How to Liberate Yourself from Social Anxiety | Vanessa Van Edwards on Impact Theory

Tom: Everybody, welcome to Impact Theory. You are here, my friends, because you believe
that human potential is nearly limitless, but you know that having potential is not
the same as actually doing something with it. Our goal with this show and company is to
introduce you to the people and ideas that will help you actually execute on your dreams. All right, today’s guest is a human lie detector
who has dedicated her life to cracking the code on interesting human behavior. A certified fraud examiner, [00:00:30] body
language expert, and author of ‘Human Lie Detection,’ and ‘Body Language 101,’ she has
literally written the book on reading people. She has traveled the world as a speaker, presenting
her findings to prestigious universities and Fortune 500 companies. She’s been featured on NPR, The Today Show,
the Wall Street Journal, and a ton of other media outlets. Saying that doesn’t even scratch the surface
of what makes her so special. This self described recovering awkward person
didn’t just read a few books, call herself an expert, [00:01:00] and start blogging. She founded her own research lab, conducted
hundreds, if not thousands of her own studies; and as the lead researcher at the Science
of People, she is amassed what is arguably one of the most arresting sets of science-backed
insights into human behavior that I have ever seen. Every video, every article, every page of
her books, will leave your jaw hanging wide open with her transformative usability. She is transparent, super authentic, and never
afraid to ask an [00:01:30] inappropriately intimate question for the benefit of all of
us. All of that gives her work an irreverent sparkle
that makes it truly captivating. Whether you want to understand yourself or
others better, she’s got the data-driven goods you’ve been looking for. Please, help me in welcoming the woman who
used to hide in the bathroom to avoid people at parties and is now the most captivating
person in most any room, the author of the enthralling book, ‘Captivate: The Science
of Succeeding with People,’ Vanessa Van Edwards. [00:02:00] Welcome. It is so good to have you on the show. Vanessa: That was the perfect hug. Tom: Yes, it was wonderful. Vanessa: Yes. Tom: We discussed it beforehand. Vanessa: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:02:11] we discussed
it. Tom: Which I think is important. Vanessa: I like practicing hugs and handshakes,
just because you have that awkward moment that’s like, ‘Are we going to handshake? Hug? Side hug?’ Tom: Yes. Vanessa: So that was perfect. Tom: What was the other one? Squiggle? Vanessa: A squiggle. Tom: Yeah, that was …
Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: I had not heard of that, but as soon
as you showed me what it was. It was like, ‘Okay.’ Vanessa: Yes. A squiggle is typically two women, but not
always. Tom: Yes. Vanessa: A squiggle is a moving hug. It’s like a [00:02:30] moving cuddle. It’s like when people go hug, ‘ooooh!’ That’s a squiggle. Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: Do you know what I mean? Tom: There are a lot of squiggles in my life. I’m going to be really honest. I’ve witnessed them. Vanessa: You know, I think you might like
it. Tom: You think? Vanessa: It’s like a bear hug, but there’s
movement in it. It’s like a dance. Tom: [crosstalk 00:02:47]
Vanessa: We could squiggle at the end if you want. Tom: I will give it a shot. That is a [crosstalk 00:02:50] ‘Don’t knock
it til you’ve tried it.’ Vanessa: So we try it. Yeah, and we should also come up with a name
for that hug that where someone hugs, and they go the pat, pat, pat, pat, pat, pat,
pat, pat, pat. Tom: Yeah, I do that one a lot. Vanessa: You do that one? Tom: I do that one. Vanessa: [00:03:00] That’s a man-to-man. Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: That’s a patty cake hug. Tom: I’ve got a weird thing with … my wife. My wife will just set her hand on me. For me, my hand has to be moving to show attention;
which is partly why I think I do the pat on the back thing. Then, I’ve seen that made fun of, so. Vanessa: Well the thing is, so patting, from
a non-verbal perspective, it’s an interesting non-verbal move. I don’t know if you … Yeah. Tom: I’m a little tense now. Vanessa: I know. Well, I should tell you. You should know. Tom: Yes, please. Vanessa: Patting, if it’s done from [00:03:30]
above, it’s often a dominance gesture. Tom: Okay. Vanessa: Think about a dog. Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: What do we do? We pat a dog’s head. Think about a child. We say, “Good job. Good boy.” If it’s done equally, like, “Oh wow, it’s
good to see you,” it’s not so bad. Tom: Right. Vanessa: Just be careful you’re not like the
… Tom: No, that I don’t do. Vanessa: Right. You’ll notice that it’s actually quite a demeaning
gesture. There are certain politicians you might have
seen out there that will … Tom: Quite a few. Vanessa: Yeah, just a few. They will pat. They will pat on the upper shoulders or on
the upper back. It’s a way of saying, ‘good boy,’ or [00:04:00]
‘good girl.’ Tom: Interesting. Vanessa: It’s a very subtle non-verbal cue,
but usually the equal pat, which I think … I don’t know, what do you think about patty
cake? That’s not man enough? Tom: Yeah, I don’t … I’ve never had any
… Vanessa: Your facial expression doesn’t look
so good about it. Tom: Yeah, I’ve never had the instinct to
do that; but the one handed … I would say 90% of my hugs incorporate a pat. Vanessa: Incorporate a pat. Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: So maybe that’s the bro hug. Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: The ‘brug?’ Tom: The ‘brug,’ well said. Vanessa: Let’s just …
Tom: Indeed. Vanessa: I like naming everything. I name car turns. I name hugs. [00:04:30] I like creating words. Tom: All right, so let’s get into that, [crosstalk
