DID YOU KNOW . . .

We write contemporary fiction. Contemporary meaning belonging to or occurring in the present. But the present isn’t what it used to be. In the time it takes to conceive, plot, write and publish a book, one of 8,000 published every day on the planet, the present has changed and the view about tomorrow is very different.

So we’re abandoning the quotes from the past and delving into the future which means understanding the present and a more about tomorrow. We write time travel stories to the past [See next week’s book #5 in the TIME SHIFTERS Series, NOT MY LIFE] but these posts were inspired by observations and facts right in front of us.

What sparked this idea? REALITY. We married following our on line meeting and in person greet in 1993. On line relationships were rare back in the day, a term that used to mean decades, then years by the way.

 

 

Today, did you know * * * * *

– 1 out of every 6 people married in the last year met on line and

– 1 out of every 5 divorces are blamed on Facebook

So we’ll be providing you with facts and forecasts that will shape your life and if you’re like us you’ll wonder what in the world are we doing today to succeed and stay fulfilled tomorrow given the REALITY of the world now.

We’re starting in no particular order or starting point but this caught our eyes.

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Are you keeping up?

 

Check out our website at http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com  and look to see our newest release next Tuesday, NOT MY LIFE  http://lrd.to/not-my-life

 

 

 

 

CORNER OF THE SKY

Today is a celebration of woman bravery, patriotism and determination.  Based on a great and amazing true story that Hollywood has failed to tell.

A Hollywood Producer hired us to write a screenplay about Jackie Cochran. Back when women were real heroes Jackie became the first woman to break the sound barrier 57 years ago today. In an F-86 Sabre plane, borrowed from the Royal Canadian Air Force, Cochran surpassed Mach 1; over the course of her flight, she averaged speeds of 652.337 miles per hour. But this was last major milestone of her career.

Our screenplay, yet to be produced but having varied and long term interest in Hollywood, deals with her early career, a period when her life and the lives of other women were in grave danger. During World War II women weren’t allowed to enlist in the military, but they were allowed to fly American built aircraft from the factories to the front lines. This is the story of a first brave women who risked their lives to do what they loved…to fly. Fictionalized story based on the real life of Jackie Cochran and her creation of a pre-WASP group of female volunteers who went where no woman had before…into the war zone. Before the United States joined World War II, Jackie Cochran was part of “Wings for Britain”, an organization that ferried American built aircraft to Britain, becoming the first woman to fly a bomber, (a Lockheed Hudson) across the Atlantic.

In Britain, she volunteered her services to the Royal Air Force. She won five Harman Trophy as the outstanding woman pilot in the world. Sometimes called the “Speed Queen,” at the time of her death, no pilot, man or woman, held more speed, distance or altitude records in aviation history, than Jackie Cochran. In September 1940, with the war raging throughout Europe, Jackie Cochran wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt to introduce the proposal of starting a women’s flying division in the Army Air Forces. She felt that qualified women pilots could do all of the domestic, noncombat aviation jobs necessary in order to release more male pilots for combat.

This is the story of the women she recruited for this dangerous mission and how they managed, against all odds, to succeed.

Visit our website at http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com and check out the “My Hollywood Years” pages for Jackie’s story and other original screenplays in addition to my over 40 award winning and best selling novels that have sold over 3.25 million copies world wide.

Here’s Jackie with Chuck Yeager, the first male pilot who a mere six years earlier also broke the sound barrier.

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And here she is when she led the Wings For Britain force in WWII.

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SPOOF!

SPOOF!

By Kathy Clark

 

It used to be people would say “it is what it is.”   But that may no longer be true.  Actually, it is getting less true every day.

REALITY ROMANCE novels are stories about real people engaged in normal activities whose lives are interrupted by the unexpected.

But what is reality in the early part of the Twenty-first Century?

In current films, for example, it is increasingly difficult to identify the parts of the movie that are real and those that are CGI (computer graphic imaging).

