My life-long passion for travel and exploring the world began at 11, when I went from South Africa to see my grandmother in London. That excitement I felt-still pervades my every fibre as I’m on the runway waiting for that last flight check before we take off.
One of the most pleasant aspects of travelling alone, are those encounters we have where there is a meeting of the minds. Last week, I was in London for the London Book Fair and International Food Exhibition. It was at the latter, where I met someone with whom I instantly ‘clicked.’ The conversation just flowed, there were no awkward moments, and we covered so many topics where we found similar patterns of thought.
After three days, there was the inevitable farewell as we both returned to our respective countries. But, with all the conversations still in my mind, I wonder what is that X factor which leads us to foster instant connections with some people.
The first factor is similarity. Feeling understood is essential to forming bonds. So, if when you first meet someone, you perceive similarity, you feel more at ease about disclosing information about yourself as you believe the other person will understand you.
Another issue is the wide array of subjects covered. The theory of social penetration shows that if initial discussions are rewarding, more personal information is usually disclosed. However, psychologists state that revealing too much too soon is not the best strategy. It’s all a matter of balance – and it’s this certain element of mystery which maintains the excitement within friendships.
There are definitely other factors too which make someone likeable. Confidence, body language and a smiling face sends a lot of positivity. Good conversation skills touched with wit, humour and sincerity go a long way, as well as the ability to listen – truly listen to the other person. One of the clinching factors for me personally is knowledge and experience – and with confidence I can say that for me, “Intelligence is very sexy.”