00:04:32] because it’s actually fascinating. What I love is that … So my core belief
about human existence is that you can learn virtually anything. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: You’ve come a long way from being the
awkward person. Do you think people can learn anything? Vanessa: I think people can learn anything. I think, however, you have a spectrum of how
much you can improve. Let’s say for example, sports are the easiest
way to think about this. Let’s say for example, you are a very lightweight,
[00:05:00] compact male under five foot. You would make a great jockey. Right? You’d be great at riding horses if you’re
small and compact. Tom: Right. Vanessa: Could you learn to be a basketball
player? 100%, but your ability or your percent improvement
is only going to be able to improve so much. You’re going to have to work much harder for
that, compared to say, a six foot, seven man who’s going to have to work a little bit less
hard to be able to dunk shots, because he just is closer to the net. Tom: Right. Vanessa: I think if you think about it that
[00:05:30] way, it’s how much work do you have to do to get there? Tom: Do you think that part of why you’ve
been able to get as good as you have with breaking this stuff down because you had to
learn it, or do you think there’s some … another innate skill that you have that’s allowed
for that? Vanessa: I think it’s because, and maybe other
recovering awkward people out there will feel this way, if you are a recovering awkward
person; and I don’t mean introvert. Introverts do not have to be awkward, although
I am introverted. We are very good at observing. What happens is, is we see interactions [00:06:00]
in very black or white ways. If you are naturally charismatic, or naturally
good with people, you can walk into a room. You don’t even have to think about a conversation
starter; whereas if you’re awkward, a room looks like either a battlefield or a playground,
depending on your mentality. If you see a room like a battleground or a
playground, you’re instantly looking for who’s on your team. You’re looking for patterns. You’re looking for verbal weapons. You’re looking for different kinds of things
than someone who will just walk into a room and naturally have it. Tom: Right. Vanessa: I think that what’s helped is that
[00:06:30] I tend to see every interaction that way, which has helped me study it in
a formulaic way. A little different. Tom: What drew you to the science, the study. I mean not a lot of people start their own
research lab. Vanessa: I was a journalist, so I was just
writing stories. I loved science. I, from a very young age, my parents encouraged
the academic side, the book smarts, the IQ. I think I totally forgot about the people
smart side, the PQ thing. I had [00:07:00] this ability to read 20 page
academic studies, and find some usable nugget. I started to write about that for different
blogs and journals out there. I realized that the one thing that could differentiate
me, … Anyone could write an article about science. The one thing that could change what I was
writing was if I tested things on myself. I either became a human guinea pig, or I was
able to actually do research in a real world; because most studies are based on 20 college
seniors who want academic credit for a psychology class. They’re not representative of the whole population. Tom: [00:07:30] Right. Vanessa: I thought if there was one thing
that could differentiate this article from every other journalist, it would be adding
my own take on it. It was actually a differentiator. It came from a place of trying to differentiate
my work from other journalists out there. Then of course, a personal need that I had
to try to solve people; which I don’t know if it’s possible, but I’m certainly still
trying. Tom: That’s interesting, ‘to solve people.’ What do you mean by that? Vanessa: I loved in math class where you’d
be working on a math problem, and the teacher would be like, “Okay, here’s a formula for
you.” It was like being given a cipher. [00:08:00] It was like the most powerful thing. I thought what if there was a cipher for people? What if there was a way, a formula for people? I have something that I called a matrix. It was a little bit different than the Keanu
Reeves ‘Matrix.’ Tom: Right. Vanessa: Which, I believe that every person
has a cipher. They have a set of of values that you can
solve about them that if you turn it in the right ways, you can figure out how to figure
out their motivations, how to figure out their values, how to speak to them so that they’ll
listen, how to make them feel loved. That’s the closest I’ve [00:08:30] come to
actually solving people. It’s the only way that I’ve found to interact
successful. Tom: When you say ‘solved’ though, you’re
saying to be able to have a useful interaction, or? Vanessa: To not be so baffled by people’s
choices. Tom: Okay. That’s interesting. Vanessa: I don’t know if this is a pain point
for you, but I was constantly feeling like I didn’t understand where people were coming
from. Or, they would be making choices and I didn’t
understand why, especially with friendships. I found that if I can figure out how they’re
coded, how they’re wired, no longer their decisions [00:09:00] and their actions become
baffling. Tom: Right, so give us some of those things. In fact, let me … You and I were talking
about this. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: Let me break it down for you at home,
hi. The way that I normally prepare for an interview
is very different than the way that I will go through a book for a book review. Started the book on an international flight,
so I had plenty of time; and started it just to read it as part of my interview prep for
this interview. Then, man, like really fast, I was like, ‘Whoa,
that was a cool [00:09:30] insight.’ Then, that was another one, and then rapidly,
