Do It The Croatian Way

September 23, 2016 fm

He’s one of my best friends, and I could hate him — sometimes.

I’ve known Tiho, my Croatian friend, since our university days. His family originally comes from Croatia, but he was born and raised in the beautiful countryside around Lake Tegernsee in Bavaria. Like most Croatians, Tiho is extremely cool. When he’s speaking with you, his cigarette constantly bounces up and down while he talks as it dangles loosely from the right corner of his mouth. When you approach him excitedly, you run into a block of ice — a block with a superior grin. Tiho is in control of any conversation. Always. You just feel it.

In this sense, I’ve learned a lot from my friend.

So why could I hate my friend Tiho sometimes? Because he’s been doing the same thing to me for more than 20 years. I know it. I expect it. And I still cannot deal with it.

We humans cannot cope with rejection. How many times in life did a bouncer reject you? And did you go back and try it again? Didn’t you want to get into that darn club?

Of course, you did. You couldn’t deal with being rejected. It hurts when we fail in a flirtation. It hurts when a bouncer says No. And it surely hurts when we want to know something from someone, but he or she just won’t let it out.

That’s exactly the technique my friend Tiho has perfected. A typical conversation between the two of us follows this pattern:

Tiho: Ah, I was really lucky the other day.

I: Really, what happened?

Tiho: Ah, you don’t want to know it.

I: Come on, what happened?

Tiho: No, you’re not ready.

I (thinking): Aaaaaaarrrrrggghhhhh.

The same old movie for more than two decades. Still, it works. Instead of running away, I still keep trying and trying. But Tiho is Croatian, he stays strong.

What I’ve learned from Tiho is that people are attracted by mystery. Tiho is a dealer in mystery. He keeps things in the dark. He doesn’t spill the beans right away. Mystery is an effective driver of successful interpersonal communication because you remain interesting.

Now I do the same thing. At cocktail parties, networking events, in my trainings — sometimes I’m like Tiho, and it works. I especially use: You don’t want to know it. It’s a killer thing to say.

Mystery is a charisma driver. Learn from my Croatian friend and keep your communication mysterious sometimes. They will hang on your lips like slivovitz.

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