You are being sized up. All. The. Time.
Whether we like it or not, people are always looking and judging. Now, that doesn’t mean we need to care about their judgement, that is not what I am saying at all. But what I am saying is that, when people are “sizing you up” they are really trying to see what you have in common and see if you are the kind of person they want to connect with. You will most likely be sized up as people are trying to get to know you. People are taking in impressions of you all the time, people that you interact with during daily routine business and errands. In this article, I am talking about impressions you make on people that you just meet or are acquaintances with BUT you want to develop a more positive relationship with them. They could be people in your class, at work, if you are a parent, the PTA/PTO, your students teacher, the other moms on your kids soccer team, etc. People that you want to “like” you.
There is one thing about human nature that you need to understand, right now, it is that people choose to be with people who they see as most like themselves. Studies have confirmed that finding friends with our likeness is hardwired and “future friends or partners are already similar at the outset of their social connection.”
“You try to create a social world where you’re comfortable, where you succeed, where you have people you can trust and with whom you can cooperate to meet your goals,” Crandall said. “To create this, similarity is very useful, and people are attracted to it most of the time.” –Bahns and Crandall
This is important to know and understand. If you are dissatisfied with your life, take a look at the people you spend the majority of your time with. Maybe it is a good idea to surround yourself with people like you want to be. There is another study that was done that looked at your friends and how likely it was that you would have the same habit/behavior. They looked at weight. If your friend is obese, there is a 45% chance that you will gain weight over the next 2 to 4 years. What is even crazier is that if a friend of your friend is obese you are 20% likely to gain weight and you don’t even know that friend! Here is more information on how your friends define you.
When people are sizing you up, they are checking to see if they trust you and respect you. So if you want a certain type of person to like you try to find what you have in common. If you are looking to break into a certain group of ladies or just want a friend that is in the level that you are trying to level up to, try the following tips.
FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT
You need to dress the part. This is the easiest way to show likeness. Dressing like your desired group is the best way in. People look at your outfit and make presumptions. If you look like a slob, they will often think you are a slob even if you are not. It doesn’t matter – and if that person doesn’t identify with being a slob they will not give you their attention. People want to befriend people that make them look or feel good in one way or another. It is the way it is.
Ok, so you have got the look down. Now, when you are interacting with a specific group or person try to match their body language. Don’t do it as they are doing it, give it at least 5 to 10 seconds but this really works. This helps to build rapport quickly and shows similarities to the person at the subconscious level. When you are talking, use the same facial expressions and vocal inflections when responding.
Be where ever you need to be to get noticed. If you are trying to make friends in a certain setting, get out and be in that setting. Once people start seeing you often they feel like they know you. It is easier to strike up conversation if you have seen the person a few times.
DISPLAY POSITIVE EMOTIONS
Did you know that emotions can be transferred from person to person! This is called emotional contagion and it is a real thing. Obviously people like bright, energetic and positive people. Be warm and noncompetitive with people when you meet them. Do not try to one up what they say to look cool. Just be warm, friendly and interested. Let them talk about themselves.
People are more inclined to respect you when you have a higher economic or educational status. Never ever reveal these point blank. Weave them into your narrative and overall presence. You can do this by showing willpower. If you smoke, drink heavily, overeat, overspend or show other forms of willpower, it is better to quit or keep these private as it can diminish trustworthiness. Some other ways to be perceived as competent is to talk about what you know and more so do not act like you know something you do not. It is OK to admit not knowing. Here is more information on how to look competent.
EMPHASIZE SHARED VALUES
As you are getting to know the person try to find shared values and point them out. Ask for advice on something but never help (never ask for help with anything until you are friends with someone and even then it is ify).
ACT LIKE YOU LIKE THEM
Show genuine interest in people and what they are doing.
Here is a great video to watch for some more information on nonverbal behaviors.