it just turned into a book review. I just went in all the different points, and
how they add up, and just all the things I wanted in my own life, and started … and
this is what I’d really like you to talk about now, you start breaking down what motivates
people. What’s their love language? What’s their primary value? That kind of stuff. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: I started going, ‘Oh my god, like, what’s
mine?’ First of all, I didn’t even know mine. Vanessa: Yes. Tom: I found it very weird, because I consider
myself super self aware. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: I found it so much easier to identify
my wife’s. Vanessa: [00:10:00] Always. Tom: Than to identify my own. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: What are the key things to understanding
someone else or yourself? Vanessa: Yes. I like to think of people a little bit like
an onion, in that [crosstalk 00:10:11] there’s different layers. Tom: It makes you cry and you don’t want to
cut it. Vanessa: Exactly, but tastes delicious once
cooked. Okay, so the outside layer I think is the
easiest one to solve. That’s the one we start with. Tom: All right. Vanessa: This is the big five personality
traits, and there’s a lot of personality research out there. The only personality science that’s actually
backed, [00:10:30] it’s used by academic institutions, it’s called OCEAN, or the big five. Tom: Right. Vanessa: This is someone’s openness, so how
adventurous are they. Someone’s conscientiousness, how organized
they are. Someone’s extraversion, that’s the one that
we all know. How they like being around people. Agreeableness, so how they work on teams. If they default to ‘yes’ or default to ‘no,’
and we can talk about that one if you want. Then neuroticism, which is the one that no
one wants to talk about. Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: Neuroticism is my favorite. It’s how someone approaches worry. [00:11:00] Those are the easiest to solve. Actually, research has found that I could
look in your wallet, for example, or I could open your bedside table, and probably solve
a lot of your personality traits. Tom: Wow, I so wish I had my wallet. Vanessa: [crosstalk 00:11:11] I wish could
do that. You don’t have it? Tom: Not on me. Vanessa: That’s bad. Tom: What would you be looking for, because
I would give it to you in a heartbeat. That would be so fun. Vanessa: We are doing a study right now, actually,
the Science of People, where I want people to take pictures of a couple different assets
in their life. One, their car trunk. By the way, if anyone watching wants to send
me pictures of these things, I’m happy to analyze them. [00:11:30] Their car trunk. Tom: Do you want me to tell you what mine
looks like? Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: It’s empty only because my wife’s pressure
is unending. Otherwise, it would be a filthy mess. Vanessa: That tells me that you are a little
higher in agreeableness, because you want to make your wife happy. Tom: You are so right. I am extremely high in agreeableness. Vanessa: Yes. Tom: Absolutely. Vanessa: That fact that that was your first
reason … Tom: [crosstalk 00:11:49] I didn’t even mean
to let that slip out, by the way. Vanessa: Yes. Tom: I’m just trying to be honest about the
fact that it’s clean now, but only because of my wife. Vanessa: [crosstalk 00:11:56] Oh now this
interview’s getting good. Yes. Okay, so because that’s your motivation, right? Tom: Right. Vanessa: That was your motivation there. [00:12:00] Your trunk, your medicine cabinet,
and it doesn’t have to … You can hide your prescriptions, I just want to see how it’s
organized and how it’s laid out, what’s in there. Tom: Yeah, I don’t really have a medicine
cabinet. It’s stuffed in a drawer. Vanessa: Stuffed in a drawer. Tom: Randomly. Vanessa: Then maybe medium in conscientiousness. Conscientiousness is how organized or how
much you like routine. Tom: Okay. Vanessa: It’s like people who are really high
in conscientiousness, this is me, I find making a to-do list like a sport. If I was an Olympic athlete, like I could
make to-do lists, I could be a champion [00:12:30] in this. Tom: Wow. Vanessa: I will put things on my to-do list
just for the pleasure of checking them off. Tom: Nice. Vanessa: Someone’s high in conscientious. Tom: We got someone over there. Vanessa: I got you. We are the same. Yeah, like alphabetizing gives me an adrenaline
rush. Tom: Wow, some people jump out of airplanes. You alphabetize. Vanessa: Alphabetizing, like a bunch of books
by color and by author name. My goodness. Tom: Wow. Vanessa: Anyway, that’s high in conscientious. Low in conscientiousness means you’re much
more easy going, you’re much more spontaneous. You feel that the creative process is going
with the flow and actually [00:13:00] routine sort of boxes you in. If your medicine drawer or medicine cabinet
is a little bit more haphazard and you don’t really have a system to it, I would gets you’re
either medium/low in conscientiousness. Tom: Well what’s interesting, I’m very low. I’m about as low as you can get on the conscientiousness
scale. Vanessa: Yes, okay. Tom: It is only because my wife is muddling
your ability to read. Vanessa: That’s right. Tom: Because she forces me to hide it in a
drawer. Vanessa: Yeah, yeah. Tom: Otherwise, it would just be left out. Vanessa: Everywhere. Everywhere, yeah. Okay, so low in conscientiousness. Tom: Very. Vanessa: Then …
Tom: I hate that name, by the way. Vanessa: Conscientious? Tom: Because that one made me [00:13:30] feel
weird about being low, because I feel like I’m a conscientious person. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: I think about other people and what their
needs are. Vanessa: Yes. It’s funny that you mention that language. Language is a serious issue. For example, the book is now gotten picked
