In an age of two second attention spans and on demand entertainment, the pressure to be on and stand out is intense. Those that have the most outrageous personalities (the Honey Boo Boo's, the Amarosa's, the Kardashian's, etc.) and those who are the biggest train wrecks (again, pick your reality show) are showered with attention from fans and honored with million dollar endorsement deals from Fortune 500 companies. There is no real lure to being calm, conforming or uncomplicated. In fact when it comes to the media, the more of a nuisance you are, the greater the reward.
Exaggeration has taken on a whole new meaning. We are encouraged to behave like buffoons. We are coached and prodded to go big! It's no surprise we don't have the tools it takes to show restraint and simply assimilate, and this is having a negative effect in our daily interactions on both a professional and personal level. Just look at the recent hiccup with Southern belle, http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/21/showbiz/reese-witherspoon-arrested. Certainly not her finest performance when pulled over by the authorities in Atlanta with her agent husband, Jim Toth, she not only disobeyed the state trooper's orders, but attempted to persuade him with her Hollywood name further exacerbating an already tense situation. While she reacted in the heat of the moment and the actress expressed deep regret afterward, unfortunately the incident will live on forever by her fans and her family. If she had to do it all over again, I'm sure she would've preferred staying under the radar by minimizing her actions, avoiding the extra attention and abiding by the law.
While Miss Witherspoon's misstep is a rare celebrity example, a number of individuals experience difficulty discerning when to blend in for the benefit of themselves and everyone around them on a daily basis. We've witnessed it in the workplace where one wrong demonstration of bravado can ruin a career or one transgression against the group can ostracize you forever. And our social world is affected too. We pay a price for not noticing these subtleties that often prevent us from making friends, finding romantic partners, or garnering invitations. The next time an opportunity arises, test out a few of these etiquette tips to make like a smoothie and blend.
It has become increasingly difficult to discern when to blend in for the benefit of everyone. And this is even more crucial to observe in the workplace when competition is fierce trying to land a new client, or make a new deal, or score a new promotion. Our social world is affected to, and we pay a price for not noticing these subtleties that can often prevent us from making friends, connecting with a romantic partner or securing invitations. The next time an opportunity arises, test out a few of these etiquette tips for fitting in.
When in Rome. Do as the Romans do. This thoughtful reminder encourages us to be open-minded and flexible when we are confronted with an unfamiliar situation. Regardless if we have a full understanding at the time, it is always in our best interest to embrace the new rather than create an issue, complain or otherwise distinguish ourselves in a negative manner.
Be a Chameleon. A chameleon changes its colors to blend in and protect itself. It is to our advantage to assimilate and almost disappear into a situation. This doesn't imply we have to give up our control, our opinions or our position, it merely suggests we have the ability to change our mode to maintain the peace. It is not only a protective mechanism, but it also proves we are not rigid, but adaptable creatures.
Use Your Sense as well as Your Senses. Common sense dictates we should never be the most conspicuous person in the room. Anything that draws attention should be consciously withheld or carefully concealed until completely safe to divulge. Employ the senses, especially sight and hearing, to align with those around us and smoothly integrate into our surroundings.
Stop Talking Already. Listening is the Holy Grail. It is the key to connecting and forging bonds. It provides clues into the conversation and cues as to when it is the most appropriate time to speak. Exhibiting self-control and learning when to keep one's mouth shut is a gift, use it.
Tone Down the Volume. Piercing the environment with a loud, boisterous, glaring voice makes everyone uncomfortable. Create a filter to harmonize with the level and pitch of the conversation in the room. There are more inventive ways to be heard than foolishly thrashing about with unmeasured sounds and words.
Minimize Movement. Bouncing off the walls and other rambunctious behavior is not only a dangerous endeavor, it is sure to send everyone running for a quick exit. Minimal body movements and cautious arm gestures are the goal. Avoid standing stiff as a soldier. A relaxed and comfortable body position is the most constructive position for blending in with a group.