Today, most people glance at their phone screens and check the caller ID before answering their phone.  But few people realize that with little or no technical expertise, it’s easy to make any name and number appear as the caller ID on your phone.  Every day people get called by the police or the IRS with warnings about arrests or worse because money is owed for unpaid tickets or taxes.  But don’t send them that check.  It’s probably scammers who have misidentified themselves as authorities that you trust.  SPOOF!

Maybe you’ve received an email from someone and in fact the sender never sent the email.  SPOOF!

A newer, more complex trick is to cause someone’s geographical location as shown on their cell phone or vehicle GPS device to be somewhere it isn’t.   SPOOF!

REALITY ROMANCE is contemporary life.  In the third book of our SCANDALS series, WORST DATE EVER, an on-line dating service is hit by a spoofer.  As the incidences escalate from identity theft to murder, Tulsa and a millionaire fireman must work together to stop the hacker.  Of course, romance and mayhem follows.

Go to this link to find the best priced copy of WORST DATE EVER, book #3 from our SCANDALS Series-  www.lrd.to/worst-date-ever

Here are the first three books in the SCANDALS Series…

 

And our website has all of our books – http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com

 

There are many types of spoofing but here are a few of our favorites as they frequently show up in our Twenty-first Century news, TV shows, films, and books:

CALLER ID SPOOFING

  • Public telephone networks often provide Caller IDinformation, which includes the caller’s name and number, with each call. However, some technologies (especially in Voice over IP (VoIP) networks) allow callers to forge Caller ID information and present false names and numbers. Gateways between networks that allow such spoofing and other public networks then forward that false information.  Since spoofed calls can originate from other countries, the laws in the receiver’s country may not apply to the caller. This limits laws’ effectiveness against the use of spoofed Caller ID information to further a scam.  So next time a police officer or an IRS agent calls, don’t panic.  Unless you’re expecting the call, it’s probably not really an official.

 

eMAIL SPOOFING

  • The sender information shown in e-mails(the “From” field) can be easily spoofed. This technique is commonly used by spammers to hide the origin of their e-mails and leads to problems such as misdirected bounces (i.e. e-mail spambackscatter). E-mail address spoofing is done in a similar manner as writing a forged return address using snail mail. As long as the letter fits the protocol, (i.e. stamp, postal code) the SMTP protocol will send the message. It can be done using a mail server with telnet.

 

GPS SPOOFING

  • GPSspoofing attack attempts to deceive a GPS receiver by broadcasting counterfeit GPS signals, structured to resemble a set of normal GPS signals, or by rebroadcasting genuine signals captured elsewhere or at a different time.  A “proof-of-concept” attack was successfully performed in June, 2013, when the luxury yacht “White Rose” was misdirected with spoofed GPS signals from Monaco to the island of Rhodes by a group of aerospace engineering students from the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas in Austin. The students were aboard the yacht, allowing their spoofing equipment to gradually overpower the signal strengths of the actual GPS constellation satellites, altering the course of the yacht.

 

All of these fascinating new technologies can create great conflicts and plotlines in current literature and other forms of entertainment.  It changes every day, so if you’re a writer, be sure and do your homework.  If you’re a consumer…BEWARE.

Bottom line?  What it is isn’t what it is.

 

You Are What You Were When

You Are What You Were When

By Kathy Clark

 

Great characters…that’s what several of our REALITY ROMANCE Blogs have been about.  What makes characters memorable and what makes people love or hate them?  They have to be real.  They have to be people you want to know or who are similar to people you already know.  Nothing kills a book faster than a character you don’t care about.  Love them or hate them, they have to make an impact.

The lead characters of most romance novels are in their early twenties to late thirties range.  But the supporting characters can be all ages, shapes, colors, and personalities.  If there wasn’t a variety, the story would be pretty one-dimensional.  You’ll see authors add babies, teenagers, parents, grand-parents, and even animals.  They all make interesting additions as long as you, the writer, makes sure that they’re consistent, real, and important to the plot.