up in ten other languages. Tom: Congratulations, by the way. Vanessa: It’s a problem. Thank you. We’re trying to figure out words. For example, in Western cultures, there is
an ideal personality type. You will notice that every romantic comedy,
the woman is the ideal personality type for women, and [00:14:00] the man is usually the
ideal personality type for a man. In Western cultures, for women it is high
in conscientiousness. That’s sort of her funny quirk. She’s really organized and doesn’t like to
be spontaneous. Tom: Yeah, yeah. Vanessa: A high in agreeableness, so, “Yeah,
whatever you want, sweetie.” Either medium or high in neuroticism, so kind
of a warrior but it’s cute and endearing. Tom: Right. Vanessa: Very spontaneous, and extroverted,
and bubbly, and high in openness, adventurous and imaginative. That’s like the perfect diode. The problem [00:14:30] is when you talk about
neuroticism … Neuroticism should not be a negative word but it is considered negative
because then you’re called ‘A type’ or ‘controlling.’ Tom: Right. Vanessa: It’s funny, language is actually
a huge issue. Conscientiousness does not mean that you don’t
care about people. Tom: Right. Vanessa: It just means that routine is not
your love, like some people. Anyway, at the lab, we’re trying to figure
out if we can guess people’s personality types or solve their matrix based on their different
assets and their habits. Tom: You’re doing good so far. Vanessa: Yeah. [00:15:00] We’re going to ask people for that,
and then the funny one is what’s on your walls. Tom: We’ve got the Michael Jordan flu game. Vanessa: Okay. Tom: Which is probably my most meaningful
piece of art. Vanessa: Okay. Tom: It’s all art, so I guess we’ll start
with that. Vanessa: Okay. Tom: Then, mostly movies. Matrix has like three or four appearances
in the house. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: Then, that’s pretty much it. Vanessa: What they say is that, … This is
a research according to Sam Gosling. He wrote a great book called ‘Snoop,’ which
is if you’re a snooper, [00:15:30] this is the book for you. Sam Gosling found that high neurotics use
more motivational quotes. Tom: Nice. Vanessa: I am a high neurotic. I am definitely a worrier. By the way, you know if you’re high neurotic
or low neurotic if you’re really good at what-if scenarios. High neurotics, we love pros and cons lists. We can think through every worst case scenario
ever. Whereas low neurotics, they say things like,
“It’ll all be fine,” [00:16:00] which to a low neurotic is like the worst thing that
you can say because we believe that worrying is like an investment account. Do you know what I mean? The more that I worry, the less likelihood
it will happen. Tom: Right, that is interesting. Vanessa: High neurotics actually love motivational
quotes because it’s like an external regulator for their internal world. Tom: Wow. Vanessa: I have a lot of motivational quotes
in my office space. You didn’t have any, which makes me think
that you’re not very high neurotic. Tom: I am super low neurotic. Vanessa: Ah, okay. Tom: But, I’m insanely [00:16:30] chemically
impacted by motivational stuff. I keep a list of quotes that I find motivational
or empowering. I follow a bunch of Instagram accounts that
are all motivational. Vanessa: Your list of quotes, is it in a book? Is it covered, or is it for display? Tom: It’s in Evernote. Vanessa: Okay, so that means that you are
medium or low neurotic because high neurotics, we … Can I get a little science-y? Tom: Yeah, please. Vanessa: Okay. High neurotics carry [00:17:00] a special
form of a certain gene. It’s called the serotonin transporter gene. Serotonin is a really important chemical in
our body. It’s what keeps us calm. It’s what keeps us nice and stable. For example, if you’re driving and all of
a sudden, someone almost hits you. They don’t hit you, but they almost hit you. Tom: Right. Vanessa: Your adrenaline goes, your cortisol
goes, and you’re like, “Oh! We almost got in a car accident.” A low neurotic like you will begin to produce
serotonin, so your body goes, ‘Whew, we’re okay.’ Tom: Right. Vanessa: ‘Everything’s fine.’ Then a few minutes later, you’re back to your
music. Everything’s fine. [00:17:30] A high neurotic like me has a harder
time producing serotonin. We have a longer form of this transporter
gene. We produce less serotonin and more slowly,
which means that my adrenaline and cortisol are pumping for longer than yours. If I’m in the car with you, and I’m like,
“Gosh, that driver!” You’re like, “Oh, well he didn’t hit us. We’re good now.” I’m still in adrenaline and cortisol, but
you’re calm. What happens is that we, as high neurotics,
are not as good at self soothing. [00:18:00] We tend to have reminders, external
reminders to tell us to calm down; whereas you as a low neurotic, you don’t need to see
it. You can look at it when you feel like it,
when you’re curious. You pop up on Instagram or Twitter when you
feel like it, whereas I want to have them everywhere to remind me I’m okay. Tom: Wow, that is really interesting. One of the things that I found so awesome
about your book was one, it was teaching me about myself, but two, it was teaching me
about Lisa. In the relationship, the ones where you were
like, ‘Okay, this is probably where [00:18:30] you want to be in agreement, where you’re
both like the same.’ Vanessa: Yes. Tom: ‘Then, these are the ones where you want
to balance,’ and you had talked about neuroticism and wanting to balance each other out. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: We balance each other out, so I’m really
low neurotic and she’s very high neurotic. Not in the Woody Allen way, but like the way
you’re talking about. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: Where she’s just like …
Vanessa: I get it, I know what you’re saying. Tom: She’ll go through the thousand ways that
this could go wrong and just be … have a much harder time self soothing. When you said ‘self soothing,’ that’s what’s
