Monday, November 26, 2007

How to Test-Drive Friends and Irritate People (art of irritation.. or just finding humor in the every day)

Here are some tips given by Timothy Ferriss, author of New York Times Best Seller THE FOUR HOUR WORK WEEK, on the art of irritation
Sometimes you need to make friends and influence people (The Story of my LIFE).
Other times, you should just test drive them and push their buttons. The art of irritation can, in fact, be just as valuable as the art of persuasion. How so? Let’s start with the problem: people are good liars and actors… up to a point.What if it were possible to fast-forward relationships, whether with new friends, business partners, or romances? To get past the honeymoon facade of niceties and see their true tendencies underneath all it all?"

"Adversity doesn’t primarily build character—it reveals it…Therefore, by putting someone under pressure or in an adverse situation, you can pull back the covers and get a glimpse of what’s in store a few weeks or months down the line."
"Here are a few options for doing your own behavioral cross-referencing with a new potential friend, partner, or mate.
1. Meet them for dinner or lunch at an appointed time, and indicate upon their arrival that you made a mistake and set the reservation for 30 minutes prior. See how they respond to the change in plans. (Testing: how they contend with mistakes on your part)

2. Same as 1, but tell them that the reservation was accidentally made for 30 minutes after their arrival. Alternatively, travel with them and purposefully orchestrate things so that you miss a bus or train. Obviously, you then fix the problem and cover costs. (Testing: how they deal with waiting and unexpected changes in plans)
(Savage-girl's response)
This reminds me of when my friend Fabian came up from Portland to visit last month, while riding the train around downtown and tromping through markets and street shops the day was wearing on us and we couldn't find the Duct tape wallets!. Were we tired or stressed out from the long day? NOOOO In fact we were laughing the entire time... Especially when we happened upon this photo opp taken by Gesenia..... This is why we love MAX
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3. Take them to a restaurant with good food but bad service. (Testing: how diplomatically they contend with and resolve incompetence, which is the default mode of the universe)

4. Invite them to an event or function and then profusely apologize when you realize you’ve forgotten your wallet. Offer to repay them later or treat them the next time out. (Testing: how they relate to money issues. Wonderful people sometimes turn into irrational monsters as soon as even a few dollars are involved. It drives me crazy to keep a running ledger of who owes whom for a few dollars here and there, especially in social settings. Repaying the favor is mandatory, but dwelling on differences of pennies is tiring.)

5. Take them somewhere extremely crowded where they’ll be inadvertently bumped, preferably where they are exposed to people of different races and of lower socio-economic classes. Large outdoor markets are good, as are subways during rush hour. (Testing: biases against specific races and social classes, which are usually fast to emerge after there is any physical contact.)

6. Explore the most controversial topics until you find something the two of you disagree on. Ask them to explain why people have the opposing viewpoint. I use this mostly for potential romantic partners and potential travelmates. (Testing: how well they listen and both consider and summarize points-of-view or feelings opposite their own. I always look for both friends and girlfriends who fight well. Not in the physical sense, but in the intellectual and emotional sense. If I travel with one of my best friends for even a week straight, there will be times when we butt heads and fight. It’s inescapable. In those cases, are they civil and good at listening and finding compromises? Good at identifying common ground, picking their battles, and laughing off the unimportant? Or, do they lose control of their emotions and make hurtful personal attacks or generalizations? Do they use guilt or other negative emotions instead of taking time to discuss things logically? Hold grudges?)

"Needless to say, I’m not recommending you cram all of these into a single meeting (not unless you want a punch in the mouth), but the premise is simple: life is both too long and too short to suffer through toxic relationships. The sooner we have an accurate read on someone, the better.Rather than hoping for the best and getting trapped in relationships you are unwilling to end due to guilt and inertia, you can test drive using a few specific situations and get a taste of what’s in store. I realized how revealing the above scenarios were while traveling, as they came up organically with the inevitable mix-ups and occasional bouts of bad luck. The question then became: can you go about glimpsing someone’s true personality in a more reliable way? That said, there is no need to orchestrate bad service at a restaurant, for example, if you can achieve the same end doing something fun but uncontrolled. A good long weekend of getting lost with someone will reveal most of the character you need to see. Just ensure you expose them to adverse conditions or awkward situations"

"Most people spend more time planning their weekends than their relationships. Don’t make that mistake. You are the average of the 5 or so people you associate with most. Choose wisely."

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1 comment:

Marissa said...

People should read this.