Medical families move around a lot. Each time your family goes through the Match, you are required to “report” to the residency or fellowship program where your DrSpouse has to train for the next few years. Or whenever your DrSpouse gets a new job, you likely need to move.
And so you uproot everybody again, and again, and again.
One sweet doc wife moved her family over 40 times and told her story to me on this blog! (Note: They are a medical military family who moves every few weeks so it’s NOT the usual situation.)
Read her story: I Moved Over 40 Times For My Dr Spouse
For each move a family makes, you have to meet new people and go through the polite cadence of getting to know one another. And hopefully, just hopefully, you become friends 🤞🏻
It’s very scary, especially if you’re super shy like me.
We all know a magnetic person who attracts everybody. When they walk into the room, the crowd splits like the Red Sea, the spotlight is on them, and they make everybody feel like they’re the most special person in the room.
I always wanted to be that magnetic.
But I’m the weird person who says “bye” and I become so #awkward once I find out they’re exiting the same direction as me!
I wished I was a comedian, charismatic, witty and a phenomenal storyteller so I could attract more people — and be liked.
We all want to be liked.
But I’ve learned after having had to make many new friends over the years that being all of those things are NOT required to be magnetic. Here are some tips that will help you be magnetic, make good first impressions and develop friendships wherever you may live.
1. Make Other People Talk About Themselves
Dale Carnegie’s advice in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People was genius in 1936 when it was published, and is still genius now.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
People LOVE to be heard.
When was the last time you were curious about other people and asked five questions in a row?
2. Have Eye Contact
Eye contact is very powerful because it connects you to the other person on a conscious and subconscious level.
Studies show that when you look at another person when they’re listening, they feel more connected.
A good rule of thumb is to look at them about 50% of the time when you’re talking. Just don’t stare the WHOLE time like you’re a freak 😂 Too much is awkward.
3. Introduce Yourself Simply
You want your introduction to be so easy to remember that anyone will still remember you the next day.
If you introduce yourself like:
“My name is X, my husband is X. He’s doing residency at X. We moved to X for med school, then to X for residency, then took a break in between and stayed for a while before fellowship, then moved to X. I’m originally from X, though…”
…Girl, we lost you 😀
The funny thing is, people rather not connect with you than to feel embarrassed asking you to repeat yourself. (Their loss.)
Be simple, and be memorable.
4. Say Their Name
From babyhood, everybody has been ingrained to pay attention when their name is called.
See what happens when you say someone’s name:
“What part of town do you live in, SARAH?”
Does she perk up a little, even if you know it’s on the inside?
Don’t go on a conversation with without ever mentioning the other person’s name.
5. Always Say Good Things About People
There’s a well-known phenomenon in psychology called the reciprocity principle:
People like people who like them.
If you let somebody know you admire them, they feel validated, important and good about themselves, and likewise feel good about you, too.
Compliment people often. Do it even behind their back because it will get back to them somehow.
But here’s the kicker: always make your compliments real and specific. If it’s too often or shallow, they will wonder if you’re genuine or what your motive is.
For example, if you noticed they put a ton of effort in baking, a good way to compliment would be this:
“I’m really jealous of your cookies at the party [cited a specific example]. I am glad we’re friends because I hope I can learn more from you.”
6. Be Vulnerable And Admit To Having Made Mistakes Or Negative Feelings
Being able to connect depends on whether the other person feels like they can relate to you. If you feel genuine and human, people will put down their guard and feel closer to you.
This is also the reason why leaders who admit to mistakes or trip on themselves before giving a speech get a lot of approval ratings.
People LOVE people who aren’t perfect.
Consider basketball player LeBron who came out saying he struggles with depression. Of all people, you wouldn’t think a 6’7″ rockstar athlete (whose fingernails a stalker would collect) would have this issue, but he does — as do millions of others. Instead of that being a turnoff, he became even more popular.
Don’t confess your most heinous sin or lay out ALL your issues. But don’t try to appear flawless as if you’re always on the first date.
You can admit your real feelings such as:
“This move has been really rough on me….”
Chances are, we all have felt that way when we move. And it just gives you another way to connect with others.
7. Flat Out Say To the Other Person You Like Them
Remember I mentioned the reciprocity principle from Tip #5 earlier:
People like people who like them.
Well, in addition to complimenting, flat out say you like them. Try coming out and saying, “I like you” or “I really connect with you.”
“What if they don’t reciprocate the same feelings, Theresa?”
I doubt it!
But even IF they don’t (a big fat IF), their opinion of you can only get better, not worse. What’s there to lose?
8. Mention Any Similarities
We’re social creatures by evolution. If you pick up on any similarities, mention that.
It could be that:
- You have kids are similar age.
- You’re wearing the same shirt.
- You ordered the same drink.
- You watch the same shows.
- Your college roommate grew up in their hometown.
- You drive the same make of car.
The more you have in common, the more reasons you give to connect with the other person.
- Make other people talk about themselves.
- Have eye contact.
- Introduce yourself simply.
- Say their name.
- Always say good things about people.
- Be vulnerable and admit to having made mistakes or having negative feelings.
- Flat out say to the other person you like them.
- Mention any similarities.
Be real, be genuine, be you, be interested in others. And ask a lot of questions.
And you will be magnetic.
I’m hugging and supporting you, friend ❤️
To strong medical families,
How did you find your closest friends? Did you hit it off immediately? Is it hard for you to find friends?