I’m a big fan of subtly analyzing how people react to each other. I feel on field research every day when I’m outside of my home office, in either public transportation or on the streets. It’s fascinating how people have an impact on one another without many of them realizing it.
Your effect on somebody else next to you is a miracle. You didn’t even talk to that person but will contribute to how their day is going to be. That’s powerful.
Consider when you have eye contact with someone in your daily morning commute you’re saying something although you don’t say a word, your facial expression says it all. „You cannot not communicate“, as Paul Watzlawick defined in one of his five axioms on communication.
With your shoulder, you may push someone accidentally so he or she almost loses balance. Combined with a sudden stop of the metro train you’re in, the person you just pushed is now losing balance, bounces his head hard against grab handle, and you’ve just become the asshole of his day.
Even your aura, radiated and perceived energy harm and benefit the people you’re surrounded by. Think of the street musicians, homeless people, or a combination of both, who regularly enter the urban metro, say their announcement, beg for money or sell the magazine for homeless people for a few cents. In Berlin, I’ve now seen one particular one who enters the train and asks people to smile in order to have a better day. Although his intentions are not purely charitable because he obviously wants something in return, it’s still an ask too little done.
There are videos on the web showing how people waiting start laughing heavily because a casted actor initiated a laugh reaction. You don’t need to be an actor to have a positive effect on people’s morning. You can be gentle in your smile. People who look at you and look for the eye contact will appreciate it without saying a word.
People are weird with each other. You inherently like each other but circumstances make it sometimes hard to show your good side because what if the other person stays cool (frozen) and you look like the idiot having been nice. People are so easy to read. You appreciate when someone helps you although say „I’m ok, I can help myself.“ You play down the importance of receiving a birthday present (instead of plain bank notes) although your heart jumps for joy when the giver thought of you and chose the right thing.
Do one good thing today and don’t expect anything in return. Smile to a stranger, open a door, grab the coin your neighbor had dropped, invite a colleague to lunch as a surprise.
The takeaway from today: You don’t need to understand biochemistry, chemical reactions, enzymes and all the biology behind (however, here’s a video by the MIT on the fundamentals of Biology if you decide to understand). Keep in mind that you always communicate and interact — either passively, actively or even pro-actively. You don’t always need to be the initiator. At least, always be a good receiver.
Also published on Medium.