When we were creating our Austin Heroes series, we knew the three books were to each feature one of the Archer brothers.  How do you balance a cocky DEA agent, a golden-boy Texas Ranger, and a prodigal son Homeland Security officer?  One of our favorite TV shows is Blue Bloods that each week ends with a big family dinner.  Well, we decided to adapt that meal idea to a family of alpha men who are supposed to leave their guns at the door, but almost never stop talking shop.  Who could be strong enough to counteract these powerful personalities?

Their feisty grandmother, of course.  Grammy grew up in the Sixties as a young musician turned hippie, immersed in the culture of Haight Asbury.  She still enjoys smoking pot on the porch and living on the edge of society.  What better conflict for three grandsons who have sworn to uphold the law?  One even has a drug dog who definitely has a conflict of interest every time they come for dinner at Grammy’s.

The fun part about writing Grammy was that we could make her bigger than life.  The challenging part was that we had to keep her in character and have her appropriately represent her generation.  There are plenty of Baby Boomers out there who would spot anything disingenuous or incorrect.

Equally important was when we were writing Another Chance, the third book in the series.  The premise is that Luke (the Homeland Security officer) returns home to Austin on an assignment and bumps into his high school sweetheart, Bella.  So, while not actually having two sets of characters, we had to deal with Luke and Bella as emotional teenagers and as cynical adults.  That involved going back to the Eighties and staying true to that era, as well.  Do you remember that there were no cell phones, DVDs, CDs, or internet back then?

Working with all those characters at various stages of their lives was a lot of fun.  Their lives, loves, emotions, heartbreaks, and ambitions were all woven into the plot, making a complex, but realistic view of a family.

My husband heard a wonderful speech by a man named Morris Massey, a marketing professor and sociologist.  His decades-long work is focused on values, generations, and what he calls Significant Emotional Events, or SEE’s.  Some of his most noteworthy, useful and entertaining topics include:

  • The Original Massey Tapes – 1: What You Are Is Where You Were When
  • The Original Massey Tapes – 3: What You Are Is
  • The Original Massey Tapes – 4: What You Are Is Where You See
  • What You Are Is What You Choose…So Don’t Screw It Up
  • Dancing With The Bogeyman

They tell how to make characters that are true to their backgrounds and beliefs.

Authors tell you character background by several means:

  • What their pop culture is about [music, words, films, books, art etc.]
  • Reference points [age of family members, what grade they are in school, if they are on social security or in the military are the obvious examples]
  • And the obvious clue, the author just tells you

Dr. Massey’s findings will help you create wonderful characters that are consistent with their age and upbringing.  When a senior citizen acts like a teenager or a college student dresses like a grade school kid, the reader is thrown out of the book.  These incongruities, unless there are “payoffs” later in the book, just show you didn’t do your homework and you didn’t really know your own characters.

Following are some quotes from Another Chance that illustrate our point.

“Grammy took us everywhere in that bus.  When the engine burned up for the third time just two years ago, she had it towed back to this field, then held a wake for it.  Hundreds of people came out.  It was the event of the year.”  Nick shook his head and smiled as the memory of that crazy party flashed through his mind.

“She has lots of friends?”

“Everyone from the 60s who was involved in music…that is, anyone still alive…showed up.  It was…colorful.”  Nick glanced over at Jamie.  “I have to warn you…Grammy is not a typical grandmother.”

“And this must be Harley.”  She looked down at the dog that was sitting at attention next to her, his gaze focused on her with burning intensity.  She wore a long prairie skirt and tie-dyed T-shirt with her curly steel-gray hair pulled back into a ponytail.

“Grammy, you’re killing me,” Nick said.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You’ve got a joint in your pocket, don’t you?” Nick asked.

“I might,” she admitted with an unapologetic grin.

 “I’m a DEA agent, and Harley’s a drug dog.  What are we supposed to do with you?”

“Arrest me,” Grammy challenged nonchalantly.  She leaned over and petted Harley whose concentration didn’t waiver.

“I should.  Maybe a night in jail would be good for you,” Nick retorted.

