The science of being the most popular person in the room
Ever wonder why some people are just so Goddamn popular everywhere they go, with all crowds, even though they aren’t really that funny/attractive/personable? Well, what is often attributed to “charisma”or dumb luck, is actually the science of social-polarity, or as Psychologists like to call it, “emotional intelligence”.
There are arguments for the development of one’s emotional intelligence on both the innate (nature) and learnt (nurture) spectrums, however, prevailing theories tend to favour Modelling Behaviours, that is, basing one’s own social tendencies on role models (like parents and peers). What they found is that when children and youth tend to have more charismatic parents, there is a higher likelihood that they will be viewed by peers in a more charismatic light.
If you weren’t lucky enough to have Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell as your 'rental units, here’s the Cole’s notes on how to be the most popular person in the room:
Don't laugh at them like a crazy person, but if someone is trying to be funny and you give them a chuckle, it shows an open social acceptance that puts them at ease and immediately gives them a good impression of you.
Do me a solid
Wait, what? That’s right, science shows that if you ask someone to do YOU a favour, they form an immediate connection to you. You don’t have to ask them to change your car tire, but even, “Hey Jim, can you do me a favour and pass the salt?” is enough to toy with their emotions.
Touching me, touching you (not in that way you perv)
(Subliminal touching) Casually tapping someone’s back or touching their arm will make someone feel more warmly toward you. In a fun study done by Mlodinow in France, young men stood on street corners and talked to women who walked by. They had double the success rate in striking up a conversation when they lightly touched the woman’s arm as they talked to them. That said, this is in reference to SUBLIMINAL touching, obvious intentional touching will have the opposite effect…creep.
Who's the goose?
(Pratfall Effect) Studies show that people actually like you more after you make a mistake…but only if they think you are competent first. Establish your competence early on, but once you have done so, make a joke at your own expense or tell an embarrassing story about yourself.
Compliment them one-time
(Spontaneous Trait Transference) That’s right, I said once. Believe it or not, complimenting someone too frequently actually puts a strain on your relationship as the perception of the balance of ‘power’ becomes skewed (Gain-Loss Theory). You’re actually better off complimenting their friend, or someone they don’t even know, in front of them. One compliment and done, otherwise they’ll think they’re too good for you.
(Similarity Attraction Effect)
Say my name
What feels worse than someone forgetting your name? Nothing, obviously. Conversely, someone saying your name is its own reward, because we are each special little nuggets who value narcissistic recognition. Research shows that repeating someone’s name right after meeting them not only makes it more likely that you will remember it later on, it portrays immediate respect which is reflected back on their feelings toward you.
(Mirroring) There is nothing humans enjoy looking at more than familiar things. Someone’s movement patterns are tendencies that they have built up over time, and chances are having been doing for years. Subconsciously, we can see ourselves making these movements. When we subconsciously see others doing the same, we are immediately drawn to them.
Strike a pose
Posture and eye contact are critical components of confidence. Studies have shown that leaning back, spreading yourself out and looking people in the eyes when you are talking to them makes you feel powerful and appear powerful as well.
Want the science of being popular on the beach? Check out this article about how to get underwear model abs!