We’ve all had the experience of being around someone who seems to make every interaction a difficult and uncomfortable one. Many times it’s due to their inability to express what they need, and as a result have unmet expectations, or they’re simply too demanding and/or negative and ultimately draining to be around. As a result, most of us try to steer clear of such people or at the very least keep our interactions with them to a minimum.
Conversely, there are those who are easy to be around-flexible with their plans and methods, relaxed, understanding, and are not easily upset. It’s these type of people whom I most enjoy building relationships with and being in the company of, and it’s also the very attitude and presence I strive to bring with me into my own interactions with others.
A classy woman is easy to be around. She brings value to her interactions with others, making time spent more enjoyable and memorable for everyone, which is why she often finds herself on the invite list for various events. It’s just one of the many reasons why others feel at ease in her presence.
1. Stay Positive- One of the hallmarks of being easy to be around is to remain positive, even when others are not. This is critical in a working environment as it’s easy to go down a rabbit hole with everyone around you stating their complaints and challenges. Be the person who offers a smile, a solution and identifies what can be gained/learned in a challenging situation instead of focusing on a problem or whose fault it is. This attitude is equally as important within our personal relationships as we are all responsible for the energy that we bring to any space.
2. Be Flexible- If you had your heart set on Mexican food and now find yourself dining out at a Thai Restaurant because that was the general consensus of the group, go with the flow and don’t complain! Instead, choose to be agreeable vs. difficult because at the end of the day these small details don’t matter. It’s the company we’re with and not the cuisine that is most important. There will be plenty of times in the future to munch on tacos and enjoy guac + chips. When a person digs their heels in (even just silently which is observed through their body language) it becomes obvious to the group and makes for an uncomfortable time. This is intimately tied to the next point which is not creating expectations in our mind in the first place.
3. Avoid Creating Expectations- My dad has a saying “If you don’t create expectations, you can’t be disappointed.” When we choose not to create expectations in our mind of how an event or experience should/could be, we won’t feel let down if it doesn’t go precisely as planned out in our mind. When we experience something as it comes, we can truly enjoy the moment and be present vs. wishing it were different than it is. Let’s be honest, sometimes when things don’t go according to plan they turn out far better than what we had planned on. The key is to let go of the need to be in control and just enjoy how things unfold whether we’re on a date with a special someone, away on a girls-only trip or working with colleagues to set up a company event. It’s good to have a plan but even the best laid plans can change at a moment’s notice.
4. Be Gracious- Whether someone cancels plans with you last minute due to an emergency or a guest at your dinner party accidentally breaks your favorite vase, give them grace as we will all need it from time to time. I remember a few months back while sitting on my boyfriend’s cream-colored twill sofa where we were watching a late movie. I was quite tired and started to nod off with a half glass of red wine in hand. I think you can see where this is going… my arm relaxed and I ended up spilling red wine all over the sofa including our shirts! I was mortified and he softly said “It’s okay sweetie, it’s only a couch.” I felt relieved by his reaction as we both got up to clean it. It’s this gentleness that has always made me feel valued and loved by him because I know that he understands what truly matters. I think Maya Angelou’s quote sums this up well: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
5. Practice Active Listening- We all want to feel heard, seen and as though we matter. Be present in the moment and make eye contact with others. When someone is sharing a story or revealing the difficulties they’re currently facing, it’s important to remain quiet so they feel listened to and refrain from interrupting. Pay attention to their body language as well. Paraphrasing, summarizing and asking questions are great ways to show the person/people in your presence that you’ve heard them and are in fact interested in what they have to say. So often now I find people are glued to their phones, checking text messages or social media, active listening and being present in the moment seems to have become somewhat of a lost art. Being in the company of someone who truly listens is so rare, it’s also quite refreshing when we encounter it.
6. Be Fun to Be Around- Being laid back in nature and open to the excitement and surprises of life is one of the sure-fire ways to be easy to be around. One way to do this is to be open to possibilities, activities, especially things that take you outside of your comfort zone. Sharing experiences with others is what allows us to connect, it also creates wonderful memories to look back upon as we build relationships with others. I find this particularly true in romantic relationships. Last year we went skydiving together in Costa Rica and it’s an experience we’ll never forget. A sense of humor is a must and sometimes that means laughing at yourself. Be willing to look silly and share stories that lighten the mood. Be on the lookout for ideas, places and activities that you haven’t experienced before, life is too short to stay inside our comfort zone, the fun comes from stepping outside that box.
7. Be Reliable- When building relationships in business or within our personal life, it is imperative that others can count on us, trust us and that we show ourselves to be reliable. I once had a friend who would cancel last minute on myself as well as several of our other friends. We all almost came to expect her “sorry” phone call as a small group of us met at a cafe for lunch or a fun outing, even when she herself was the one who initiated the idea! Life’s not perfect of course, we all have things that come up last minute here and there, however it’s important to be mindful of others by keeping set plans and showing up on time.
8. Look for Ways to Be Helpful- Most of us know that when we’ve been invited to another person’s home for a dinner party or event, it’s only polite to ask the host if they need any assistance. Their responsibilities are many and it just feels good to contribute in some small way. This is the attitude we should lead with at all times. If we see a single mama friend struggling with her children and seems burned out, offering to babysit one evening so she has a few hours to herself child-free to regroup is a priceless gesture. If your man has been working extended hours in the office or on a particular project, step out of your feminine energy momentarily and become the ‘planner’ who makes a dinner reservation or organizes a fun evening once he’s free again (without needing to ask for his input, because the last thing he needs at a busy and stressful time is another task!), this way he can unwind and feel comfortable in your presence. Essentially, view someone else’s struggles, challenges and limitations as an opportunity to lighten their burden and step in when you can.
I’d love to hear from you! What ways do you make an effort to be easy to be around?