Why You Should Know When to Leave

In any professional or recreational environment, the social dynamic is made of constant transactions. Like the stock market, people’s social value fluctuates during an outing, a night out, or a corporate meeting. Anything you do or say – and the timing with which you do and say those things – either supplements or takes away from your social value in that setting. A full analysis of social value in different settings is a study beyond the scope of one article on this website. However, one important aspect that is good to begin this study with is the shifting dynamic of controlling your physical presence.

When you arrive at a particular setting, you establish your presence. Your presence is now something you can leverage to influence others, if that is what you desire and have energy to do. The main goal of controlling your presence in a particular social setting is to establish a need to be seen and heard over other people. Your presence does not only consist of your physical body and space, but also the frequency of your contribution to any conversations that are occurring.

Don’t Yearn to be Heard and Seen

When aiming to leverage your presence to influence others, less is more. This general rule of thumb will place you ahead in social ranking over the ones who aim to be heard and seen, perhaps to their detriment. Human nature drives the need to establish presence and people frequently overshoot the appropriate boundaries. To make others yearn for your presence in sight and sound, you need to keep them hungry for it, never fully satisfying their desire.

Always physically leave earlier than the rest, and arrive fashionably later. Your fear of missing out is the exact human nature that makes people overshoot in wanting to be seen and heard by others. If you feel a fear of missing out creeping in, then you are doing the right thing. That feeling is the same one others will feel about you when you leave. They will develop a ‘fear’ of missing out on you, and everything that you bring to the social setting that you were in.

These tactics are seen in any person who holds a position of power, if noticed closely. Whether it comes naturally to them or they learn their behaviors on their way to the top, their control of presence is impeccable. The one who can control their presence in a way that serves to influence others will place themselves ahead of competition and move closer towards any goals they have set.

There are Levels to Your Presence

Your presence can also be controlled at a more granular level, or a per-person level. You can be available and present to a subgroup of people within your setting and be less available to others. Generally, be less available to people you want to be interested in you. It is a little bit counter-intuitive, but you need to be the most available to people who interest you the least.

Though it will seem like a boring venture during the time you interact with the ones you’re not interested in, you must remember that the ones you want to be interested in you are slowly building their craving. While you show interest to those who you care least about, the ones you care most about will want you more.

Controlling your presence and knowing when to leave early will help you in all facets of life, similar to studying how to influence people. These tactics and skills only add to your personal and professional growth.

Book recommendations: 

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

The Cat Whisperer: Why Cats Do What They Do–and How to Get Them to Do What You Want

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