What is it about a situation or a person that makes you feel at ease, or uncomfortable? And how much about it is actually coming from you?
This image is a screenshot from a video titled "kiss me now, meet me later" by Jordan Oram.
Watch the video on youtube.
It’s an interesting question, in a private setting as well as in the accountable world of business. For varying reasons, we often feel isolated from those around us these days: be it a competition situation, the practical setup at the workplace, a lack of ability to ask the questions we really need to ask, etc.
Isolation and closeness are two ends of the same stick, and they are connected by our ability to communicate. Do you actually voice your personal opinions, especially when it is based on a gut feeling rather than empirical evidence, in words or actions? Or do you usually hold back, to avoid confusion, confrontation or a potentially awkward social situation? Be aware that the way we engage with the world around us informs our view of said world and all that is in it, including the people we communicate with.
Our level of openness in communication is based on the level of trust we share with that particular person, but often we find ourselves in a position where that trust has not been earned yet, and we have to go out on a limb and extend trust notwithstanding. It is part of doing business, and those of us who run businesses are very much aware of taking this particular flavour of risk on a regular basis. We have learned that we have to be open towards potential customers, our existing customers and even (sometimes) our competition, in order to keep our business afloat.
In personal life, however, we tend to be far less adventurous when it comes to extending trust to strangers. How far do your trust the person sitting at the next table in a café to look out for your stuff while you nip off to the loo? How comfortable are you sharing personal stories with friends, or colleagues at work, or strangers on a train? Do you get a feeling of discomfort when you are sitting on a train next to someone you feel threatened by in some way?
Of course, full-on trusting everyone may not be the way forward. That might just make you an easy target for all kinds of mischief. But wouldn’t it be brilliant if you could defuse some of the discomfort in social situation by keeping the “alarm” level to a minimum and start communicating from a place of calm rather than from a place of internalised panic? Of course, becoming a “master of cool” is a question of exercise and experience, but in my personal opinion almost everyone is able to get a level of trust going.