“Ha!  Like I haven’t been to jail before.”  She chuckled.  “The first time was back in ’67…or was it ’68?  Anyway, me and a bunch of other women burned our bras in the street outside The Playboy Club in San Francisco.  I haven’t worn a bra since.”

 

So what does the teaching of an expert in this field, Dr. Morris Massey, tell us?  Dr. Massey’s credentials are on line.  In his book What Works At Work (Lakewood Publications, 1988) he was cited as one of the most influential workplace experts of the time.  And to fully understand why people believe what they do and have the values they do, you have to understand where they’ve come from.

Morris Massey has described three major periods during which our values are developed.

 

The Imprint Period

Up to the age of seven, we are like sponges, absorbing everything around us and accepting much of it as true, especially when it comes from our parents. The confusion and blind belief of this period can also lead to the early formation of trauma and other deep problems. The critical thing here is to learn a sense of right and wrong, good and bad. This is a human construction which we nevertheless often assume would exist even if we were not here (which is an indication of how deeply imprinted it has become).  If parents are poor their kids often will value wealth.  If they’re jobs are a t risk and they’re unemployed the kids will value job security and when they’re older days off without pay is a significant.

 

The Modeling Period

Between the ages of eight and thirteen, we copy people, often our parents, but also other people. Rather than blind acceptance, we are trying on things like suit of clothes, to see how they feel. We may be much impressed with religion or our teachers. You may remember being particularly influenced by junior school teachers who seemed so knowledgeable—maybe even more so than your parents.

 

The Socialization Period

Between 13 and 21, we are very largely influenced by our peers. As we develop as individuals and look for ways to get away from the earlier programming, we naturally turn to people who seem more like us. Other influences at these ages include the media, especially those parts which seem to resonate with the values of our peer groups.

 

So your kids or even you at about age seven, between eight and thirteen or between thirteen and twenty one, are primary time periods that mold us.  Is it any wonder therefore that kids growing up in the fifties explained a lot about the existence of the hippies of the sixties and seventies and the push back the baby boomer generation always seemed to be doing in the sixties through to today.

 

Kind of makes you wonder what imprints kids in the early twenty-first century will value as adults.  The point of this blog?  Be sure your characters are consistent with their age and era.  Of course, not everything you know about your characters will come out on the page.  But it impacts who they are and how they will react to whatever conflicts you’re going to throw in their path.

 

Our series novels are in three different age ranges for example:

  • The young adult series, TIME SHIFTERS, is about four sixteen year olds.
  • The new adult series, SCANDALS, is about five adults age eighteen to twenty five
  • Romantic Suspense, both the Denver Heroes and Austin Heroes series, is about characters in their mid to late twenties.

 

AFTER LOVE COVER

Overboard

OVERBOARD

By Kathy Clark

One of the best things I did to improve my overall writing skills was to take screenwriting classes.  I had already had twenty-three novels published before I decided to give Hollywood a shot.  There was no question that I knew how to plot a novel and create characters.  But what I learned from writing screenplays was the delicate art form of pacing, set-ups and payoffs, backstory without lengthy narrative, and fast-paced scene structure.  I also learned how to write interesting, realistic characters who reveal themselves through actions and dialogue.

I’ve read hundreds of blogs and articles about characters, plotting, and structure.  Most cite classic authors such as Hemingway and Steinbeck.  But when I was an adjunct professor, I used a little-know movie as my best example of a well-executed plot and great character development.  It’s not what most would consider a must-see film, but on a basic level, it’s enjoyable.  As an example of how to write a novel or a movie, it’s fantastic.  The name of the movie is….drum roll, please…a 1987 Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell film, Overboard.

Not what you expected, I bet.  But, considering that it was written by Leslie Dixon who also wrote Loverboy, Outrageous Fortune, and The Heartbreak Kid and directed by the incredibly talented Garry Marshall, it comes as no surprise that this film followed a tried-and-true formula.

