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I want you to look around the room for a minute and try to find the most
paranoid person here —

Gerry: Are we finished now? Can I come back?

If you want to make a great first impression — and why wouldn’t you? —
you know there are basic steps you can take: Smile, make eye contact,
listen more than you talk, ask questions about the other person. Anyone
can do those things.


Holly: I’m sorry. I’m sorry.


And then I want you to point at that person for me.

Gerry: I’m sorry, luv. Ahhh.

But what you might not know is that if you think other people are going
to like you, they usually will.


Holly: I’m sorry.


OK, don’t actually do it.

Gerry: I’m sorry I said the wrong thing to your mother.
God, I still get nervous around her.
I still think after nine years, she doesn’t like me.
I know I’m being stupid.

As research shows, interpersonal warmth explains the self-fulfilling
prophecy of anticipated acceptance; study participants who expected to
be accepted were perceived as more likable. (Or in non-researcher speak,
when you think other people will like you, you act more naturally and
come across as friendlier — which then makes people like you more since
we tend to like warm, friendly people.)


Holly: No, you’re not being stupid, baby.
She doesn’t like you.


But, as an organizational psychologist, I spend a lot of time in
workplaces, and I find paranoia everywhere. Paranoia is caused by people
that I call “takers.” Takers are self-serving in their interactions.
It’s all about what can you do for me. The opposite is a giver. It’s
somebody who approaches most interactions by asking, “What can I do for

Gerry: Really? And I thought deep down, she really loved me.

All of which sounds great, but the trick, when you’re shy or insecure,
is actually believing that other people will like you. When you’re in an
unfamiliar setting or an uncomfortable position, it’s a lot easier to
assume people won’t like you.

I wanted to give you a chance to think about your own style. We all have
moments of giving and taking. Your style is how you treat most of the
people most of the time, your default. I have a short test you can take
to figure out if you’re more of a giver or a taker, and you can take it
right now.

Holly: No, she doesn’t.
I was 19 when we got married.
And you corrupted me with sex and charm…and the longer it takes you to
make your fortune, the less sexy and charming you are.


[The Narcissist Test]

Gerry: Hmm.

So how can you convince yourself that people will like you? Positive
self-talk (“They’re going to love me!”) won’t cut it.

[Step 1: Take a moment to think about yourself.]

Holly: What? What are you looking for?



Gerry: My balls. They were hanging there a minute ago.

Instead, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and commit to taking a few
steps that ensure almost anyone will like you. (When results are
basically guaranteed, it’s easy to feel more confident and

[Step 2: If you made it to Step 2, you are not a narcissist.]

Holly: My mother said it was a mistake marrying you because I loved you
too much.
“It won’t last.”
I don’t wanna make any mistakes, Gerry.



Gerry: Well, you’re in the wrong species, luv. Be a duck. My baby.
We’re not a mistake just because we don’t have any money.
And we are gonna last.
You know how I know?
Because I still wake up every morning and the first thing I want to do
is see your face.

1. Give a genuine compliment.

This is the only thing I will say today that has no data behind it, but
I am convinced the longer it takes for you to laugh at this cartoon, the
more worried we should be that you’re a taker.

Holly: Oh, I’m sorry.
I see people buying bigger apartments and having babies.
I get so afraid sometimes our life’s never gonna start.



Gerry: No, baby.
We’re already in our life.
It’s already started. This is it.
You have to stop waiting, baby.
And Hol, you can’t keep eating me head off, telling me to leave.
I’m not going anywhere. I’m not your dad.

Everyone loves to be praised, especially since no one gets enough

Of course, not all takers are narcissists. Some are just givers who got
burned one too many times. Then there’s another kind of taker that we
won’t be addressing today, and that’s called a psychopath.

I still know you are around. You are still here, aren’t you?



We have absolutely no idea what we want.

Show interest by asking questions. But go past, “What do you do?” Ask
what it’s like to do what the person does. Ask what’s hard about it. Ask
what the person loves about it. You’ll soon find things to compliment.

