You’re a Debbie Downer
Pessimism is a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you expect to be disliked when meeting people, research shows you will probably project cold negativity and prove yourself right. Social optimism, on the other hand, works the same way: people who expect other people to like them will enter into conversation more positively and, often, leave the other person feeling the same way. This doesn’t mean you need to suppress your emotions all day, but consider that happiness and sadness are as contagious as a virus; if you wouldn’t greet a friend by sneezing in her face, don’t greet her with a sour mentality either.
You dominate the conversation
You don’t need Harvard neuroscientists to explain that getting a few things off your chest feels good – but you’d be surprised to hear how good. “Talking about ourselves – whether in a personal conversation or through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter – triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food or money,” the Wall Street Journal wrote of Harvard’s 2012 study. If you are depriving your friend of the joys of self-disclosure, you may as well be depriving them of a juicy hamburger. Don’t be a conversational narcissist; suspend your ego and give your friend a taste of that sweet, invisible burger.
You correct people too often
According to FBI negotiators, a key tool in establishing rapport with someone is suspending your ego, or simply putting the other person’s desire to speak and be heard above your own. This can be as easy as not interrupting someone, not correcting her facts or grammar, and letting her know you’re listening, not judging. “Individuals who allow others to continue talking without taking their own turn are generally regarded as the best conversationalists,” says FBI Behavioural Analyst Robin Dreeke. “These individuals are also sought after when friends or family need someone to listen without judgment. They are the best at building quick and lasting rapport.”