The set-up is that a ridiculously spoiled heiress (Joanna), who is so disliked even her mother avoids her, hires a local carpenter (Dean) to remodel a closet on her yacht.  He does a fabulous job but, instead of praise, she is rude, condescending, and shorts his pay.  The author set up Joanna perfectly so that when she fell overboard during a stormy night, you weren’t very sympathetic.  She is rescued, but she has amnesia and doesn’t realize her yacht is sailing off without her (and that her husband and crew are partying big time!)  Through a plot twist, she ends up at Dean’s house under the misconception that she is his wife and Dean’s wild sons are her children.  During the course of his attempt to get back at her, they fall in love and she learns humility, respect, and the true meaning of happiness.  Anyway, you get the plot.  Goldie’s character starts out as a totally unlikeable bitch.  We all know that you can make your heroes and heroines as bad and flawed as you want…as long as they are eventually redeemed.

Goldie’s character began as an extreme.  But remember, Overboard was released in 1987, pre-social media, even prior to the explosion of the internet.  Update the character to 2016 and maybe change her last name to Kardashian, and you have basically the same shallow, self-centered person.  The good news is that that kind of character has plenty of room to grow and develop.  It’s important to give all your major characters a strong arc to show how they have changed and improved because of whatever went on during the course of the book, including true love.

But where do you start?  How do you write characters who start out superficial and end up being substantive?  Here are a few examples of people you don’t want to know by Shana Lebowitz as seen in the Business Insider.  She has presented this for real people, but it’s easily adaptable to your fictional cast of characters.  Pick one or two quirks as the basis for your characters’ genesis, then have fun with it.

 

Disclosing something extremely personal early on in a relationship

In general, people like each other more after they’ve traded confidences. Self-disclosure is one of the best ways to make friends as an adult.

But psychologists say that disclosing something too intimate — say, that your sister is having an extramarital affair — while you’re still getting to know someone can make you seem insecure and decrease your likability.

The key is to get personal without getting overly personal. As one study led by Susan Sprecher at Illinois State University suggests, simply sharing details about your hobbies and your favorite childhood memories can make you seem warmer and more likable.

 

Asking someone questions without talking about yourself at all

Susan Sprecher also found an important caveat to the idea that self-disclosure predicts closeness: It has to be mutual. People generally like you less if you don’t reciprocate when they disclose something intimate.

In the study, unacquainted participants either engaged in back-and-forth self-disclosure or took turns self-disclosing for 12 minutes each while the other listened. Results showed that participants in the back-and-forth group liked each other significantly more.

As the authors write, “Although shy or socially anxious people may ask questions of the other to detract attention from themselves, our research shows that this is not a good strategy for relationship initiation. Both participants in an interaction need to disclose to generate mutual closeness and liking.

 

Hiding your emotions

Research suggests that letting your real feelings come through is a better strategy for getting people to like you than bottling it all up.

In one study, researchers videotaped people watching the fake-orgasm scene from the movie When Harry Met Sally and a sad scene from the movie The Champ. In some cases, the actors were instructed to react naturally; in another they were instructed to suppress their emotions.

College students then watched the four versions of the videos. Researchers measured how much the students would be interested in befriending the people in the videos, as well as their assessments of the personalities of the people in the videos.

Results showed that suppressors were judged less likable — as well as less extroverted and agreeable — than people who emoted naturally.

 

Acting Too Nice

You might think you’ll win people over by acting altruistically, but science suggests otherwise.

In a 2010 study, researchers at Washington State University gave college students points that they could keep or redeem for meal-service vouchers. Participants were told that they were playing in groups of five — even though four of them were manipulations by the researchers — and were told that giving up points would boost the group’s chance of getting a monetary reward.

Some of the “fake” participants would give up lots of points and only take a few vouchers. As it turns out, most participants said they wouldn’t want to work with their unselfish teammate again. Some said the unselfish teammate made them look bad; others suspected they had ulterior motives.

 

Humblebragging

To impress friends and potential employers, avoid complimenting yourself and trying to disguise it as self-criticism. This behavior, otherwise known as “humblebragging,” could be a turn-off, according to a recent study.