really interesting. Vanessa: Yeah. [00:19:00] Why it’s important to balance. You don’t have to, but there’s actually studies
that show that certain personality traits are better when they’re matching versus opposites. High neurotics get a bad rap. Everyone’s, “Ugh, they’re the worrier. They’re the one who’s always like, you know,
overthinking things.” But you actually need to have both. The reason for this is because you’re a low
neurotic, you Tom, are wonderful in a crisis. If there’s something bad happening, or you
need to get things done, you’re the one with the level head. You know it’s all going to be okay. You can stay steady the course. [00:19:30] High neurotics prevent crises from
happening in the first place. Tom: Right. Vanessa: What’s funny is high neurotics need
external reminders to keep them calm. We like to see our to-do list, or our pros
and cons. We like to have our rock nearby us at our
side. Whereas low neurotics like to have external
reminders of things they need to take care of. Tom: Yes. Vanessa: Right, because they don’t have the
internal alarm clock that’s constantly screaming at them. Tom: [crosstalk 00:19:53]
Vanessa: I joke that the piles scream at me, from the floor, because I want to get them
whereas you might not see them. Tom: I literally don’t see them. Vanessa: Don’t see them, [00:20:00] I know. Tom: I keep my regular day-to-day stuff in
my travel case, because I know if I don’t and I travel, it will never make it. I just won’t remember it. Vanessa: Yeah, yeah. That’s a workaround for you. This is what we’re talking about here is knowing
how you are wired instead of fighting it. Tom: That’s interesting, because I’m a big
believer in fight anything that doesn’t work for you, but you talk about- [crosstalk 00:20:22]
Vanessa: What if we talk about optimize? Tom: Okay. Vanessa: I think what I see a lot, and this
is with personal development. I’m a self help addict. [00:20:30] I love every personal development
book. I love self help and transformation. The problem is, is that if we feel like we
can change everything, we also might not optimize for how we are naturally wired. Tom: Interesting. Vanessa: The way that I like to think about
it is every step in the book, I teach a scientific principle. I tell a story, teach you the scientific principle,
then I give you three steps. Almost always step number one is you. Figure out how you’re wired before you work
on someone else. It’s like a flight, they always tell you put
your oxygen mask on before you fix someone else’s. Same thing. [00:21:00] Figure out your own wiring first. You figured out that you will not remember,
so by packing in that day pack, you’ve now taken out that worry, fixed that problem,
and now you don’t have to worry about it; as opposed to trying to take 15 different
classes on how to be more of a worrier. Tom: Right. Fair enough, fair enough. Vanessa: Do you know what I mean? I think that figuring out how your spouse
is wired and not trying to change them, but rather trying to set up systems in your home,
or systems for your business partner, or things for your friends to know how they’re wired. Another example is my [00:21:30] good friend,
Anna Lauren, if she’s watching. She is a worrier also. If I give her too many choices, she’ll get
choice paralysis. Instead of trying to teach her how to make
choices for herself, and go through a whole … What’s paradox of choice, lesson plan
for her, I know that if I want to go out to dinner with her, I’m better off giving her
one time and only two restaurant choices. I know that she likes to see the menu because
she’s high conscientious. If I want to go to dinner, usually I will,
[00:22:00] as an act of service, say “Hey, AL, you want to go out for dinner on Monday
at seven? I think we could do Thai, here’s the menu,
link, or we could do sushi, here’s the menu, link.” She will get back to me really fast. If not, what happens is every day she goes,
“Oh yeah, but I’m not sure about this, but what about this restaurant?” We end up rushing on the plans last minute. Tom: Is this a two way street with your friends? I mean obviously they know you, they know
what you do, so they know they’re in the matrix. Vanessa: They know they’re in the matrix,
yeah. Tom: Do you walk through them? ‘Here’s how you rate on OCEAN,’ do [00:22:30]
you show them that stuff? Vanessa: Yeah. First of all, my closest friends know. To be my friend, you know that every time
you hang out with me, it might be an experiment. Tom: You have a quote that I love, “I would
rather live in hard truth than ignorant bliss.” Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: You’re really into radical honesty. Vanessa: I am. Tom: How does that play out in your marriage? How does that play out in your friendships? Vanessa: Yeah. In my marriage, I got very lucky. I married the most honest man I ever met. He is very direct already. [00:23:00] He actually has helped me in that
just very directness. With friends, it’s hard. I had to make the choice a long time ago when
I first started this work, especially with lie detection. Lie detection is a skill that it’s a blessing
and a curse, a little bit. Just because you see inconvenient things. Right. You see things you didn’t expect to see. Tom: About yourself, or? Vanessa: No, usually about other people. I think you see … In the personality matrix,
you see things about yourself you might not like as much. [00:23:30] With lie detection, you tend to
see things about other people that you might not find as convenient. Tom: Convenient, that’s very nice. Vanessa: Yes. I find this convenient, because what happens
is, and this is what happened at the very beginning of honing this skill and leveraging
it, is I started to see friends who were not only lying to me, but lying to themselves. I had to make choice. Was I either going to have fewer high quality
friends, or less quality, but more quantity friends? This was right at that stage where I also
