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Being Socially Successful Without a Magnetic Personality

By Andrew Burgon / phoenix@projectfellowship.com
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June 14, 2014

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A photo of me during the early days of Project Fellowship.

A photo of me during the early days of Project Fellowship.


 

You don’t need the X-factor or a truly magnetic personality to draw to yourself the kind of friends who have the qualities you desire.

I guess I’m the poster boy that proves you don’t need a magnetic personality to draw friends into your life. What I want to share with you is how I managed to come up with the circle of friends I did have during the height of Project Fellowship. However, let me start by telling you of the grim situation I was in so you know how far north I went.

A Deep, Dark Depression

Back in 2004 when I was 35 years old I was suffering from severe depression and loneliness and had cloistered myself away for a year. A number of conspiring factors had caused this but in essence I had become weary of being overlooked friendship-wise and I deeply felt my friendship wasn’t valued.

In late 2005 I became inspired and that inspiration gave me a fierce courage. The world’s indifference, passiveness and apathy had beaten me down over a period of many years and I needed that courage to get up again.

The Heyday of Project Fellowship

During the height of Project Fellowship I had flocks of people coming to my different events. For my squash club I rented every court I could as I had no trouble getting friends to join. I hosted parties at my home with 15 – 20 people often coming to them. Beach barbecue and volleyball? No problem. More than enough players. People raved about my parties, new people asked me to let them know when the next one was and people complimented me on my events. So, what was I doing right?

1. Lots of Initiative & Sheer Enthusiasm

These two things can rock your world. When you see someone who appears popular and has so many friends it could be that he or she is just a great initiator who knows lots of people. I took a lot of initiative with friends and perhaps more importantly with an ever increasing number of them. I also was continually letting go of those who seemed disinterested. Inevitably, my circle of friends began to improve. Old feelings of not fitting in and not belonging disappeared.

High levels of initiative  can achieve wonders. Unfortunately, many people only have a scale of initiative that goes from 1-3. Alas, I dare say that a number of people are just not conducting their friendship endeavors on a scale that will achieve the results they desire . To make things worse when they become discouraged they often go back to 1 and just cruise despite the fact their friendship situation continually bothers them. I know what that’s like because I went back to 0.

When I began to take massive action to create the kind of friendship circle I wanted my initiative shot up to 10. There were so many benefits as a result one of which is I now have a visceral sense of initiative from 1 – 10. If I went to another city and started my circle from scratch I could easily scale my initiative up to 10 if I wanted.

My enthusiasm was also sky high and this made it easier to draw people into my circle. Enthusiasm is contagious and a likable quality.

I truly lack the X-factor that some people have that causes people to flock to them on their own volition. However, initiative, a strong interest in others and sheer enthusiasm enabled me to draw a large group of friends into my life.

2. Show People a Good Time

For my board game parties in particular people knew that if they came to my home they would have a good time. I went to a lot of effort to make sure they did. I bought a bunch of board games and my friends were always bringing new games to the parties as well. I had a nice big pot of beef and potato stew on the stove so friends could help themselves at any time. I’d often follow it up with apple crumble and ice cream. What’s not to like?

3. Social Confidence

Social confidence is yet another game changer. The more social experiences I had and the more people I encountered and befriended the more confident I became. This is one of many benefits that happen to people who socially persevere.

Extreme shyness, poor self-esteem or an inferiority complex need to be ditched. These things give off a wrong vibe, may cause us to behave strangely and worst of all hold us back from having the friends we desire.

4. I Chose to Host Events People Liked

I chose events that people liked. Barbecues, movie nights, board game parties, wine and cheese parties and so on. I think one of the reasons why the board game parties were such a success is that a number of my friends were hardcore gamers. Board gaming was a sweet spot in all our lives and the fact that we shared that strong interest made the experience of getting together all the sweeter.

5. I was a Good Host

I wasn’t the perfect host. Hosting back then was a distracting business for me and there were times I should have been better prepared. I knew, however, how to make people feel welcome and comfortable. Music played in the background and I had my place looking good. I offered them a drink when they arrived, made sure there were munchies and drinks as well as food like shrimp cocktails, creamy soups with garlic bread, fish n’ chips and so on. I’d introduce my guests to each other. Butter was taken out of the fridge 15 minutes before we needed it and paper towels were placed in the bathroom!

6. Presence & Conversation

I’m not sure what impact my presence or conversation had during those early days of Project Fellowship. I do know though that I was doing many things right.

I was a fervent kind of person exuding love, kindness, warmth and initiative to all. I know I must have had a decent amount of presence because my keen interest in others and my strong desire for friendships made sure that I gave people my undivided attention when we were conversing. Hosting many events would definitely have boosted my presence as well.

In conversations I listened intently, asked questions and made a mental note about the interests of others often writing them down in my treasure book later. I was meeting lots of new people and writing their interests down meant I could refresh my mind on the interests of my new friends. I might follow up on one of their interests in a conversation or arrange for us to go and do that activity together.

I’d sound people out for common ground and reveal certain things about myself in the hope of rapport. I was generous with friends and glad when I found a way to be of help.

The Z-Factor

Some of you may be wondering, “Andrew, these are the same kind of things people talk about in those videos on how to develop a magnetic personality. How can you say you don’t have a magnetic personality?” I consider a magnetic personality to be qualities you have that draw people to you effortlessly. I assume people like Brad Pit or Tom Cruise have these qualities. We’ve all met people with magnetic personalities. You find yourself naturally drawn to them and wanting to befriend them. That seldom happens to me. I consider myself to have social skills, not a magnetic personality.

I have long suspected that in my social DNA there is the Z-factor that puts people to sleep. zZZ LOL In truth I seem to be made of social cellophane. Those with the Z-factor will encounter a lot of indifference, passiveness and apathy towards there friendship. They will probably have to work harder at coming up with a good group of friends. Another telltale indicator that points to a “Z” in your social DNA is that when you stop hosting events or taking the lion’s share of the initiative with friends many of them will vanish from your circle never to be heard from again.  While it may sound like I’m being unfair to myself a lot of experiences point to this being the case. I am stating this to emphasize the fact you don’t need a magnetic personality to become socially successful.

So, if you are struggling friendship-wise take heart, have courage and draw into your life the kind of friends you desire. Become an initiator and exhibit enthusiasm. Show people a good time. Host events people like. Learn how to be a good host. Have presence and be a good conversationalist. These things in turn will increase your social confidence.

 
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