Talking to my wife at breakfast today, she mentioned bumping into a good friend of ours that moved away a number of years ago. We always liked him, but never his wife. Not that she was awful to be with — there was just something off with her interactions with us. We felt that we never saw 'the real' person. Her husband was great — open, honest, informative, and pleasant to be with. We just got the impression that she was critiquing us during our get-togethers and most certainly afterwards.
I think it comes down to authenticity. She wasn't authentic. She didn't let us see the real person — she kept a lot of her personality inside and hidden. When we spoke about meeting the husband to another neighbor, they also commented about the behavior of the wife.
First off — it's not a male/female thing — both are equal opportunity offenders. But you need to observe your behavior — here are some telling signs:
- You don't have many close friends. They don't call you to get together.
- You find that you aren't 'in' on many things at work.
- You are the last to hear about something important happening.
- At parties, people tend to shun you - or they at least keep you at a distance.
How to counteract this?
- Open up - let people know how you feel.
- Tell personal stories - this allows people to understand WHO you are.
- Comment openly - take their feelings into account, but be honest.
- Don't gossip. Don't spread rumors.
- Smile - look people in the eye when you speak.
- Ask people about their day, their work, their life.
- Act genuinely interested in their response.
- Ask if you can do anything for them.
On a scale of 1-10, 10 being totally authentic, and 1 being a total fake, where do you sit? What can you change to be a bit more authentic?