In the study, college students were asked to write down how they’d answer a question about their biggest weakness in a job interview. Results showed that more than three-quarters of participants humblebragged, usually about being a perfectionist or working too hard.

Yet independent research assistants said they’d be more likely to hire the participants who were honest, and found them significantly more likable. Those students said things like, “I’m not always the best at staying organized” and “Sometimes I overreact to situations.”

 

Not having a sense of humor

If you’re looking to make friends, you might want to loosen up.

One study of 140 Chinese workers between ages 26 and 35 found that people were less well-liked and less popular among their colleagues if they were “morally focused.” That means they placed a high value on displaying caring, fairness, and other moral traits.

The researchers explained that was because morally focused individuals were perceived as less humorous by their colleagues. Note that this research isn’t an excuse to stop caring about or acting fairly toward your coworkers. But consider it a reason to act less uptight around them.

 

Not smiling

When you’re at a networking event, meeting tons of new people, it can be hard to keep a smile plastered on your face. But you might want to try.

In one study, nearly 100 undergraduate women looked at photos of another woman in one of four poses: smiling in an open body position, smiling in a closed body position, not smiling in an open body position, or not smiling in a closed body position. Results showed that the woman in the photo was liked most when she was smiling, regardless of her body position.

Bonus: Another study found that smiling when you first meet someone helps ensure that they’ll remember you later.

 

Acting like you don’t like someone

Psychologists have known for a while about a phenomenon called “reciprocity of liking“: When we think someone likes us, we tend to like them as well.

In one study, for example, participants were told that certain members of a group discussion would probably like them. (These group members were chosen randomly by the experimenter.) After the discussion, participants indicated that the people they liked best were the ones who supposedly liked them.

If you don’t express fondness for the person you’re meeting, you could potentially turn them off and send them in search of someone who does seem to care about them.

 

Now that you know how to make your Johanna an unpleasant character, what are you going to do to make us love her?

 

Discover all of Kathy’s screenplays and novels on http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com

The current series are located as follows –

 

Adult Contemporary Romance [Denver Heroes & Austin Heroes]

http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com/Romantic_Suspense.html

 

New Adult Romance –

http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com/SCANDALS.html

 

Young Adult Romance Time Travel –

http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com/Young_Adult.html

 

 

#romance #realityromance #overboard #goldiehawn # KurtRussell #Kardashian #garymarshall #harlequin #loveswept #penguinrandomhouse #newadult

What About Bob?

By Kathy Clark

 

In earlier BLOGS we’ve discussed the basis, nature and characteristics of what a REALITY ROMANCE novel is all about.  As a refresher, a REALITY ROMANCE   is a character-driven story where real life is interrupted by the risks, rewards, and romance of life.  Most important to any great story is great characters.   You must hate them or love them, ultimately hoping they succeed or fail if you want the readers to remember them after they close the book or turn off the ereader.

What makes a character memorable?  This BLOG,WHAT ABOUT BOB, delves into the 17 psychological tricks to make people like the character immediately based on a Business Insider article by Shana Lebowitz.  She’s really nailed it and we’ve quoted her extensively.

But first, there are three things to keep in mind when reading this BLOG:

  1. Re-watch the movie What About Bob and analyze what made Bob so creepy and eventually likable. He was clearly a nice guy who had good intentions.  How and why did his actions work against him?
  2. Think about the characters who have stuck with you, either literary or in film/TV. Analyze why you liked or hated them.  What made them memorable?
  3. Relate your characters to real people you know or memorable characters from other sources. That doesn’t mean to copy them verbatim or name them Hans Gruber (the bad guy from Die Hard).  Just absorb the elements that make them interesting into your own hero, heroine, or villain.

I’m sure you all already know that one of the rules of writing both books and screenplays is that you should come into a scene late and leave early.  That works for characters, too.  You don’t start your story on the day your hero was born.  Rather, you jump into the middle of his life and reveal his backstory as you go along.  That unveiling is how the readers get to know him and to understand his motivations and actions, as well as his weaknesses and strengths.  It has taken him twenty-five or so years to become the person he is.  A good writer finds ways to work that backstory into his current story to make him three-dimensional.  Everyone has flaws and fears.  Even heroes.