was trying to figure out what kind of friendships did I [00:24:00] want to have on social media? It’s the same question that we all have to
ask ourselves. I think of social media friendships like cotton
candy. I call these ‘cotton candy friendships.’ Cotton candy friendships are great. These are the people that you love seeing
at a party. You see them, “Ohh!” You do a squiggle. You’re so excited to see them. They’re also the ‘woo’ girls, you know? “Woo!” You see them and they get excited. Tom’s like, “I don’t know what that is.” Tom: I have zero ‘woo’ friends. Vanessa: That’s okay. Yeah, you get it. I’m sure you’ve seen it before. [00:24:30] They’re really fun to hang out
with. There’s not a lot of substance there. There’s not a nutrition. Tom: Right. Vanessa: You wouldn’t text them if you were
going through something hard. Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: You wouldn’t call them if something
happened to them, but it’s a fun, exciting friendship. The thing is, is you eventually need to have
a meal. Cotton candy is okay every once in a while,
but if you have too much of it, your teeth begin to rot from it. They ache from the sugar. They give a sugar headache. I think that it’s about what are the friends
that give you nutrition, like the brisket friends. Tom: Right. Vanessa: [00:25:00] Then, which of those friends
that are kind of the surface ones. That was a big decision I had to make. Tom: Now, you’ve talked about breaking up
with friends. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: How do you sculpt that garden of friendship? Vanessa: It’s so hard. I think that adult friendships is … You
know how when you’re a teenager, everyone’s talking about bullying, and cyber-bullying. I think that as adults, this adult friendship
issue is the next frontier of talking about how do we court friends? How do we build a friendship when it’s not
romantic? How do we break up with a friendship [00:25:30]
when it’s been too long? The biggest thing that happens with friendships
is they do go stale. It’s a very weird thing to say, but there
are people, … I’m sure you can think of someone in your
life where every time their number pops up on a text message, you’re like, “Ugh. It’s been a while. I better call them.” Or, you see them out of convenience, or out
of location. I think that those are the kind of friendships
that really drain you. There’s actually a study that was done on
ambivalent relationships. Tom: Yeah, this is so interesting. Vanessa: Yeah. I’m thinking about ambivalence a lot. Toxic people, [00:26:00] we get it. We all understand that we want to get rid
of toxic people. That’s more obvious. The real danger I think is the ambivalent
relationships. These ambivalent relationships are the people
where either you don’t know how you stand with them. You don’t know if they like you or not. They’re also the people where you don’t know
if you really enjoy hanging out with them or not. Have you ever had that? Tom: Yes. Vanessa: You’re like, “Is this going to be
fun? Was that fun? Is this fun?” Those are the ones that take the more energy. They’re also the more dangerous ones. Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: They tend to creep [00:26:30] in
and stay in. Tom: The whole notion of frenemies I find
really, really intriguing. This is something certainly that I had dealt
with in my life. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: It was weird to me how until I read that,
that it didn’t register why that would be so insidious. Vanessa: What the science says. They did a research study with police officers. They asked police officers to identify the
amount of toxic people in their workplace and the amount of ambivalent people. They found [00:27:00] that the police officers
who had more ambivalent relationships were sick more often, had less happiness at work,
and didn’t like their job as much. Police officers who had toxic people, … Just
think about that for a second. The reason for this is because if you have
a toxic person, boundaries are easy. They ask you to go out to lunch, and you’re
like, “No thanks.” Right? You know it’s a ‘no thanks,’ whereas if an
ambivalent person asks you out to lunch. Or, asks you to their birthday party, or asks
you to work on something, it takes this mental energy [00:27:30] where you have this thing
where you’re like, “Ugh, will it be good? Would I rather eat alone at my desk? Or, would I rather have lunch with this person?” When it’s not always easy, that’s an incredible
drain on our emotional energy. If you’re an introvert or an ambivert … An
ambivert is someone who is kind of splits between extroversion and introversion. Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: Your energy is finite, and our mental
space is finite. This is something that I did not realize until
much more recently. I thought that mental space was endless. You could learn forever. You could think about things forever; [00:28:00]
but actually, we only have a certain amount of mental time every day. If we are dedicating that to trying to figure
out if someone likes us or not, which is a very important thing. We all like to be liked, whether we admit
it or not, that I think is a waste of mental energy. Why would we want to spend it towards that? That’s why I think ambivalent people are more
dangerous. Tom: Do you have a checklist? I’m thinking back to the people that managed
to become frenemies in my own life. It’s kind of scary how long it took me to
be able to put that label on them. Vanessa: Yeah, yes. Tom: To wake up to the fact that either they
always were, or [00:28:30] the relationship had evolved to that. Vanessa: Like years, right? Tom: Years. Vanessa: I know. I don’t have a checklist. It’s actually just one simple question. Tom: All right, let’s hear it. Vanessa: Are you ever doubting that they’re
