Let's face it, we want to impress people. I want to impress you right now. And no matter how long I meditate it's hard to get far from my ego-driven Me-machine. "Please, like me!" See. Impossible. But it's okay to want to excite and impress people. This weakness is just part of our human condition. It's why we have Facebook. It's why I stick pictures of my girlfriend on my blog. :) We just can't out-Zen it.
The challenge for us is to be exciting while not overstepping our truth-bond with other people. We want to be known as interesting but also TRUTHFUL.
Many people are frankly, out there, in the field, lying. Not you of course. But people. That's too bad. However, when the lights start flashing and we see that dude with the 70's collar and gold chains hauling around a ten it's easy for even normally law-abiding people such as you and me to become seduced by the idea of pumping up our reality. I can't tell you how often I've heard otherwise honest guys claim to have seen three strippers in a hair-pulling fight outside a bar when indeed, there were no strippers and no fight.
With this in mind I want to share with you ten phrases that'll allow you to make your conversations mire exciting while maintaining your truthfulness.
#1 "I imagine..."
Sticking this phrase before you make something up keys your listener that you're just exercising your imagination. "When I came in I imagined girls out front fighting. It seems that sort of place. I don't know about you but I have to admit I'd kind of like to see that."
#2 "That reminds me..."
This is a transition phrase that we can fit in to connect topics. It's useful in places where we might be tempted to claim knowledge we don't posses in order to keep the conversation flowing. "I don't know why exactly but that reminds me of my trip to Japan. I found the people like you, open to new ideas in a way that I found inspiring."
#3 "I don't know anything about that but I'm guessing it's like this..."
Just because you have no experience or knowledge of a topic doesn't mean you can't talk about it. It's okay to admit your ignorance. Use this phrase to fill in the gap. "I didn't grow up playing rugby, I've never been to a match, but I imagine, from how you talk about it, that there's a great camaraderie among players, that you might be enemies on the pitch but off it you're friends."
#4 "I want to be..."
Sometimes we feel left out if we're not wearing the same stripes as others. Maybe you're a zebra surrounded by a herd of giraffe. Use this phrase to relate. "No, I'm not in a relationship but one day, when I meet and pick up Anne Hathaway, I want to be."
#5 "Let's pretend..."
People love playing make-believe. Our imaginations IMO are what makes us human. This phrase invites others to join you in leaving reality behind together. "I think we should pull off a caper like in that movie Oceans 11. Let's pretend. I think you can be Julie Roberts character because you'd look stunning in a cocktail dress. I get to be George Clooney because it's my idea."
#6 "... just kidding.."
It's the grandaddy of all take-backs. So long as you stick this phrase in before your listeners vocally react, you can pretty much say anything. "I can't believe you said that. I'm a Mormon and I'm offended. We take these things seriously. Ha. Just kidding. Are there even Mormon people anymore. I thought they left in a giant spaceship."
(editorial note: just kidding Mormon people. I love you. I knew a Mormon girl in high school. She wouldn't have anything to do with me, but she was hot. I'm a fan.)
#7 "XYZ ridiculous and funny thing..."
It's not a lie if it's an obviously fabrication. It's not a lie if it's an obvious joke.
"What do I do? For a living? I'm a polar explorer. I'm working right now. I'm just obviously not good at my job."
#8 "I can't relate to XYZ..."
Sometimes the best way to relate is not to relate but rather restate the other's story to encourage them to express more. "I can't imagine how you felt. To walk in on your boyfriend with another woman and the midget they met that night at the carnival doing horrible things with a cigar box."
#9 "This is normally where I would try to impress you but I'm not."
Believe it or not people like you because they can be themselves around you. It's exhausting putting on 'airs'. When you tell your conversational partner that you feel no need to play the game of oneupmanship you'll find the conversation can be more relaxed and fun. "You seem like a cool, successful person. But I hope you don't mind if I just be myself. I'm guessing you'll appreciate it if I'm just normal and not try to impress you or your friends."
#10 "I'm here by myself. Do you mind if I join you?"
This one is also my favorite opener for the bar scene. It's not a big deal being out alone. Most people wish they had the courage to go out by themselves and meet strangers. You don't have to pretend you have friends waiting for you. "Hey, you guys look like people who are interesting. I'm out on my own tonight. Mind if I join you for a few minutes?"
Hope these ideas can assist. If you get a chance to try them out please write me a comment below.
All the best, Wayne