But how do your characters react to each other?  That reveals more about a character than what he thinks about himself.  Everyone has a different type of relationship with his mother than he does with his boss or his best friend or a woman he’s trying to impress.  All are layers of his personality that make him memorable.

A screenwriter or author can make these relationships come alive by relying on certain techniques that we have all seen or maybe even used ourselves.  Try them to reveal the different layers of your characters and how they relate to others.

In the movie What About Bob, the Bill Murray character tries to be everything to everyone, and ends up being really annoying.  By trying to hide his own reality by becoming someone else, he used many of the following techniques to become someone else.  We don’t advise you go quite that far.  But watching people relate to other people gives you a lot of opportunity to develop even minor players into memorable characters.

Following is a list of how real people establish relationships.  Some will work for your characters, and some you may find helpful when you’re marketing your book or dealing with customers or fellow workers.  Just don’t put them all into one person like they did in What About Bob.

 

  1. Copy them

This strategy is called mirroring, and involves subtly mimicking the other person’s behavior. When talking to someone, try copying their body language, gestures, and facial expressions.

 

  1. Spend more time around them

According to the mere exposure effect, people tend to like things that are familiar to them.

Knowledge of this phenomenon dates back to the 1950s, when MIT 

Researchers discovered that college students who lived closer together in housing projects were more likely to be friends than students who lived farther apart.

 

  1. Compliment other people

People will associate the adjectives you use to describe other people with your personality. This phenomenon is called spontaneous trait transference.

According to Gretchen Rubin, author of books including The Happiness Project,” whatever you say about other people influences how people see you.

The reverse is also true: If you are constantly trashing people behind their backs, your friends will start to associate the negative qualities with you as well.

 

  1. Be in a great mood

Emotional contagion describes what happens when people are strongly influenced by the moods of other people. According to a research paper from the University of Ohio and the University of Hawaii, people can unconsciously feel the emotions of those around them.  If you want to make others feel happy when they’re around you, do your best to communicate positive emotions.

 

  1. Make friends with their friends

The social network theory behind this effect is called triadic closure, which means that two people are likely to be closer when they have a common friend.

To illustrate this effect, students at the University of British Columbia designed a program that friends random individuals on Facebook. They found that people were more likely to accept their friend request as their number of mutual friends increased from 20% with no mutual friends to close to 80% with more than 11 mutual friends.

 

  1. Don’t be complimentary all the time

The gain-loss theory of interpersonal attractiveness suggests that your positive comments will make more of an impact if you only deliver them occasionally.

A 1965 study by University of Minnesota researchers shows how this theory might work in practice. Researchers had 80 female college students work in pairs on a task and then allowed those students to “overhear” their partners talking about them.  In one scenario, the comments were all positive; in a second scenario, the comments were all negative; in a third scenario, the comments went from positive to negative; and in a fourth scenario, the comments went from negative to positive.

As it turns out, students liked their partners best when the comments went from positive to negative, suggesting that people like to feel that they’ve won you over in some capacity.

Bottom line: Although it’s counterintuitive, try complimenting your friends less often.

 

  1. Be both warm and competent

Social psychologist Susan Fiske proposed the stereotype content model, which is a theory that people judge others based on their warmth and competence.

According to the model, if you can portray yourself as warm — i.e. noncompetitive and friendly — people will feel like they can trust you. If you seem competent — for example, if you have high economic or educational status — they’re more inclined to respect you.

 

  1. Reveal your flaws from time to time

According to the pratfall effect, people will like you more after you make a mistake.  This is true only if they believe you are usually a competent person. Revealing that you aren’t perfect makes you more relatable and vulnerable toward the people around you.

When people did well on the quiz but spilled coffee at the end of the interview, the students rated them higher on likeability than when they did well on the quiz and didn’t spill coffee or didn’t do well on the quiz and spilled coffee.