really happy for you? Tom: Wow. That cuts right to the heart of it. Vanessa: That’s it. That happens quite often. There are these people who make these very
passive aggressive comments, where you’re like, “Was that nice or was that mean?” If you’re ever questioning that, that means
they are not truly happy for you. Or, if you have a piece of really good news,
[00:29:00] a really true good friend will mirror and match that excitement with you. Someone who’s not as happy for you will come
in with dream killer questions. You know dream killers? Tom: Oh yeah. Vanessa: Yeah. Dream killer questions are when they question
your success, they doubt the success. They think about all the negatives. Dream killers are not always bad. I have dream killers in my life and I call
them when I need someone to poke holes in a business idea. I’ll pitch them, because they’re great practice. I know that they are not the people that I
go to when I have something I’m truly excited about. That’s the only question you have to ask yourself,
[00:29:30] and it might be an inconvenient truth. Don’t answer it off the cuff. Don’t answer it really quickly. Try to think of all the times in the last
six months that you’ve seen them and shared something. Did you feel like they were as happy as you
were about your happiness? Tom: Yeah. This is one of those things that has made
a big impact in my life, because you can very slowly, especially in business, find yourself
in a situation where you don’t know who to trust … and [00:30:00] maybe it’s the psychic
energy, like you were talking about, emotional energy. For me, it became a question of emotional
safety where when I know you’re my enemy, I don’t feel emotionally vulnerable; oddly
enough. Even though I know you may actively be out
to get me. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: I can handle that. Vanessa: Yeah, yeah. Tom: It’s when I’m giving you my neck, if
you will, enough and every now and then, you actually take a swipe at it. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: It’s like, “Ugh.” Vanessa: That’s when you lose sleep. Tom: Yeah. [00:30:30] Yes, literally. Vanessa: You sit in bed and you rerun all
the things they’ve said or you said. You worry about all the things that could
potentially happen. We talk about psychic energy. I actually think that we are … This is going
to sound so weird. I actually think that we pick up on more chemically
than we realize. Tom: Yeah, talk to me about that. Vanessa: Okay, so I don’t believe in psychics,
and I don’t believe in psychic energy; but I do believe that things happen beyond our
conscious awareness in this sense. There was a study that was done that looked
at [00:31:00] fear. What they did is they took participants, they
had them wear sweat pads, absorbent sweat pads, and run on the treadmill. They collected sweat from these people running
on the treadmill. Then they had participants wear sweat pads
and jump out of an airplane for a first time skydiving experience. They had sweat pads that were just treadmill
sweat pads, and they first skydiving sweat pads. Same sweat, but is it really? Then they had participants in a lab sit in
an FMRI machine, [00:31:30] so their brain was being scanned, and smell … kind of gross
… both pads. They did not know what they were smelling. They had no idea what they were smelling. They found that when participants smelled
the fear sweat pads, the skydiving sweat pads, their own fear response activated their brain. Tom: Wow. Vanessa: That means that somehow I think that
we can smell emotions. If you are with someone and they are, either
they do not mean well for you, or they are planning on taking a swipe at your neck, [00:32:00]
you somehow smell that threat. Even though consciously, your brain is going,
‘They didn’t say anything, they didn’t do anything. Their body language is okay. It seems all okay.’ The other part of your brain, the animal part
of your brain, which is firing in fear response or threat response is going, ‘No! Watch out!’ That’s what keeps you up at night is your
conscious brain wrestling with the unconscious part of your brain. I think that’s what, when we talk about being
psychic or having premonitions, I think that that’s actually what’s happening. We’re smelling or picking up on things that
we don’t even realize. Tom: Yeah, that’s crazy. [00:32:30] Just for clarity’s sake, when I
say ‘psychic energy,’ I did not mean ‘psychic’ like a psychic-psychic. I also think that’s nuts. Vanessa: Okay. Tom: That is incredibly interesting. Vanessa: I was going to add, the other aspect
of this is facial structure. Tom: Yes. Vanessa: There’s a part in the book that had
… Tom: I’m obsessed with this- [crosstalk 00:32:51]. Vanessa: Were you able to sort of see the
faces? Were you able to see them? Tom: Yes. I like to think that I’m like Jedi level at
visualizing. Vanessa: Cool, okay. Tom: Just from [00:33:00] the amount of interviewing
that I’ve done, I am totally obsessed this notion of how much … and it scares me because
I think I actually have like a … I definitely have resting bitch face. Let’s start with that. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: On top of that, when I would explain
to people what [thin slicing 00:33:16] is; “Hey, you’re walking ina dark alley and you
turn around and you see this little old lady, and she seems so sweet. You thin slice immediately, not a threat.” My brain immediately used the example, “But
if you turn around and see me, you’re going to get freaked [00:33:30] out.” I thought, ‘I have a face that I would thin
slice poorly.’ Vanessa: Oh my god. Tom: I would not thin slice myself and be
like, “What a loving, kind individual.” Vanessa: Okay, okay. Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: I don’t think you’re wrong. Tom: See, that’s what I’m saying. Vanessa: I don’t think you’re wrong. Tom: This is what you do. Vanessa: I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, I know. Tom: No, fair enough. Vanessa: Inconvenient truth. Tom: Yes. Vanessa: Let me explain why. Tom: Please. Vanessa: There is some evidence, and again,
