Howdy Mates, man, I don't know if people ever tell you thank you, but I want to take the time to do that right now... thank you for bringing your awesomeness, your energy, your intelligence into my world. I love your questions! I'm simply in awe of your maturity and your humility to try to understand this life a little better, and how to experience more happiness, a little more success, and how to grow and take care of your relationships. I love your youth! Your idealism! Your hope and your natural urge to be loyal and helpful to the people around you. I love your ideas and philosophies, thank you for letting me be a small part of your life.
Your question this week is "How do I start and keep conversations going?" That question is money, and i'm thrilled to provide you with some ideas, and even two cool acronyms that can help you to remember this simple tool. But before I get to that, I just have to admire your willingness to be gutsy, to take risks, to initiate conversations, and to keep them going. Your desire to improve your social and relationship skills is, in my humble opinion, the single most important skill you will learn on this planet. So much of your joy and success is connected to this ability and skill. I know that relationships take courage and vulnerability. I know that we have to take chances. I know that we have to stare at ‘rejection' straight in its face, and move forward, knowing there is a risk, but at the same time, I want you to know that the benefits far outweigh the negatives. The reality is that you have to exit... we have to grow and migrate away from your comfort zones, and into your growth zonesI You have to do the things you think you cannot do. You have to stretch and push. This is the way! We cannot... we must not allow our fears and insecurities... we cannot allow our catastrophic scenarios and daydreams to drive our life. We have to take the drivers seat. You have to drive the car. You have to aim for your dreams and objectives. You have to intelligently find things that are worthwhile, and truly valuable, and you have to go, and with patience, guts, and a little perseverance, step into the unknown, and reap the rewards of your courage. I want you to know that you've got a fan in this life. I'm here cheering you on. Your scandalous and crazy behavior doesn't scare me. I see you and hear you, and I'm fully committed to help you to live an extraordinary and meaningful life, and these little bits of truth and tips, will help you to do exactly that... ok, Let me give you tips on how to Start and Keep Conversations Going.
The 2 acronyms that I want you to remember are, C.A.S.H. and S.W.I.F.T.
C.A.S.H. is your simple tool to help you to get things started, and S.W.I.F.T. will carry you through, and help you to keep things moving... you ready to jump in and commit these simple tools to your memory? Lets go!
Let's begin with C.A.S.H.:
C - Stands for Compliment. Complimenting people is a remarkable and incredible tool. I don't think we compliment each other enough, and my hope is that by the end of today, you'll make a courageous goal to compliment others more often. Let me give you some examples:
"I like what you did back there."
"I like those shoes, they're sweet!"
"I like your taste in music."
"Dude or dudette, you're smart... funny... cool... rad... chill... awesome... humble... so optimistic... positive... you get it, pick a characteristic, and match it to the people you are with.
"You're a great... football player, piano player, singer, runner, dancer, artist, pickle ball player, gamer... pick one that matches your friends and acquaintances, and for heaven's sake, say the words... quit telling yourself that it's awkward, it's weird, or that there's never a good time... enough with the excuses... just learn to do a good thing, and let the chips fall where they may.
I think you get the point. Practice some of the compliments, and literally become a positive spark in someone's day.
A - Stands for Ask Questions. I'll actually talk more about asking questions during our next acronym, but the main idea here, is that you can begin conversations by simply showing interest about the person you are with. By now you've realized that life isn't just about you... well I hope you've realized that... so get to know the person you're with by asking them questions about school, work, their interests, their friends, and their family. And of course, when they respond, listen to them, don't start scrolling through your insta! Look at them for heaven's sake, and give them a little respect.
S - Stands for Smile. You know what I'm talking about right? Smiling at people is all about letting them know that you're cool, friendly, and welcoming. You're simply relaying the message that you're a safe place, approachable, and ready to mingle! Hahaha, so be courageous and smile.
