Are You Approachable?

I went to a really cool lecture this week on mindfulness and meditation. The instructor spoke about seeing the goodness in yourself, which got me thinking…

When I was in my 20’s, I was what you might call “shy.” unfortunately the reality really was that I was  self-conscious and afraid (probably of getting hurt). So my way of being “shy” was to zoom through life focusing on work and friends, but keeping my head down, not making eye contact, basically hiding inside myself.  I didn’t really see the goodness in myself, what I had to offer and what the world could offer me back.   Sure, I was out and about in the world – very busy with business travel, making presentations, writing, spending time out with friends frequently. But I was completely unaware that I was transmitting out to everyone how I felt about myself and my fears. And, at the same time I kept wondering why I wasn’t meeting anyone.
Your nonverbal signals transmit a wealth of information about you and how you feel about yourself. The extent to which you actively participate in the world around you, how much you smile, or make eye contact when someone glances your way lets them know whether you may be interested. By the same token, if you follow every one of your statements with a nervous laugh, you glance away (or down) or start looking nervously around the room, you’re going to send the signal that you’re insecure or uncomfortable with yourself and certainly not interested in the other person.
Another interesting nuance to note is that people want to be with and be around happy people. I’m sure this isn’t a surprising revelation, but it is an important one.  You may think that the world can’t tell that you’re lonely, unhappy or afraid….but they can. So, you’re best bet is to start working on making yourself happy. What brings you joy? Make it a priority in your life! If you need to work out some issues from your past – take them on and make your life better. Make some changes to your world that will bring you the happiness you seek. Don’t wait for happiness to come to you – build it for yourself. Happy people attract new people into their lives quickly – everyone loves to be around joyful people.
The biggest fallacy is thinking that when you meet the right person, THEN you will be happy.  People come to you, are drawn to you, because of the happy, positive, energizing vibes you are putting out there. It’s VERY attractive. The only person who can bring you happiness is you…and once that happens, your world will turn positively on it’s head!
So, can you work on having a better, more open presence in the world? Can you start now to at least practice the following four things going forward:
  • Smile and make eye contact with people when you are out in the world – at people walking past you on the street, in the supermarket, etc.
  • When talking to new people – engage.  Ask good questions, listen well, be encouraging (no negative Nellies) and share openly and honestly.
  • Make a list of all the good things about you! What makes you interesting, special, smart, hilarious, cute, sexy, a great friend…you name it. The list is endless, I’m sure…but bring it to the forefront and start focusing on what makes you GREAT! (you are!)
  • Add one thing to your life or daily routine that brings you joy. Start building on this until you have the life you really want.

The more aware you can be of the signals you send out into the world,  the more you can control the way they affect your life and relationships. So pay attention to what signals you’re sending. Do your best to communicate exactly what you want to communicate so you can avoid having to deal with the unintended results of sending a message that might be keeping you single.

Let’s discuss…have you noticed any behaviors that might be holding you back from love? Do you shy away and keep your head down in life?

Photo credit: M1l4n’s Flickr photostream


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I'm a married publicist who holds a Master's degree in psychology, with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. I'd like to make the world a better relationship at a time.

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14 Comments on “Are You Approachable?”

  1. January 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    Great piece! Your message is resoundingly true. For me, I wonder when we lose that happiness that all children seemingly have? Thought-provoking piece. Thanks

    • January 30, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

      I think that childlike happiness wanes in adolescence. That seems to be when we start gaining insecurity, we try to assimilate with our friends and we question ourselves the most. Then we end up spending our early adulthood learning more about ourselves and building back up to trust ourself, what we’ve learned and recognize all that we have to offer.

  2. January 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    You wrote this post at the perfect time for me! I just recently realized how unapproachable I have been and I have been trying to perk up and be happier. It is definitely working so far… but after reading this it will help me out a lot with future encounters!


    • January 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

      I’m so glad! I can certainly empathize since I’ve been there too. I think that realizing it is a big deal….just that alone can make a big difference. Then you can get to the work of changing it.

  3. January 20, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    I love the message your sending with this post =] I’ve noticed exactly the same thing in my life! Hope you don’t mind if I share this with the community…

    • January 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

      I’d love you to share it, Anne-Sophie. Thanks so much! 🙂

  4. John Mack
    January 20, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    I’m always happy, energetic, cheerful and that puts most people off. I think I’m overbearing by many social standards. I do have a few friends. People seem to want to talk with me mainly to share their woes (I am a patient listener). I do love solitude. We can’t all be socially desirable., and for many of us that is not important.

    • January 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

      I think it’s all relative, John. What’s socially desirable for one person isn’t the same as for another. That’s why there are people for everyone. It all works out in the end. 🙂

  5. sqdrn06
    January 20, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    This is definitely something that I know I need to work on. While I am perfectly fine on my self confidence scale with my long term friends, I have a much harder time with people that I do not know well. I can definitely see how some people would think that I am a bit unapproachable and part that comes from the fact that it may take me several weeks to loosen up enough to feel comfortable around people. We all have to live with the first impression that we give and a lot of times, my first impression probably hurts me. I wear a lot of my insecurities on my sleeve and while it’s great that I know they are there…it’s not necessarily great for everyone else to know it as well.

    • January 30, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      I totally know what you mean. At one point, people would tell me that I was intimidating and it freaked me out! What did that mean, exactly? I didn’t think I was intimidating, my friends didn’t think so either. It really came down to me dropping my guard a little and letting people in.

      I totally understand, I had the same problem with first impressions so I had to work that much harder at being softer and more approachable…it’s not easy.

  6. Dave Randall
    January 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    HEY … You’re couple-tastic blog is fan-tastic

  7. January 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    It is so true that we get back the vibes we send out. I know when I am stressed or “in my head,” I find I don’t get approached at the gym, store, etc. When I am in a good place mentally; however, I find that people seem to want to interact. I have also found that each mindset is self-fulfilling. When I am unapproachable, the lack of interaction tends to feed my distracted or anxious mood. When I am approachable, the contact with others leads to an improved mood. Moral of the story – watch what you project because it also reflects!

    • January 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

      Great blog, stilllearning!

      Isn’t it so hard to be “in the moment”? It is for me. So often I’m thinking about something from the other day or a conversation I had earlier. You just don’t seem to be “present” and available to others when that happens. It is important to be mindful and check what you’re putting out there to others…

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