Give Some to Get Some

Most days I have better conversations with my 8 year old nephew than I do with other adults. Kids are pretty easy, though. Give them a little attention and you’ve secured a captive audience. The same rules don’t always apply with adults.

Some people never give up chasing flashy things, and not being an expert in attention grabbing, I tend to end up too easily overlooked. But, if I take a stab at self promotion, I feel like an imposter.

How can you be memorable without being famous?

I had been pondering this dilemma when I ran into an old childhood friend. I had not seen much of him as an adult, but we stayed in touch on social media and began to communicate regularly over email. 

As one conversation led to the next, I teased him for being so chatty, but in truth, is he is friendly. With very little effort he demonstrated the secret for how to be memorable, in a not-at-all-flashy-or-self-promoting way. He acknowledges people rather than waiting for them to notice him.

He is simply interested, and that makes him interesting. 

Lesson learned. Just like with kids, when talking to adults, all you have to do is give some to get some.

Hollow Chocolate Bunnies

Have you ever had a conversation with a person who manages to turn every topic around to be about him/herself? No matter how skillfully you steer the conversation, this person continually reminds you that he/she is the center of the universe. I call this person, “The Hollow Chocolate Bunny” (HCB): a perfectly molded exterior with nothing inside.

HCB aren’t filled up by things like close friends, knowledge, adventures, life lessons, and the most important aspects of self: self sacrifice, selflessness, and self effacement.

HCBs are victims of excess. They may be excessively attractive or excessively wealthy. Perhaps they are only children excessively fawned over by their parents-whatever the trigger, HCBs are showered with so much praise and adoration that they eat, drink, and sleep their own awesomeness. They end up brainwashed into believing that everyone else on earth is meant to revolve around them.

HCBs are surrounded by the subservient (HCB wanna be’s) telling them what they want to hear, so they have no incentive or drive to discover how to earn love and attention which makes the gift of their “specialness” truly a curse. Because no one can be honest with them, they have no real friends. Because the only topic they understand is themselves, they have no real knowledge. Because they are nothing more than a hollow shell, the only thing they can truly feel is emptiness.

Bad skin, modest bank accounts, large noses, mediocre careers, crooked teeth, and lack of charm introduce average Americans to the struggle through awkwardness, insecurity, doubt, stress, and self loathing. Facing the low points, learning to handle them, and figuring out how to get noticed and earn love and respect are rights of passage. The culmination of good and bad experiences fills up the space inside and provides a healthy foundation allowing non-HCBs to care about more than their own DNA. Still, next to the obvious perfections of an HCB, anyone might initially feel lacking. HCBs can get a long way in the superficial circles of American society, but a side by side comparison with an HCB is like the ad comparing the ipad to a windows tablet. The windows tablet displays all its additional features, and the ipad asks, “Do you still think I’m pretty?”

So, the next time you are stuck talking to an HCB (and I know you’ll be thinking “OMG! Hollow Chocolate Bunny!!!”), remember to appreciate your unique filling and try steering them toward an HCB wanna be, or if that fails, a mirror.