On human nature…

“You really don’t understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around, and why his parents will always wave back.”  (William Tammeus) as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Merry go roundI’m not sure that I do understand this saying or maybe human nature. I can remember back to the times when our children were young and took merry-go-round rides. It seemed to me that they did wave the first few times around and of course we waved back; however, after a few times around they appeared to want to look more blasé about the whole thing or perhaps they had wandered off in their minds to that pretend place where these were real horses and they were real cowboys and cowgirls.

It certainly is human nature to wan t to be seen and recognized and to wan the attention of those that you love and that you know love you, too.  Locally, Channel 4 sports caster, Bernie Smilovitz, does a shtick that he calls “Hey, Hey Look at Me. Over Here, Look at Me”, which features funny video clips about people calling attention to themselves.

Even those seemingly shy people who appear to want to be left alone in the corner really do appreciate someone taking the time to talk to them; they just don’t have the confidence to initiate the contact. It is human nature to desire interaction with others and that desire often goes unrequited in those who cannot summon up the courage to even say “Hi”, much less to initial a conversation. That’s too bad, because many of them have very interesting backgrounds and would be fascinating to talk to.

I am not by nature one of those outgoing people who seemingly engages everyone in a room in casual conversation. However, in my role as an Ambassador for the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce I go to a lot of Chamber functions, from coffee club meetings to mixers and one of my duties as an Ambassador is to help newcomers to the Chamber get introduced around and meet other Chamber members.

I recall how intimidating it can be to walk into a room full of people whom I don’t know who are seemingly engaged in conversations with people in the room who are their friends. You can get that deer-in-the- headlights thing going on and just shrink back into t a corner. My role as an introductionAmbassador is to make sure that this doesn’t happen to new members attending their first events. We introduce ourselves those people as soon as we spot them and take them around, introducing them to others in the room. It also forces me to do things that I might otherwise not do, so I get a benefit, too.

I’m not sure what the difference is between those people that we all see as outgoing and social and the rest of us who aren’t always at ease in social situation but I suspect it has mainly to do with self- confidence. Those outgoing people are happy and confident about whom they are some maybe to the point of seeming somewhat egotistical; while the rest of us are probably self-conscious about some flaw or shortcoming that we think we have. That’s human nature.

Most of the time there is not going to be an Ambassador in the crowds that you may encounter; so you’ll have to figure out how to introduce yourself. Start before you get there by thinking quickly about the situation that you are getting into and what might be an appropriate self-introduction. In some situations, introducing yourself as your child’s mother or father might work best, in others settings relating who you are to your job might get things started and in yet others just starting out by stating that you are new to the group will encourage people to stop and introduce themselves and maybe take time to explain the group.  The point is that you may have to initiate the conversation and if you do so in a manner that immediately gives the others in the groups a way to relate to you. You’ll be surprised how quickly they will engage you in the conversation. That’s human nature, too.

Life is a little like that merry-go-round. You have to wave at it as it goes by and it will wave back.

One Response to On human nature…

  1. slevin says:

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