How to Become Good With People: Part I (Use Your CliffsNotes)
Welcome to Part I of my “How to Get Good with People” series. This is my introductory article on the topic and it will cover my explanation on “using CliffNotes” when you are interacting with people, especially in the initial interaction.
I keep emphasizing that guys must learn how to become good with people. I first wrote about this in Part I of my Guide on Game. In fact, Law I specifically mentions, “Master people before you master women.” There’s a reason for this. It’s because it’s important.
Look I know a lot of you guys first start turning to sites like this because of your desire to date/bang hot chicks. I know this, which is why I’m doing my best to put out the most complete, fundamental information as I can. My site is and always will be about… DOING THINGS THE RIGHT WAY. That means make the foundation and understanding of the basics as solid as possible.
You wouldn’t start building your dream house by skimming on the foundation. So why would you start building YOUR IDEAL LIFESTYLE by skimming on this important foundation?
Make no mistake. With anything you want in this life…. The foundation is PEOPLE. Who you are and how you interact with others in your environment is EVERYTHING.
Knowing how to relate with others.
Knowing who you should/should not associate with.
Knowing how to dictate conversations.
Knowing how to make adjustments and conduct yourself.
Knowing how to judge a book by its cover.
These are all things every guy should have a basic understanding of. Why? Because no one is perfect. No one really goes through life always being in the perfect situation where everything is handed to them. In fact, there are many times in life when we are placed in less than ideal situations where success seems like a shot in the dark while failure seems inevitable.
More times than not, superior communications skills aka “being good with people” is the difference maker. Some might point to looks/size as my greatest strength. No. It’s people. My ability to relate with people is and always will be my greatest strength. Looks and size are simply crutches that have been boosting my confidence since 2006. I still loved life even before then, when I fit the bill as another “small Asian kid.” Being good with people is what enabled me to have a great social/dating life even when I was a small kid in middle school and my first two years of high school.
If you are reading this you have indeed come to the right place. Superior communication skills (in addition to strength) is the foundation of Strength By Sonny. It’s who I am. It’s how I live. It runs in my family…
How does a 5’4” Filipino man get a beautiful 5’9” Russian (and remain married to her to this day)?… A lot of factors came into play but the foundation was strong communication skills.
How does a Half-Filipino Half-Russian “guido douchebag” from NY come to a wealthy, Southern-private school and have an awesome overall college experience without ever really “fitting in”?… Again, a lot of factors came into play but you better believe people skills was at the forefront.
Bottom line, you need to absolutely work on you communication skills. Everyone does. Your efforts to get chicks are pretty much useless without the foundation of solid people skills. In fact, having that foundation of strong communication skills is what will enable you to have a shot at maximizing your dating life. More importantly, being able to communicate with others, no matter who those “others” might be, will make life more enjoyable and is what will ultimately help you get what you want. So…
3 Reasons to Emphasize People Skills
1. Get WHO you want in your life (friends, girls, other beneficial contacts).
2. Get WHAT you want in life (networking opens doors)
3. Possibly overcome obstacles that could prevent you from getting 1 or 2.
I can’t make it any simpler. This is important and you would really be shooting yourself in the foot if you are someone who lacks good people skills and does nothing to address it. Poor people skills are a problem. But it can be worked on and eventually solved…
Before I get into my detailed discussion on using CliffNotes, let’s talk about the character I used for my featured image. Do you know who it is? It’s Gene Hackman playing the character of Rankin Fitch in the movie Runaway Jury. I felt that Rankin Fitch was the most appropriate character to use as my model because out of any movie I have ever seen… that character sticks out to me the most as far as ability to look at a person and pretty much know who they were instantly. He could look at someone and immediately know what their deal was…
In the movie, Rankin Fitch (Gene Hackman) is a legendary “consultant” who is hired by the gun industry to use his superior people skills to select a jury that will yield a favorable verdict. He had a reputation for being unbeatable because of his ability to always pick a winning jury.
There are many scenes in the movie where you see his profiling skills at work… none of them come close to his opening scene with the cab driver. In the scene, the cab driver makes small talk by assuming that Rankin is from out of town. Rankin looks at the driver and looks to the front of the car. He’s sees a hospital bracelet and rosary beads hanging on the mirror. Rankin looks at these objects and somehow knows that the driver’s mother is sick and in the hospital. If that wasn’t enough, he takes it a step further by saying that he knows the driver’s wife is upset because he is contemplating having her move in versus putting her in a nursing home. Mr. Fitch leaves him with some parting advice: “Reconsider the nursing home… better an unforgiving mother than an unhappy wife.” He then exits the cab leaving the driver in absolute shock over how accurately he was profiled. That’s profiling at the highest level… almost supernatural.
But that’s pretty much where I’m coming from when I start to talk about getting good with people. You don’t necessarily need to strive to be another Rankin Fitch. But you should be striving toward the role of someone who has basic profiling abilities…
To be a “profiler” or to profile someone means that you rely upon your instinct and basic observational skills to get a feel for who someone is. In other words, you are always working towards answering the question… “What is this person’s deal?”
