People are different because human survival depends on it. Fakeness is palatable, and there will always be someone who doesn’t like you, despite your best efforts. So stop trying to fit into an “ideal” that isn’t you. Be honest with yourself and sincere with those you encounter. People will take notice and you will remain relatively sane.
Unfortunately, to reach success, you have to get people to like you on some level. Like, a lot of people. You have to attend networking events, festivals, and Christmas parties.
In school you are lectured on how to “dress to impress,” for events like these, and taught the importance of a firm handshake. And while that’s useful (first impression and all that jazz), all this superficiality makes us so focused on ourselves and how we’re perceived to the point that we’re not really ourselves anymore. Instead we’re a kiss-ass putting on a show.
In the entertainment industry especially, this artifice is very real, and for an introvert like myself, extremely exhausting. So sometimes I just step back and observe.
1. People are just people.
You see the person that you revere as the epitome of brilliance and success? They poop, too, you know. Though you may never see it, they have bad hair days, they have their own sets of fears and anxieties, and they probably like to sleep in on Saturdays, like most people do.
It’s important to have someone to look up to, but once they become a God-like figure in your mind, they — and everything they represent —becomes other-worldly, inherently unattainable by mere mortals.
If you have a God complex yourself, then this doesn’t really apply to you and you should totally disregard it (as if you haven’t already), but for everyone else, all this reverence does is cause complexes and a feeling of being perpetually not good enough or undeserving.
When you feel that way, it becomes all that more difficult to go up to that person you admire and do something as simple as introduce yourself.
It’s a switch in mindset from “measly human trying to gain attention from a divine entity” to “a person interested about this cool thing another person does.” One situation is significantly more intimidating than the other. You can choose which one you’re going to throw yourself into.
2. People are different.
Well duh. The fact that “we’re all special little snowflakes” is drilled into our psyches all throughout grade school. Notice how that all of a sudden stops once we step into the “real world?”
Adult life is deemed synonymous with conformity, settling into what’s comfortable, and doing taxes. While you can’t (legally) get away from filing your taxes, you don’t have to be like everyone else. The greats are great because they don’t conform, right?
People are unique. We have different goals, different ideas, and above all, different personalities.
Not everyone can be that bubbly personality who commands an audience. If we were, who would watch them, or us? Workplaces, teams, society as a whole, are all ecosystems of personalities. You need all types for a sustainable environment.
3. Nobody likes a know-it-all.
Think back to that one guy in your English or Political Science class who would have their hand up every three minutes, eager to spout the most contrived, pretentious string of words they scrawled in the margins of their textbook the night before. Am I the only one who hated that guy?
I respect people who put in the work to be great at their craft, but that expertise can stand on its own. Let your amazing-ness come through organically rather than cram it in people’s faces at every opportunity.
Know–it-alls are boring. And to be boring is social death, especially in our Instagram heart-craving culture. The boring are forgotten. You brandish your knowledge to garner attention, and in doing so, you inevitably push it away.
Sincerity counts for something with most people. It’s refreshing. Especially when everyone’s self-interest is so in-your-face.
The truth isn’t always easy to embrace, especially when you’ve been conditioned otherwise. I also acknowledge that these three truths might not ring true for everyone, but ultimately the key to winning people over is having a genuine human connection with them.
You don’t need a fitted blazer or a death grip handshake for that.