Hide and Seek

People like to hide from one another. They may have grown out of hide and seek, but they still unintentionally try and conceal their real selves in their interactions. This is because people are afraid of being intimate with one another; yet it is exactly this intimacy that everyone craves.

Want to make a connection with someone? Then you need to learn how to seek out their true selves in your conversations.

Time: We are not the same person that we were 5 years ago, 5 weeks ago or 5 hours ago. What is interesting in an interaction is what is happening between two people in that moment. To have a highly charged interaction both people need to be invested in that moment and be reacting to one another.

To avoid this people often talk about what their lives were like years ago. They are hiding their feelings of the present by talking about a time that has passed.

Swapping anecdotes of your first day at school can be fun, but bring the interaction back to the present. Talk about how you feel in that moment, and if they don’t follow suit, be direct and ask “How does that affect you now?” This will engage them to start thinking in the present, and telling you something that is relevant to them that day.

Tense: An exciting interaction is one that is focused on what the people think, feel and plan to do in the present. It’s the difference between relating old dates, speculating about ones you might get in the future, or having a great date then and there.

Always think about how what the person is saying relates back to them in the present. If you don’t you’ll only ever grasp the image they choose to present of themselves in the past, or the person they imagine they’re going to be in the future. The present is the real individual and the one who can connect with you.

If they are talking about the restaurant they want to open in the future, ask them about what they are doing now to accomplish that.

If they say they were such a geeky child ask if that is how they still see themselves.

Challenge people to think about how they feel in the moment, this is much more intimate than speculating about the past or the future.

Tell them what you want to do with them right now. The present is the most powerful and sexy tense.

Topic: Most films and books you truly love will be because of the character. People fall in love with characters and subjects, never topics and contexts.

To connect with someone you need to know something real about them as a person: a thought, a feeling or an experience. This is the important stuff.  The topic, whether it be music, travel or what ‘Sex and the City’ character they’d like to be is unimportant. The topic is just the vessel that enables a person to express themselves.

You shouldn’t become too invested in a topic as they can be interchanged rapidly. How often have you exhausted all your conversation on one point of discussion and then felt lost for words?

This will not happen if you engage with the real subject, the character that is in the story. If you learn that they’re the kind of person that falls in love quickly, gets angry at least three times a day, or thinks pink is a sexy colour on a guy, then you have a way to navigate and understand every other topic they talk about in a much more intimate way.

People do like to hide from one another.

But they like it better when they’re discovered. Make a person be in the moment, the present, and their true character with you. It is only then that you will start to make great connections.

To learn more about how to find the real person in your interactions, take our Conversation Camp with Wayne Elise and start making the real connections that lead to hot dates, lifelong friends and great business deals.

Video: Building Bridges


Who knew that the Golden Gate Bridge provided such a good metaphor for two people building a relationship? Wayne ‘metaphor maker’ Elise obviously...

Much like any worthwhile interaction, a bridge isn’t built from one side but works when both sides put in effort and meet in the middle.

Building a relationship ‘bridge’ with someone from your side only is never going to work.  You become overly invested in the interaction. If the other person hasn’t made any effort, then it is much easier for them to walk away. Investing is committing so if you do too much of it, and the other person not enough, then you’ll end up with one person who wants to build the Golden Gate bridge of relationships - and another who is happier just sharing a few stepping stones with you.

How do you stop being too invested?

Stop thinking about demonstrating higher value - you may leave no space for the other person to naturally offer you their value. Learn something about them so you have a basis for your attraction and a genuine interest in their conversation.

Be comfortable with silences and use them to your advantage: give the other person a chance to fill the conversational vacuum.

Make statements - don’t ask questions: questions demand a response, show some courage and individuality in a statement instead. If a person responds to a statement it is a more genuinely invested response, and is the first step in getting them to commit to being more intimate with you on every level.

For more about how to make statements instead of asking questions read our new post ‘How to Say I Instead of Asking You’.

Until then get conversational bridge building.

The Connections Can Find You

I believe in the Nostradamus theory of attraction.  

Nostradamus was a 16th century seer.  His present-day followers believe that he predicted big world events such as the Great Fire of London, Napoleon, World War II, and even the 911 terrorist attacks. Indeed when I read some of his words I can sort of see where those followers are coming from - just got to read into the imagery a bit. Maybe I can find next week's lottery numbers.  

However what I have also learned about Nostradamus was that he babbled non-stop and people wrote down everything he said. With countless manuscripts full of his lucid visions, its easy to find something that sounds like a modern-day event. 

Nostradamus was a ladies man, I figure.  I want you to be Nostradamus.  I want you to understand that if you reveal enough about yourself a woman will find something to connect with.  

Most guys ask questions, make 'God' statements and try to force a connection with a woman:

Him: "Do you work out?"
Her: "Yeah, I run."
Him: "Running is great."

Her: "I hate traffic."
Him: "Yeah, traffic sucks."

Her: "Where are all the confident men?"
Him: "You're right.  Confident men are more attractive."

These are examples of ways that guys attempt to connect with a woman.  To my ear they sound fake.  Why? Because there is nothing unique or personal about the guy's words.  They're just pleasant-sounding mush. It's not believable that he agrees with her.  When a guy approaches a woman and tries to relate, she becomes suspicious.  It just doesn't ring true. 

It's much better if you allow connection to find you.  Nostradamus was great at this.  He blubbered on so much that connections with real-life, future-events actually found him. 

Think about everything that you know, think and feel.  Think about the sum of your individual experiences.  Now pick out any woman you find attractive.  May as well take the girl on the cover of Vogue magazine.  She looks perfect.  Now consider this.  If you and this girl took ten minutes to write down twenty likes, dislikes and vulnerabilities I bet I could take both lists and find at least five commonalities.  Maybe you are both rabid Tennis fans.  Maybe you share the same favorite novel.  Maybe you both need an occasional rainy day.  Maybe she is attracted to Katherine Heigl, just like you. Those commonalities would be authentic, unforced and... cool.  

So WWND?  What exactly would Nostradamus do?  Better yet, what will you do?

I think you should persistently talk in the 'I' perspective.  I have faith that if you express yourself often enough, in a personal manner, you will never have to try to connect with a woman, the connection will find you.  

-Wayne