Have you ever socialized with a person and after a while felt that you just didn’t enjoy it that much? You couldn’t put your finger on exactly what it was, but the person you spoke to just came off as boring or annoying.
Research shows that we like people whose behavior is similar to ours. Consequently, we dislike those who differ too much from us in how they behave. An important part of this behavior is your social energy. People who are socially successful are great at adjusting their social energy to the person they talk to.
I am now going to explain what social energy is and how you can use it to make friends faster and have deeper relations. By adjusting your social energy correctly, people will start being drawn towards you because they will feel more in tune with you. This adjustment is natural. However, people who are better at adjusting it to the person they talk to have more and closer friends.
The 4 Types of Social Energy
Social energy varies along two scales. It goes from negative to positive and from low to high. Most people are somewhere in the middle of the scale.
Positive high social energy: Someone with high social energy is not afraid to talk with a loud voice and has a cheerful and confident appearance. At a party, the person with the highest positive energy easily becomes the center of attention.
Positive low social energy: This is what people usually call cool or pleasant. The person uses a calm voice and a laid-back body language. This is also the mode we often get into when we are in a safe environment with people we know.
Negative high social energy: The person might talk too fast and be unfocused. This could be because he or she gets stressed by the situation or just comes from another stressful situation, such as a hectic day at work.
Negative low social energy: The person is timid and quiet and can be mistaken for not liking the person he or she talks to. The low energy is often caused by nervousness, tiredness or irritation.
Build Rapport by Adjusting Your Social Energy Correctly
Meeting high energy with low energy and vice versa is more dangerous than most people think. Here is a story about what happened when two people met and differed too much in their social energy:
Joe was outgoing, loud and happy (positive high social energy). Sue was timid. She seldom spoke and she seemed a bit stiff (negative low social energy). They were paired up for a blind date by their common friends. Unfortunately, their date didn’t go that well and they just didn’t connect. Joe thought that Sue is was boring and Sue thought that Joe was mostly irritating. They never went on a second date, all because neither Joe nor Sue adjusted their social energy on the date.
This story tells us that you aren’t supposed to always aim for a specific energy, but instead adjusting it to fit the situation.
How to Correctly Adjust Your Social Energy
- If you talk to a person with negative or positive high energy, meet that person with positive high energy.
- If you talk to a person with negative or positive low energy, meet that person with positive low energy.
A person who does not adjust or misadjusts his or her social energy will have a hard time at making friends. Let’s look at another example from one of our readers:
“Back then, the adrenaline used to start pumping every time I met new people. It made me talk faster and I always fiddled with stuff in my hands or rubbed my fingers, like if I was on a caffeine high. I did make friends. But only with the other not-so-socially-skilled people around me. They were behaving the same way that I did, so that is probably why we clicked. After I learned about social energy, I started to adjust my voice and body language to the person I talked to.At the beginning, I still felt nervous, but I did not let it show. Suddenly I could make friends with people who didn’t have to be exactly like me.”
Take note of the social energy of the person you talk to. Then adjust yours by either becoming a bit more energetic or calm to match their voice and body language. If someone is high energy or low energy because they are nervous around other people, meet them with positive high or low energy. They will feel more similar to you, and you will make closer friends.