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Getting Along with People

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4. Be a Mirror

In nature, birds of a single species form flocks to reduce their individual risk of being attacked by a predator. Humans, too, employ this ‘safety in numbers’ tactic – when we first meet someone, we subconsciously assess whether or not they are like us and whether they are a potential threat. To get people on your side, you need to show that you are indeed similar to them. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to imitate them in as many ways as possible, subtly and in a non-verbal manner. This technique, known as ‘mirroring’, tells the other person that you are like them; it also evokes a sense of familiarity because if we are similar, and I consider myself to be a good person, then you must be a good person too.

When mirroring someone, it is important not to make it obvious otherwise the other party will think that you are mocking them and it could have the complete opposite desired effect. It's also vital to bear in mind that mirroring won’t have an instant effect and takes some time to master. Nevertheless, it can be a very powerful tool and is worth persevering with. Some people think that by mirroring someone, you are deceiving them into thinking that you are more similar than you really are, but in truth, when you mirror someone it really means that you find that person interesting and admire their qualities; that they are important to you and you are willing of accepting them.

Mirroring can include matching the other person’s mannerisms, tempo of speech or body language. For example, if they speak more slowly and loudly than you, adjust your speech to match their volume and the speed of the conversation. If they are sitting facing you with their right leg over their left, you should sit with your left leg over your right. Smile when they smile. Talk about shared interests and match the style of conversation to theirs. Just as "birds of a feather flock together", so too will people flock to you if they believe that you are similar to them.

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