Let Your True Self Shine!—Creating relationships based on authenticity
By Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of The 11 Laws of Likability
People of all ages want to be liked, whether you are 12 or 72. Likewise, people of all ages want to be happy. When you build the relationships you want, based on simply being yourself and liking them, you will enjoy your connections and be happier in your interactions. The foundation of likability is authenticity which is the subject of the first chapter of The11Laws of Likability.
We need authenticity in our lives, our relationships and in our jobs. Just as we often don’t work to our fullest potential when a job isn’t the right fit, our relationships don’t develop when we don’t feel a real connection.
Ensuring authenticity in all aspects of your relationships helps to forge stronger, more substantial relationships then those that are based on falsity. Think of it this way: If you are not yourself from the very start of a relationship, you will constantly tiptoe around and try to act as you “should.” After a while, putting on a mask becomes very uncomfortable and exhausting. If you begin a relationship by showing your true self, you are able to relax and enjoy the friendship.
Ensure authenticity in your relationships:
1. Be true to yourself. It is important not to force yourself into situations that you don’t want to be in. If you are exhausted and cranky at a meeting with a friend, your crankiness automatically sets a negative tone. Sometimes when you are not feeling like your best self it is okay to opt out and reschedule.
Don’t let yourself completely off the hook, however. It is important to stretch yourself and gain comfort with things that may not come naturally. You may not like going to networking events for your company but you certainly can’t avoid all of them. Ease yourself into uncomfortable situations. You’ll find that you become better and better at handling them.
2. Make the connections you want to make. Networking is so much easier when the connections are genuine and when both people enjoy the relationship. Ignore your instinct to befriend who you “should” network with. Developing friendships with people that you enjoy allows for friendships that will sustain you in life and business.
On the other hand, don’t rule out people that you don’t have an immediate connection with. Let the relationship develop gradually. Sometimes you find yourself in a close friendship with someone that you seemed to have nothing in common with at first. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are friendships.
3. Don’t force it. There is no one correct way to be. Although you may feel like you “should” act a certain way, any actions out of the ordinary for your personality will come across as forced. You will feel uncomfortable and so will the people around you. If you are usually serious and reserved, don’t try to make everyone laugh. If you are usually a jokester, don’t try to stay quiet. Simply be yourself. The real you is the best you.