H - Stands for Help... or Offering to Help. This is a great way to get things started. If you see that that person needs a little help, jump in and help, instead of snubing them, and going about your day like nothing happened. Look, adolescence is a time of individuation. A time where you're trying to figure yourself out. Where you're growing in independence, but while you are doing this, don't forget other people. You are a social creature whose happiness and success are connected to the happiness and success of others. So if someone is struggling, if someone drops something, if someone needs a little help, don't turn a blind eye... instead step in, be a positive force, and while you're there CASH IT! Compliment, Ask Questions, Smile, and Help. Brilliant right?
Ok, now that you've got things going, how do we keep it going? Whether you're just getting to know someone at school, or work. Wether you're on a date, or slow dancing with someone. Or maybe you're beginning to text someone and it's kind of fun. Or maybe you're just looking for some friends, how do you keep conversations going? Well, the acronym S.W.I.F.T. has the answers for you... and by the way, this acronym isn't about Taylor Swift, even though you swifties might really like that, and I suppose if that helps you remember it, so be it, but if you for some reason hate Taylor Swift... well either way, that will also help you to remember... so I guess it's a win-win for you... yay!! But honestly, that gal is the Queen right now, and to be honest she's impressive, I don't think anyone can deny that that lady can work and create some pretty amazing work... anyways, i'm getting carried away, let's get to the acronym S.W.I.F.T:
S - Stands for School. This is easy, ask the person you're with about the school they go to, the classes they attend, if they're involved in activities, if they like their teachers, principal, or the people in general. Ask them about their favorite topics, if they're going to college... etc. This is something that you have in common, start there.
W - Stands for Work. Maybe the person you're meeting has a job, or works for their parents, or makes a little extra cash doing something. Ask them about it. Who do they work with? Do they like it? How long have they been there? What do they do? Do they want to stay there, or go somewhere else? Ask them about their boss and co-workers. You get the idea.
I - Stands for Interests. This is a great one. What are this person's interests? What do they do for fun? What kind of music do they like (I feel like teens love to talk about their music taste)? What shows do they watch and like? Movies? Do they participate in sports, clubs, groups, teams? What is their favorite food, candy?... what kinds of things do they do when they're bored? Do they play instruments, or anything artistic? Go to town on this one, and get to know someone.
F - Friends. Find out about this person's friends. Friends are incredibly important for teens, so take a moment to get to know their friends. Don't be all insecure here, learn about them, and be loyal to them. Don't make it about jealousy, or comparisons, ask them about how they met each other, what they do together, how long they've been friends, and what they like about them. Remember, be sensitive and positive when talking about people's friends. Friendships provide a critical value in people's lives, don't isolate people from their friends, and don't enter into competition with them. Encourage the people you care about to spend time with their friends, instead guilt tripping them everytime they spend time with someone else other than you.
T - Stands for Team or Tribe... Ok I admit, this one's a little bit of a stretch, but I had to do it, I couldn't find another word that started with T, that kind of matched Family, and you have to admit that S.W.I.F.T. is better than S.W.I.F.F. right? So your Team or Tribe is your family. Get to know that person's Tribe. Ask about their siblings and parents. What does their Mom or Dad do? Do they have siblings, and where do they fit in their family? What does their family like to do together? Do they like their siblings? What kinds of games or family traditions does this family have. One quick suggestion, even if your friend doesn't like their family, don't ever speak negatively of their family. You can be an awesome friend, and be supportive and encouraging, but don't ever speak badly about someone's family. Ok, there you go.
If you want to get things started with someone throughout your school year and life, remember to C.A.S.H. it! And if you want things to keep going, and to go a little deeper, be S.W.I.F.T.! SWIFT CASH... yeah baby! I think that's pretty cool.
You might have to listen to this podcast, or read the article, or rewatch the video to remember these... so do it! I promise you it will help. Your brain just needs a little help, a little structure, and a little direction sometimes, and this will actually help you to approach these situations with a little more confidence and with a clearer objective.
So remember to:
Ask Them Questions
When you're ready to get to know someone a little more, remember to ask questions about:
And their Tribe
Thanks again for pushing me, and for asking these awesome questions that motivate me to grow and to think outside the box.
So all of you Swifties and non Swifties, I hope you all have an awesome day, and remember to be a positive spark for others around you.