As I drove to work the other day, I noticed that the car driving alongside me had purple fuzzy dice hanging from the rear-view mirror. Now, that isn’t unheard of, but neither is it common. On my own dashboard, I have a plastic triceratops. Why? Because I like it. No other reason.
That got me thinking, if I got into someone’s car and they had a plastic dinosaur on their dash, I would find myself a little more drawn to them. I followed that thought with the question: What other things about a person would make me immediately more disposed toward them?
So I started a list.
- If they’ve read and enjoyed books by Terry Pratchett, Kurt Vonnegut, or Jasper Fforde.
- If they ask me some off-the-wall-but-not-too-personal question about myself.
- If they know obscure trivia.
- If they smile often (but not in a creepy way).
- If they say nice things about my loved ones.
- If they are polite, patient, and humble.
Around this point in my list, I realized something. I was basically describing the best version of myself, the person I aspire to be. How selfish is it that the person I would like best would be just like me, only better at the stuff in which I fail? Really, I just saying that I really like me.
I guess it is healthy to like yourself, but is that all this is?
I’m going to be hopeful and say that there is more to my list than pure selfishness. I think my list shows a desire for common ground. If I have something in common with someone, I have something to talk about while I develop an appreciation for the ways in which we differ.
After all, it may be the similarities that open the dialogue, but it is the differences that bring value to our discussion. If I always agreed with someone, we wouldn’t’ have to talk for long before we’d be bored with each other.
So if you are reading this and you want me to like you, here’s a tip. Like the things I like, but do so in a way that is uniquely different from how I like them. In return, I’ll ask about the things that you like, and maybe I’ll learn to like them too.