How to Be Cool
The definition of being “cool” might vary in specifics from generation to generation. But in essence, “cool” encompasses a laid-back quality that demonstrates social intuition, personal confidence, and above all composure – even in stressful situations.
Cool has no age, gender or financial status. There are just as many “cool poor people” as there are “cool rich people,” and plenty of seniors and kids are cool as cucumbers even in the most demanding social situations.
So why do some people get respect for what seems to be little effort, while others are repeatedly looked down upon or taken advantage of? The following information uncovers the key personality traits of people who continually earn the admiration of others, and are often placed in high regard.
1 – You Can Be Cool, But You Can’t Buy Cool
If you are equating “cool” with a fashionable look or jargon, you’re heading down the wrong path. You can spend all of your hard earned money on designer clothes, or all of your time practicing fashionable phrases and you can still come across to others as being awkward or out of touch.
The fashion industry preys upon the weak and insecure. That’s not to say you should never treat yourself to some clothes that you really want, just be sure that you dress and talk in a way that suits your lifestyle. If you alter your appearance in an attempt to change how others perceive you, you may come across as phony, or desperate to fit in.
Accepting your true identity and not letting anyone else challenge it is far cooler than adopting a false persona. Instead of being a slave to trends, make your own statement. As your confidence expands, not only will people be stealing your style, you will no longer be wasting your time and money on useless crap.
2 – Don’t Confuse Confidence With Arrogance
It’s important to know the difference between being a confident person and being an arrogant person. Confidence is being comfortable and responsible with the way you present yourself. Arrogance, on the other hand, is an overbearing, condescending attitude that demonstrates ignorance and a lack of social awareness.
Ironically, arrogant people who feel they must continually demonstrate an air of superiority are often closed-minded, are not open to new ideas, and consequently lack the vital two-way exchange that is required to secure respectful, reciprocal relationships.
These people tend to repeat phrases and actions that command attention, and often use bullying tactics in an attempt to get their way. Because arrogant people refuse to accept feedback from others, they are oblivious to the fact that people do not enjoy being around them, and hence are never viewed as cool, but rather as annoying and unapproachable.
3 – The Art Of Cool Is The Art Of Listening
Yes, you heard correctly – being cool has everything to do with listening, and very little to do with jabbering on about yourself. In a conversation scenario, the ability to listen while making genuine eye contact not only demonstrates intelligence and interest, it also establishes a connection with the person you’re talking to.
More importantly, interrupting others when they are speaking is painfully disruptive and un-cool. Those who continually interrupt are motivated purely by self-interest while demonstrating their lack of listening skills.
People do not want to be around others who are merely spouting off about their own opinions, without giving them a turn to speak. A conversation between two people, for example, should follow a 50:50 ratio; people who are popular in social circles have at some point become conscious of this simple discussion formula. They respect that others may have something valuable to say, and they know that listening is the best way to learn something new.
If you can manage to wait your turn, you will elevate yourself in the conversation. People will be hanging on your every word if you take the time to compose what you would like to say and save it for the right moment.
Timing in conversation is an essential component of being cool. It demonstrates your social instincts and a respect for others. When you treat others with respect, they’re more likely to treat you in the same way.
4 – Silence is Golden
Sometimes there are silent gaps in a conversation that feel excruciatingly uncomfortable, especially if you are in the company of someone whom you’ve just met. These silent gaps are where a lot of people tend to get nervous and blurt out anything just to keep the conversation going.
Often what comes out is irrelevant or embarrassing – or even worse, you end up revealing something that you didn’t want them to know, just to keep the conversation alive. Uma Thurman’s character, Mia, sums it up in the Movie, Pulp Fiction when she says, “Why do we feel it’s necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable? […] That’s when you know you found somebody special when you can just shut the f*ck up for a minute and comfortably share silence.”
It’s helpful during a moment of silence to simply take a rest from talking, and relax – even if it’s only for five seconds. You’d be surprised what comes out of a quiet moment between two people. Even if nothing happens, at least that’s not something you would be kicking yourself for later.