Now how exactly do you do that? Well, you do it by ignoring conventional advice. Conventional advice tells you to really take the time to get to know someone and it’s what’s on the inside that counts. I’m not a total asshole but I do take a more realistic approach. I use CliffsNotes.
Use CliffsNotes to Get Ahead
For those of you who don’t know what CliffsNotes are, they are a lifesaver. They save a lot of time and help you avoid having to read stuff you don’t have any interest in but need to have knowledge on.
CliffsNotes are basically student study guides that are primarily used by high school students in the United States. They cover a wide variety of topics but are mostly used for their extensive summaries on literature. Teachers don’t like them because they claim they let students bypass reading the assigned literature. The company claims to promote the reading of the original work, and does not view the study guides as a substitute for that reading. I absolutely used them as a substitute for reading the boring books that were assigned to me in high school and so did everyone else I knew.
*** I believe in reading and I absolutely read the books I found interesting/beneficial. But books like Wuthering Heights… I had no interest in. However, I knew I would be tested on the material. So I used CliffsNotes the night before.
The main point I want to make about CliffsNotes is that they help you cut through the filler and understand just the basics of what you need to know. You don’t need to know every single, meaningless detail. You don’t need to know the “whole story.”
That’s very similar to how the world operates when it comes to person-to-person interaction. When people interact with one another, especially for the first time, no one needs to know the whole story. In fact, no one really wants to anyway. No one really cares. There isn’t enough time to care. People just don’t have the time nowadays… So what am I really getting at?
Judge a Book by its Cover
That’s right. Judge a book by its cover. Use your common sense. If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and quacks like a duck… it’s probably a duck. That’s how the world operates. Everyone judges everyone. Sometimes this is a good thing. Sometimes this is a bad thing, especially when people are unfairly judged by their peers. The important thing to realize is that this is reality.
No one wants to take the time to learn everyone’s story down to the fine details. No one has the time and more importantly no one cares. People, especially those with good “people skills”, absolutely operate in CliffsNotes Mode. They can interact with a person, and based upon how they look/conduct themselves, have a general understanding of who that person is aka what their deal is. Based upon a few key details or characteristics that they observe, they can pretty much summarize who a person is… they know what their deal is.
A perfect example of this is women. Women are very skilled at operating in CliffsNotes Mode. They don’t have the patience to read the entire book, meaning they don’t want to take the time to figure out a dude’s entire story. Most of them are too ADD to do it anyway. Just the main points will do. Think of any hypothetical situation where a chick meets a dude out at the club and 30 minutes later she’s getting railed out by him back at his place (or in his car)… Does she really know his story? No. She’s knows the main points though aka THE CLIFFSNOTES. That’s all that matters.
Women can interact with a dude and know what’s good with him. They can tell (with great accuracy) what his deal is. They know if the guy has a lot of confidence. They know if the guy is a player. They know if the guy can easily make friends. They also can tell if the guy is a try hard. They can tell if he is “safe.” They can tell if he is desperate. Basically, women are amazing “screeners.” *** Way more to come on screening at a later time.
How YOU Can Start Using CliffsNotes
So how can you become good with people? It starts with you learning to just look for the CliffsNotes. In other words, when you come into contact and interact with someone for the first time, just look for the main points when assessing what their deal is. Judge a book by its cover and use your instinct. Don’t feel bad and think that you might be shallow. Everyone else is doing it. You might as well do it too. Most importantly, always be aware of these 3 QUESTIONS when you are interacting with someone for the first time:
1) How do they look?
2) How do they conduct themselves?
3) What’s their deal?
You should always be asking yourself that third question. What is their deal? The way you answer this is by really observing the other person and using your common sense. Now some people might be morally opposed to judging a book by its cover and say that it’s wrong. To them I would say that if we are honest with ourselves, it’s obvious that everyone does this. That’s just how the world works. Others might say that operating in CliffNotes mode is wrong because there are cases with some people where “there’s more than meets the eye.” To them I would say, that may be the case because sometimes there are “outliers.” However, just focusing on the main points and using CliffNotes is accurate enough. In other words, if you just focus on the main points when asking yourself those questions, it’s very rare that you’re going to be completely wrong about someone. Check out my video where I explain this:
Now let’s go through some examples starting with our friend Rankin Fitch:
1. How does he look?… Old. Wise. Focused. There’s a ton of experience behind those eyes.
2. How does he conduct himself?… He’s got a lot of confidence. He’s a natural leader of people. Because of his experience and track record he is intimidating and people respect him.
3. What’s his deal?… He’s an alpha dawg to the fullest extent. Even people who have no idea who he is know he is a powerful guy. However, he is a flawed character because after decades of perfection, he has grown arrogant (you’ll catch this in the movie). He’s thinks he’s invincible. The problem is that no man is…
Let’s go through a couple more examples. Then I’ll really hammer it home why judging a book by its cover aka USING CLIFFNOTES is so important particularly when it comes to conversations.