I was curious, though, about how common these extremes are, and so I
surveyed over 30,000 people across industries around the world’s
cultures. And I found that most people are right in the middle between
giving and taking. They choose this third style called “matching.” If
you’re a matcher, you try to keep an even balance of give and take: quid
pro quo — I’ll do something for you if you do something for me. And
that seems like a safe way to live your life. But is it the most
effective and productive way to live your life? The answer to that
question is a very definitive … maybe.

We’re so arrogant, aren’t we?
We’re so afraid of age. we do everything we can to prevent it.
We don’t realize what a previlege it is to grow old with someone, some
one who doesn’t drive you to commit murder, or doesn’t humiliate you
beyond repair. Sweet.



I feel like I’m trying on a new pair of shoes I really wanna buy, but
they just don’t fit.

2. Focus on letting people talk about themselves.

I studied dozens of organizations, thousands of people. I had engineers
measuring their productivity.

Would you mind if we should walk together since we are going in the same
direction. I’ll stay on this side of the road. Don’t even have to talk.
Just quite nice, sometimes walking along with someone without talking
once you get your feet wet.



I could turn it on and off when I was younger and I had no principles.
When every girl that I was lucky enough to kiss was the end of life as I
knew it. Now I only send it out when I think she might be the one that
makes it true.

People love to talk about themselves. (And even if they didn’t, they
can’t help it.)

I looked at medical students’ grades — even salespeople’s revenue.

If I happen to walk into the right one in the right town then we’ll know
for sure, won’t we? And if I don’t then that’ll just be the most perfect
kiss ever created by two strangers and we’ll just keep it perfect for
the rest of our lives.



I like you, but I can’t be the invisible man. I’m tired of being the
shoulder. I wanna be another body part you need, you know? I wanna be
the bad guy. I wanna a woman to go crazy over me and then I wanna use
her up until she’s ruined for all other men. I’d like to be somebody’s

Research shows approximately 40 percent of everyday speech is spent
telling other people what we think or feel — basically, talking about
our subjective experiences.

And, unexpectedly, the worst performers in each of these jobs were the
givers. The engineers who got the least work done were the ones who did
more favors than they got back. They were so busy doing other people’s
jobs, they literally ran out of time and energy to get their own work
completed. In medical school, the lowest grades belong to the students
who agree most strongly with statements like, “I love helping others,”
which suggests the doctor you ought to trust is the one who came to med
school with no desire to help anybody.

God, that man could make me laugh.



so, all alone or not, you gonna walk ahead.

In fact, we almost can’t help sharing our thoughts and feelings:
Research also shows that talking about ourselves, whether in person or
on social media, triggers the same pleasure sensation in the brain as
does money or food.

And then in sales, too, the lowest revenue accrued in the most generous
salespeople. I actually reached out to one of those salespeople who had
a very high giver score. And I asked him, “Why do you suck at your job
–” I didn’t ask it that way, but —

Hey, baby. Surprise. I know this probably feels a little bit morbid, but
I just hate the idea that I’m not gonna be there to see you freak out
over turning 30. I mean, it kills me not to be there. Heh-heh. That’s
funny. Okay. No, it’s not. You’re gonna be so impressed. I have a plan,
baby. Can you believe it? I’ve written you letters. Letters that will be
coming to you all sorts of ways. I waited till your birthday. I figured
you weren’t stepping out of the house for a while. Letter number one
will be arriving tomorrow. Now, you must do what I say, okay? Okay?
Don’t try to figure out how the letters are coming. It’s too brilliant
and it’ll ruin my plan. Just go along with me on this. Because the thing
is, I just can’t say goodbye yet. So for starters I want you to get
dolled up, and just go out and celebrate tonight. Go out with your
girlies. I hereby free you from a party with your family, especially
your mom. Oh, man, your mom’s there, isn’t she? Mm. Shit. Sorry,
Patricia. It isn’t that I don’t love you, but she needs to get a little
crazy. So have a slice of the bloody cake, put on your dress and get out
of the apartment. Denise, make a plan. Just leave me with John, okay?
And know that wherever I am, I’m missing you.
Happy birthday.
I love you.