Some people are just so interested in getting to know you as a person. They are so invested in you that you sometimes start to question their intentions and pull yourself away from them thinking that the other person wants something from you. We get so caught up on figuring out how to protect ourselves from being leveraged. On the flip side, most people choose not to take interest in knowing somebody if they do not see how worthy the other person is knowing. A metric to gauge other's worth for most people is directly correlated to their own ability to judge how the other person could possibly help them out.
Both of these mindsets keep you from finding really inspirational friends, seasoned mentors and well-meaning critics.
When you meet someone who seems to be very curious about who are, where you come from and what you do, you have a choice to make.
You can either be Sherlock Homes trying to decipher the intent behind every single word spoken by that person or just be yourself, take a leap of faith and be a little vulnerable for potentially finding a friend, peer or a mentor.
I applied FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), which venture capitalists notoriously apply in the startup world, when one such person appeared in my life. Marisa Sergi, a beauty pageant winner, reached out to me on Facebook when I joined an online community. Her first message was something along the lines of "Hey Sar, welcome to the group. Tell me a little bit about yourself". Her reach-out reflected her warmth and authenticity. I chose to engage in a long conversation with her that evening.
From that day onwards, we have been talking on a fairly regular basis, discovering intimate experiences of each other's lives.
She runs a wine business and I have a design company. She lives in California and I live in Rochester. She is a graduate while I am still a sophomore. I could have chosen not to reveal too much about myself. Rather than walking away, I chose to take much interest in what she does and what makes her happy without thinking that there is no possible intersection in our lives where she could help me in anything I am pursuing.
She was genuinely interested about knowing more about my design company and its products. After I became a writer, she made it a point to support me and encourage me to do well in my new-founded writing career. I did not have to ask her for a thing. Later, she decided to introduce me to a potential client that could help me with grow my design business. She kept surprising me over and over again. I had the fear of missing out on a beautiful person who could potentially become a friend and an advisor when she first reached out to me. Marisa is a classic example of someone who truly understands the essence of having meaningful exchanges with everyone and anyone she can for building a support system that would never let her fail.
I am so honored to have her as a contributor to my upcoming book. She is an "expert networker". Not in the conventional sense, but in the sense of adding net value to others. And that is what I truly believe in. Marisa is now indeed a great friend and someone I turn to for bouncing off ideas regarding my book. She went out of her way to introduce me to two other potential contributors.
By making a difference in my life, she has surely made me more than willing to stick my neck out for her. I am very grateful to Marisa. I would gladly help her out in any way I can whenever I can.
A major takeaway is that you should try to build a connection founded on curiosity, appreciation and generosity. Marisa was extremely curious, highly appreciative and very generous.