Example 1: Chief Keef (Rapper)
- How does he look?… He’s covered in tats and iced up. He looks like a thug. He looks like a dude that doesn’t follow the rules and just does what he wants. He looks like he does drugs too. He’s definitely a “risk taker”.
- How does he conduct himself?… He does whatever he wants and doesn’t follow the rules. He hangs out with dudes just like him. He always posts pictures of himself smoking weed on Instagram. He also gets arrested for stupidity and has spent time in jail.
- What’s his deal?… He’s a rapper and does all the normal stuff rappers do.
Example 2: Random Polo Guy
- How does he look?… Older good looking dude. Probably a professional of some sort. He probably stays in line with the rules of society and does what is expected of him.
- How does he conduct himself?… He probably wears polos and khakis as his casual wear. He conducts himself like a safe guy. Probably works hard during the week and golfs on the weekends. Once in a blue moon, he and his other friends like him might get permission from their wives to have a guys’ night out.
- What’s his deal?… He probably a guy who has followed the rules his entire life. Went to college. Got a job. Worked his way up the corporate ladder. Now he’s got a fancy title he can put on his Linkedin. He probably married his college sweetheart. He probably gets together with his old college buddies every now and then to talk about the good old days. He’s “stable” and “safe”.
Now I really don’t have anything in common with either one of these guys. But I could absolutely sit down with either one of these guys and have the conversation flow. It wouldn’t be awkward. That’s what I’m really talking about when I mention people skills… doing everything you can to avoid awkwardness in conversation (especially at the beginning). It’s about knowing who you are speaking with… judging a book by its cover and making mental CliffsNotes in your head so that you can accurately assess the person you are speaking with and adjust accordingly.
For instance, I wouldn’t bring up getting lifted (smoking weed) in a conversation with the random polo guy. Weed is an illegal drug. He might feel uncomfortable talking about that. However, I could certainly bring that up in conversation with Chief Keef.
Another example might be golf. I doubt Chief Keef golfs… at least not seriously. So I probably wouldn’t bring that up in a conversation with him. If I wanted Chief Keef to come hang out later in the week, I probably wouldn’t use golf as the activity to entice him. That probably would not be of interest of him. However, I bet if I asked the other guy, there’s a good chance he would be interested. That guy probably golfs every weekend. If I wanted Chief Keef to come hang out I’d probably invite him to come smoke some weed.
In general these would be the conversational topics I would bring up if I wanted to have a separate chill conversation with each guy…
Chief Keef: smoking weed, rap music, sports (football and basketball), partying
Polo Guy: investments, stock portfolio, college, some sports, current events
Basically, the point I’m trying to make here is that you gotta be aware of who you are speaking with and adjust accordingly. Really get a feel for who you are interacting with and pay attention to the main identifiable traits of that person. What sticks out? And always be searching for answers to that all important question… WHAT IS THEIR DEAL?
*** IMPORTANT NOTE: I WILL NOT mention judging a book by its cover, “USING CLIFFSNOTES”, for women because that is what’s called SCREENING. That will be my next series of articles following these ones on getting good with people.
Closing Thoughts on Using CliffsNotes
Judging a book by its cover and making mental notes on the basics of an individual is the foundation of good people skills. Whether we want to admit it or not, those who have excellent people skills are often very skilled at profiling people. In other words they can essentially look at a person, pick up on their basic traits/how they conduct themselves, and have a pretty solid understanding of who that person is. They can come up with an accurate answer to that all important question…
What is this person’s deal???
That’s what making and using your own CliffsNotes with people is all about. People don’t have the time to really get to know someone. And more importantly, they don’t care. Neither should you. Just use the CliffNotes version. Most of the time that will do just fine.
The major benefit of coming up with and using your own CliffsNotes is that it takes a lot of the guesswork out of your interactions. If someone looks and acts a certain way, you can probably interact with them in similar manner to others like them. You’re are getting to know the person before you even really interact with them on a personal level.
You can never really get too personal with someone in an initial interaction. But you can absolutely get a general idea of who they are… by judging a book by its cover and coming up with the CliffNotes version of that person.
This is very similar to taking a multiple-choice test in school. How do you give yourself the best chance of choosing the right answer? You do it by guessing what the answer may be before you look at the choices. If your initial guess happens to be one of the choices, then there’s a good chance that’s the correct answer.
That’s essentially what you are doing. You’re judging a book by its cover and then focusing on the main identifiable characteristics/traits. Remember if it looks like a duck, acts like a duck, and quacks like a duck… it’s probably a duck. In other words, if someone looks a certain way and acts/conducts themselves in a certain way too… you can probably say with confidence that you know what that person’s deal is.
Anyway, that’s all I gotta say for Part I. Be on the lookout for:
How to Become Good With People: Part II (Conversations and Situational Awareness)