 

  1. Emphasize your shared values

According to a classic study by Theodore Newcomb, people are more attracted to those who are similar to them. This is known as the similarity-attraction effect.  In his experiment, Newcomb measured his subjects’ attitudes on controversial topics such as sex and politics and then put them in a University of Michigan-owned house to live together.

By the end of their stay, the subjects liked their housemates more when they had similar attitudes about the topics that were measured.

 

  1. Casually touch them

This is known as subliminal touching, which occurs when you touch a person so subtly that they barely notice. Common examples including tapping someone’s back or touching their arm, which can make them feel more warmly toward you.

In a University of Mississippi and Rhodes College experiment that studied the effects of interpersonal touch on restaurant tipping, waitresses briefly touched customers on the hand or shoulder as they were returning their change. As it turns out, they earned significantly larger tips than waitresses who didn’t touch their customers.

 

  1. Smile

In one study, nearly 100 undergraduate women looked at photos of another woman in one of four poses: smiling in an open body position, smiling in a closed body position, not smiling in an open body position, or not smiling in a closed body position. Results suggested that the woman in the photo was liked most when she was smiling, regardless of her body position.

 

  1. See the other person how they want to be seen

People want to be perceived in a way that aligns with their own beliefs about themselves. This phenomenon is described by self-verification theory. We all seek confirmations of our views, positive or negative.

The participants with positive self-views preferred people who thought highly of them, while those with negative self-views preferred critics. This could be because people like to interact with those who provide feedback consistent with their known identity.

 

  1. Tell them a secret

Self-disclosure may be one of the best relationship-building techniques.

In a study led by Arthur Aron at Stony Brook University, college students were paired off and told they should spend 45 minutes getting to know each other better.

Experimenters provided some student pairs with a series of questions to ask, which got increasingly deep and personal. For example, one of the intermediate questions was “How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?” Other pairs were given small-talk-type questions. For example, one question was “What is your favorite holiday? Why?”

At the end of the experiment, the students who’d asked increasingly personal questions reported feeling much closer to each other than students who’d engaged in small talk.

 

  1. Expect good things from people

According to the Pygmalion effect, people treat others in ways that are consistent with their expectations of them and therefore cause the person to behave in a way that confirms those expectations.

In a Harvard Magazine article, Cuddy says, “If you think someone’s a jerk, you’ll behave toward them in a way that elicits jerky behaviors.”

On the other hand, if you expect someone to be friendly toward you, they are more likely to behave in a friendly manner toward you.

 

  1. Act like you like them

Psychologists have known for a while about a phenomenon called “reciprocity of liking”.  When we think someone likes us, we tend to like them as well.

In one study, for example, participants were told that certain members of a group discussion would probably like them. (These group members were chosen randomly by the experimenter.) After the discussion, participants indicated that the people they liked best were the ones who supposedly liked them.

 

  1. Display a sense of humor

Research from Illinois State University and California State University at Los Angeles found that, regardless of whether people were thinking about their ideal friend or romantic partner, having a sense of humor was really important.

Meanwhile, not having a sense of humor, especially at the office, could backfire. One study of 140 Chinese workers between ages 26 and 35 found that people were less well-liked and less popular among their colleagues if they were “morally focused.” That means they placed a high value on displaying caring, fairness, and other moral traits. The researchers explained that was because morally focused individuals were perceived as less humorous by their colleagues.

 

  1. Let them talk about themselves

Harvard researchers recently discovered that talking about yourself may be inherently rewarding, the same way that food, money, and sex are.

In one study, the researchers had participants sit in an MRI machine and respond to questions about either their own opinions or someone else’s. Results showed that the brain regions associated with motivation and reward were most active when participants were sharing information publicly — but also when they were talking about themselves, even if no one was listening.

 

Whether in your life or in the life of a hero or heroine in a book (or movie), paying attention to these seventeen techniques and selectively blending them into the characters personality in a seamless and natural manner adds depth and personality that will make them memorable.

 

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