You’ve heard the offhanded comment before: Why are you so distant all of the time?
Or all the more common: How can you be so cold?
Me? Cold? We often don’t even realize our own aloofness until we’re confronted with it head on. Whether we’re protecting ourselves from the unknown or it has simply become a habit to appear stoic at all times, we cold-hearted folk can’t help but give off the wrong impression. While others might call us ‘suspicious’ or ‘mysterious’, we just think we’re private and introverted. It’s not that we necessarily mean to appear so detached; we’re just hoping that others understand it’s unintentional. But this demeanor can start to damage the perception people have of us.
When we’re constantly forcing others to go out of their way to crawl into our shells of isolation, we start to compromise the connections we have. We’ve set up our own personal road blocks, preventing anyone from seeping into our icy exteriors. It’s time to open up that chilly heart of ours and learn how to let people in without feeling the urge to run for higher ground.
1. As Usher once famously said, pay attention to that body language.
Arms crossed? Avoiding eye contact? Stop looking like a shifty criminal trying to avoid arrest and go straight into that goddamn hug. Too much, too soon? Take note of how your physical presence is being read. Turn your shoulders to whoever is speaking to you, bonus points for casually touching an elbow or giving a classic high five. Not only does it open you up, but simply having your position directed towards someone let’s that person know you are giving 100% of your attention.
2. Say Yes To The…..(fill in the blank).
You might not really like that new Kate Hudson rom-com, but volunteering to go with the friend who’s dying to see it will show her how her interests are important to you (after all, now she’ll go see that unheard of indie film with you next week). Maybe camping in the woods isn’t your cup of tea (and you’d rather be home drinking that tea…) but be open-minded to the interests of others. Not only will you meet new people, but doing something that’s not necessarily your style shows the commitment you have to others.
3. Channel your inner cheerleading and get some E-N-T-H-U-S-I-A-S-M.
Everyone loves someone who’s openly excited to be spending time with them. It’s as easy as a text stating how much you are looking forward to your future plans. If you’re really feeling it, throw in an extra smiley to get their spirits up (however, 14 ‘!!!!!!!’ can do the opposite. They’ll just think you’re suspiciously eager in a VERY loud voice). As long as your feelings are sincere, share those thoughts. Only good things can come from showing your anticipation for your time together.
4. Vagueness is unappealing.
When your friendly coworker asks how your weekend was, don’t cower in the corner of your cubicle attempting invisibility. A quick ‘fine, yours?’ initiates no further interaction and will leave you alone in your spreadsheet haven. But that’s not our goal here. Share one highlight and reciprocate the interest (author’s note: no need to go into detail about the 13 mimosas at bottomless brunch), but a little communication about your new Pilates class will make the workplace all that more enjoyable.
5. Don’t wait for someone to ask.
We often don’t want to burden friends with the ups and downs of our ordinary lives. Yet, not sharing our every day struggles and triumphs inhibits others from knowing what’s really happening. Not only will it remind you that you don’t have to carry the weight alone, but your friends will feel honored that they are who you seek out for comfort. People want to feel needed.
6. Take the initiative.
It’s not always enough to respond to the group chain emails with a ‘Yep, I’m in’ for that weekend’s activity. Your passivity can appear as laziness and lacking involvement. Start off small and suggest a group happy hour at a favorite place. A little initiation can go a long way.
7. Take it in stride if someone cancels.
Although many would consider a harmless ‘sorry, can’t make it tonight’ to be nothing personal, it is just the push a cold-hearted gal needs to run back into her shelter of seclusion. No, this is not a personal vendetta against you. Casually suggest a make-up date and move on. She’s not re-scheduling? You didn’t want to waste time on someone who doesn’t think you’re a priority, anyways.
8. Don’t abandon your cold-hearted tendencies completely.
Don’t lose your cautious edge. Having people work for your warmth isn’t necessarily a bad thing…being a skeptic does have its perks. The hesitance you have in letting people in ensures that those who you open up to are worth your time and investment. Keep those quality standards high.