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How can science help you develop and maintain strong relationships? Eric Barker shares counterintuitive insights he’s gleaned from the research that can help you build better friendships and get closer to others.
Eric Barker joins us from Los Angeles.
Eric Barker is the creator of the blog Barking Up the Wrong Tree, which presents science-based answers and expert insight on how to be awesome at life. His work has been mentioned in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, TIME magazine, The Week, and Business Insider. He is a former Hollywood screenwriter, having worked on projects for Walt Disney Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, and Revolution Studios. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and holds an MBA from Boston College and a Master of Fine Arts from UCLA
For More on Eric Barker
Plays Well with Others: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Relationships Is (Mostly) Wrong
Newsletter (Insightful and practical research-based takeaways)
Website: Barking Up the Wrong Tree
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On Being Vulnerable
“The second one, which I’m also also trying, is being vulnerable and opening up. Because talking about your fears, your concerns, your weaknesses, this is something that you don’t do with people you don’t trust. You only do that with people you do trust. And to express your weaknesses, your concerns, your fears, that shows someone that you feel safe around them. That’s you trusting them with information potentially that could be used against you. And for you to do that, you’re telling them you feel safe with them. And usually, people are likely to reciprocate and they’ll open up. And that gives you a 3-D portrait of the other person that tells them you trust them. Not only that, but vulnerability is also correlated with health metrics. University of Pennsylvania research has shown not opening up, not making yourself vulnerable to people close to you, is correlated with prolonged illness. It’s correlated with a first heart attack and with not surviving that heart attack. So it’s really important. I’m spending more time with my friends and I’m making an effort to be more vulnerable because that’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned from the book.”
“The literature shows that most people have a number of super connectors in their life. And how you can find your super connectors, if you go through your contact list, you’re going to find that a disproportionate number of the people were introduced to you by a handful of people. There’s that super social person who introduced you to most of your friends or that person at work that knows everybody. There are these kind of hubs in the network. So a really good first step is to reconnect with people and just simply ask them: Hey, I’m trying to get to know more people in this arena, or maybe I moved, or I’m career shifting, who would you recommend I speak to? For a lot of people, this would be difficult. But for the super connectors, this is kind of what they do – either professionally or for fun. So, going through your contact list and finding your super connectors, and reaching out to them for assistance, is a fantastic way to network. And then once you get together with these people again, don’t think about contacts, think about making a friend.”
About Retirement Wisdom
Working with an experienced coach and a proven process can help you explore new options, test opportunities and create a portfolio of rewarding activities and interests.
Beware of quick fix solutions.
Schedule a call to find how how the Designing Your Life process (developed by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans at Stanford) can help you unlock a new direction. One and One and small group programs are available. Take the first step toward your new life today.
He’s the author of Win the Retirement Game: How to Outsmart the 9 Forces Trying to Steal Your Joy coming this summer.
Intro and Outro voiceovers by Ross Huguet.