focused on your own stuff, you aren’t in high demand, and you probably don’t have a mission — people will sense this.
4. Unexpected flattery.
Overly nice people are a dime a dozen.
While most people try desperately to impress, you do it different.
Your compliments are rare, unexpected, specific, and come from a genuine place.
This makes you unforgettable.
5. Talk less.
I was always ashamed that I spoke little at school.
Much of this came out of my shyness, but even today, I often find it difficult to find the words.
This is ok, because speaking less demonstrates a comfort in one’s own skin if coupled with a relaxed demeanour.
It gives the other person a chance to speak more, which most appreciate and pitches you as open, thoughtful, and generous with the space you give.
Speaking less also generates a mystery about you that keeps people interested, and wanting to know more about you.
6. Be relaxed and move slow.
Quick movements and fidgeting make you appear like a nervous woodland creature in the headlights.
You can encourage relaxation, and even a calmer mind, by moving a little slower.
It’s a positive loop.
Not rushing around like a headless chicken signals you are in control; you have time, and you go at your own pace.
This alone will shift the perspective others have of you as well as the one you have of yourself.
7. Talk a fraction slower.
One of the major contributors to my overcoming social anxiety was adopting a thing called ‘slow talk.’
Talking slower helped tremendously.
Because it gives me time to think. It slowed me physically and slowed my thinking too. This is what an anxious me needed most. Space.
This works for anyone. Most of us are rushing through life and wondering why we’re anxious.
Talk slower and you will calm down, elevate your perceived status, and garner respect.
8. Know your boundaries and exert them.
People-pleasers have few boundaries.
They equate pleasing people with an increase in their self-worth and then wonder why they go to sleep at night depressed.
People who command respect don’t allow an invasion of their time and energy.
They know when and how to say ‘no.’
This is how to stay sane and maintain the energy that the world needs from you.
Boundaries keep all this in check, and others will be inspired rather than offended by it.
9. Dress well.
The seemingly superficial can make a huge difference.
Dress well and you will feel better and create an entirely different impression versus looking scruffy.
It makes a huge difference. You knew this though.
I’m just here to remind you ;).
10. Stop trying to impress everyone.
Many of us grew up picking up the idea that if we please other people (our parents), we’d be rewarded and we’d be seen as good (little boys and girls).
Pleasing people is not a life strategy that will lead to anything good for you (unless you prefer to see your soul gradually diminish and people slowly lose respect for you).
Instead, be valuable and serve people when it’s appropriate.
Oh, and confront the reality that you’re being insincere.
You don’t really believe what you’re saying when you’re overly nice to everyone, do you?
11. Hold people’s eye.
Nothing says ‘I’m confident and I am interested in other people’ than holding someone’s gaze, especially for a little longer than might feel comfortable.
This will stand out in a fidgety world where everyone is avoiding each other’s gaze, glued to the adult version of the baby’s dummy — their phones.