Although social intelligence won’t necessarily keep you from becoming a target of bullying, it will most certainly lessen your chances of it.
Social intelligence always has and always will supersede book-smarts. It will get you much further than college degrees, awards, and credentials alone. It is the reason high school dropouts have become millionaires. It is also why many college graduates have ended up flipping burgers at McDonald’s.
Social intelligence is THE most important quality you can have. It’s the highest paid skill and most important asset in the entire universe.
For many years- even back during the eighties, when I was in school, people thought that it was the one skill that could never be taught. It was thought that you were either born with it, or you weren’t and if you weren’t, it was something that you had to accept and deal with. Thankfully, we now know differently.
Sadly, if you’re a target of bullying, the abuse you suffer can batter your self-esteem into oblivion and, as a result, you withdraw from the rest of the world. When you’ve been bullied for so long, you because deathly afraid of other people and come to believe that you’re inferior to everyone else- afraid to talk, afraid to mix and mingle, afraid of any social situations.
You retreat into yourself and live inside your own head. You create a fantasy world, where you feel safe, wanted, and loved- a world of imaginary people who accept you. As a result, you shut out the “real world” and live in this fantasy world- this safe haven you’ve created.
This is not good because, when this happens, you stop watching people and the world around you and you stop learning the social graces and nuances that you need to know in order to create a good life for yourself and nurture relationships. Before you know it, you become socially awkward- you become too quiet, shy, and reserved.
You look right through people instead of smiling and saying hello. You become sullen and spaced out instead of happy, upbeat, and engaging. You feel numb instead of the emotions you should feel at different times.
In short, it stunts your social development!
This is why it’s so important that you make a conscious effort to save your self-esteem. You do this by keeping your heart open, meeting new people and making friends- created positive interactions and experiences outside the bullying environment and away from your bullies (or anyone else who knows you from the toxic bullying environment. Do what you must do to keep your self-esteem intact and continue to grow your social intelligence.
Most of us can make friends and be influential. However, when bullies target us, it’s easy to lose our confidence and self-esteem, and, therefore, lose our ability to schmooze, and to exude that je ne sais quoi that naturally attracts people and draws them to us.
So, what is that je ne sais quoi that people covet so much? What is that something that some were born with, yet most can’t seem to put their finger on? What is that mysterious allure these people have that is so captivating that it makes others want to because friends and business partners with them?
Here’s your answer. That je ne sais quoi is called social intelligence. Some may call it charm or charisma. But whatever you call it, it’s something you need to overcome a bad reputation your bullies unjustly caused you to be labeled with.
Have you ever seen a girl or guy, who was, by society’s standards, “ugly as a dog,” yet they had a long line of suitors waiting anxiously to date them? Have you ever known a businessman, who was sneaky as a cat and slithery as a snake, yet could get all the customers and business associates? And did you ever look at these people with envy because you wanted to possess the magic that they did?
I can tell you that I did when I was young. But back then, when I asked my dad how I could go about getting some of that allure, he shot me off my saddle. I was about 14 at the time. This was before he stopped drinking and before we become close again and it seemed my innocent question was an affront to him.
He told me in a scolding tone, “Listen, darling girl, that stuff cannot be taught. It’s not something you can learn. You’ve either got it or you don’t. You’re either born with it, or you’re not. So, you need to accept it and make do with what little personality qualities God choose to bless you with. You’re going to have to cope with the fact that some things, you’re just stuck with.”
This broke my heart because I was already a target of bullying then and I was desperately searching for ways and habits I could form to make myself less a target. Even then, I knew that one had to have at least a degree of persuasive abilities to survive and get through this life. I also knew that bullying was something that held it’s targets back in so many ways.
I wasn’t only brokenhearted, I was crushed. So, I gave up on my quest for a long time and just resigned myself to the possibility that I would always be a target and began to feel hopeless.
Thank goodness that about four years later, I discovered that my dad was wrong and this je ne sais quoi I so strongly desired was, in fact, something people could learn and practice until it became like second nature. And so, I began a years-long quest of ordering and checking out books on irresistible charm and practicing what I learned. And it ended up paying huge dividends!
Before I give you the answers, I must note that, the tips I suggest will never work on your bullies or anyone else who knows you in the bullying environment. I say this because these people already have their minds made up about who you are. Their judgements of you only become iron clad and nothing will ever change their minds. But that’s okay, do you really want to change their minds. And, at this point, do you really care what they think?
Therefore, I’ve always suggested finding a way to leave the bullying environment and going somewhere where you can start fresh with a clean slate. And once you’re in a brand-new environment, you can then put what you’ve learned to good use.
So, what are ways a target of bullying can schmooze successfully and make friends, connections, and allies of the new people he/she meets? Look no further, because here they are:
1. Smile! And by smile, I mean do it authentically. A real, genuine smile is one complete with the crinkles around the outer corners of the eyes. If there are no crinkles around the eyes, the smile is fake.
2. When you’re talking to a person, say their name. According to Dale Carnegie’s book, entitled, “How to Make Friends and Influence People,” a person’s name is music to their ears. Saying their name when you speak to them just makes them feel that having a conversation with you is all the better.
3. Engage in small talk. Never talk about anything deep. Great small talk conversations discuss topics such as the weather, sports, movies, music, and current events (just don’t go to deep on the current events).
4. Become interested in other people and their lives. People always love someone who’s interested in them.
5. Make people feel good about themselves. If your next-door neighbor’s wife has a brand-new hairdo and you think it looks great, tell her that. If a couple in your church has just had a baby, congratulate them and compliment them on how adorable their baby is. Genuine, heart-felt compliments can make someone’s day. So, don’t be short on praises and compliments.
6. Say, “Thank you.” If your nephew mowed your lawn for you and your yard looks great, thank him for it and tell him what a great job he has done.
7. Ask questions (without being nosy, of course). Ask innocent questions. For example, if your business partner has a son who’s in his first year of college, ask, “How’s your son doing in school?” or “How does your son like college life so far?” Your business partner will appreciate that you thought to ask and he’ll like you more for it.
8. Be kind. In the increasingly cruel world we live in, a kind word goes a long way. Especially for people who are bullied and abused because they’re the ones who need kindness the most. If someone is having a difficult time, give them encouragement. Finding the voids that people have and filling it for them is the best way to make their day and they’ll appreciate you for it. Remember that kindness costs nothing. So, spread it around!
These are some of the best ways to schmooze and increase your charisma and likability. However, if you’re a target of bullying, you might be too afraid to do these things. But you must take the first step, and do it scared, but once you do and the more you do it, the easier it will come to you until it becomes like second nature.
With knowledge comes empowerment!
Notice: I will delve deeper in my upcoming eBook, “Schmooze It or Lose It: Ways to Increase Charisma and Live Down a Bad Reputation”