Silence brings mystery and intrigue and gives you time to think about what you really want to say. This should not be confused, however, with the “silent treatment,” which is not cool. When you are cross with someone, tell that person why you are angry or upset upfront. Assuming they’ll figure it out by your awkward behavior is only going to cause them to lose interest, and respect for you. In other words, cut to the chase and be straightforward and honest. You’ll feel a lot better not bottling things up inside, and it will save you from erupting like a volcano and making a complete ass of yourself.
5 – Cool People Never Whine
Complaining and whining are not only counterproductive (people tend to walk away rather than fix the situation for you), they also make you appear weak and needy. Most people have enough to take care of in their own lives, let alone have time to drop everything for someone else.
This isn’t to say that people should not offer you some help when you truly need it, but just don’t expect people to fix every little thing for you. And when you know that something can’t be fixed, then it’s time to let it go. Choosing to remain angry about something that cannot be rectified will bring your spirits down, and cause others to behave negatively towards you.
Let’s face it, whiners are simply crybabies who need to learn to toughen up and accept that life is not perfect. So what if you didn’t get the window seat on the plane? At least you have the opportunity to fly somewhere! And if a window seat becomes free before you board the plane, rest assured the last person they would offer the seat to would be the belligerent, loud-mouthed passenger at the check-in counter.
It’s akin being a good sport; someone who is throwing their golf club down the fairway, or yelling obscenities when missing a shot is very awkward for others to be around. Keep your composure and save your displays of anger for when you’re alone – or better yet, take a deep breath and let it go. You’ll play much better if you can learn to control your emotions and put it behind you.
6 – Make Sure Your Time Is Relevant To The Crime
This one is touchy because apologies are always warranted when you do a disservice to someone. We all make mistakes and it is important to own up to them, and to try to resolve any wrongdoings. But knowing how much of an apology is required, or deciphering if one is really needed in the first place is something that requires careful consideration.
When you’ve done something that has inconvenienced someone, understand that you are only required to give one genuine apology and offer to rectify the error in some way. After the issue is discussed, no more apologies are needed.
People who repeatedly apologize for past mistakes diminish their own self-esteem and demonstrate that rather than learning from the mistake, they are forever dwelling on it.
Apologizing for something you didn’t do just to ease tension is also a big no-no. Not only is this insincere, it characterizes you as the weaker party, and invites others to repeatedly take advantage of you.
If the affected party is still bringing it up a year later or demanding more apologies for something that has already been resolved, you must make it clear that you’ve already apologized and the issue is no longer up for discussion. Rest assured at this point it is their problem, not yours.
7 – Approval Is Overrated
Being cool is accepting that not everyone is going to like you. The important thing to remember is it’s not about how many people you can impress, but rather how you feel about your actions towards others. When you treat others the way you want to be treated, you can let go of worry, guilt and social anxiety.
Everyone makes social blunders, if we didn’t, we’d never have any stories to tell that have us rolling on the floor laughing. Remember, if you do something stupid or embarrassing, there is a very good chance that in a couple of days you’ll be the only one obsessing over it. Most people are so preoccupied with themselves that they are more likely to be consumed with worry about their own social gaffes.
Spend less time seeking the approval of others and more time applying what you’ve learned from past mistakes. Always remember that the way you behave towards others directly affects the way they will behave towards you. By practicing some social common sense you will not only gain respect, you’ll find that people are magnetically attracted to you.
A magnetic personality is not cultivated from rehearsed actions or presentation, but instead, it comes from the simple practice of using your better judgment. Just taking a moment of consideration before each action will improve how you feel about yourself, and in turn, how others feel about you. That one extra moment of consideration is the primary behavior that encompasses all that it is to be cool and subsequently elevates a person to a position of high esteem.
I have a book available called No More Mr. Boring. It is chock full of tips and techniques that help guys like you own any room. Looking and being cool is one thing but adding charisma and unnerving confidence completes the package – my book shows you how.