there’s a lot of research on this, but I find it fascinating about [00:34:00] in the womb,
babies are exposed to mothers’ hormones. That could be testosterone. That could be estrogen. That could be any different variant of things. Those change or turn on different genes in
the baby. For example, if a baby was exposed to a lot
of testosterone prenatally, they’re going to develop more masculinized feature; both
men and women. We know a face is very masculine if they have
a very, very square jaw, if [00:34:30] they have the presence of stubble, if they have
flat eyebrows and/or slightly hooded eyebrows. That’s your face. Okay. Tom: Sounds wonderful. Vanessa: No, no. It’s a good thing. It’s a good thing because it’s a very masculinized
face. Tom: Right. Vanessa: That is 100% right. Tom: In the book, I have computer graphics
of incompetent faces to competent faces, not dominant faces to dominant, not competent
to competent, and then [00:35:00] I think it’s not trustworthy to trustworthy. Vanessa: Right. Tom: You fall very high on the dominance scale. If someone turned around and you were in a
back alley, you look very masculinized, which means you have a lot of testosterone and people
believe men with more testosterone are going to be more powerful, have a temper, all these
things. It’s about the shape of your jaw. It’s about the hood of your eyebrows. Then, the presence of stubble, and you wear
stubble. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: [00:35:30] This is a good thing. I think this is a good thing. Vanessa: Does it help that if the little old
lady turns around, … and I actually worry about it. I distance my …
Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: Like if I find myself and I know
this woman is going to have a heart attack if she turns around, I start slowing down,
or I’ll walk over the side and fast so she can see, “Hi!” Tom: Yeah, yeah. Vanessa: I try to do my neutral goofy face. Tom: Let me see it. How is it? Vanessa: It’s very good. Tom: It’s the arched eyebrows. I try to half smile. I [00:36:00] feel like such a dumb ass. Vanessa: No, no. Tom: But I’m like, “I have seen photos.” I used to do speech and debate in high school. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: One time, I crushed it. I was so excited. I got the review back and it was like, ‘Dude,
what is wrong? Try not to look so angry.’ I was like, “What?” I literally and so …
I readed some, and they’re like, “Yeah, dude, you like put your head down and then look
up, you look like a serial killer.” Vanessa: Yeah, yeah. Tom: I was like, “What?” Literally, I go in the bathroom, I tilt my
head down and [00:36:30] I look up. Vanessa: Oh yeah. Tom: I thought, “OH!” I’m like, “What the hell?” Vanessa: Do that to a camera, because that
is … Yeah. Tom: That’s when I realized, “Aw, man.” Vanessa: Yeah, that’s intense. I’m like, “Ha, ha, it’s fine.” Yeah, but now you know why. You know it’s the shape of your jaw and your
face. Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: What you did is perfect. You optimized how you were naturally wired. Okay, right? Show me your … what did you call it? Your goofy silly face? Tom: My goofy neutral face. Vanessa: Can I see your goofy neutral face
again? Okay, [00:37:00] you were right. Okay, can I explain why this works. Tom: Please. Vanessa: From a center of professional … Okay,
so when we raise our eyebrows up, it is the universal sign of interest or engagement. For example, if I were in a bar and go … you
would know what I meant. Tom: Right. Vanessa: If I were to be listening and be
like, “Oh,” you would know that means I am literally trying to see more. Tom: Right. Vanessa: It’s the implication of that. With your eyebrows up, it changes the shape
of that hooded look. When you’re like this, this is a very high
testosterone … when your [00:37:30] eyebrows are hooded. When you push them up, not only does it show
openness, engagement, curiosity, say ‘hi,’ it also takes away the hooding. You also slightly opened your mouth a little
bit. That also softens your jaw. In a way, that takes your face and just makes
it more open. I think that this is something … I think
that this is actually a very good thing because I think it’s part of the reason why you were
so successful. Tom: Wow. Vanessa: We like people who are very powerful,
who have high testosterone. We like it from both men and women. Your look [00:38:00] shows intensity. It shows strength. It shows power. Never be angry at how you are wired, your
genetics, how your face looks, because that is I think a huge contributor to your success. I feel that way with everyone. We all have things about our face, about our
personality, about our body, that we don’t like. I think that if we can frame it as this has
been an aspect or can be an aspect of our success, that’s extremely important. For example, I also have resting bitch face. Can I critique myself? Tom: Please, yes. Vanessa: Like I was critiquing you? So I should critique myself [00:38:30] as
well. I have resting bitch face and the reason for
this is because my features angle downwards. At rest, this is me at rest. I just look terrible, right? I’m just like, “Ugh.” I’m bored, and I’m upset. That is because my lips, when they’re at rest,
angle slightly downwards, and my eyes also angle slightly downwards. Even if I’m totally neutral, I angle down;
so I know that I can look very, very serious. That has also helped me because I am a science
researcher. [00:39:00] It’s very important for me to look
like I am taking things seriously, as I am. Tom: Right. Vanessa: When I want to be more on or engaged,
you’ll notice that I actually do my makeup a very specific way. I don’t know if you can see my makeup. Tom: Yeah, you angle up. Vanessa: I angled up. Tom: Yup. Vanessa: I also put my shadow a little bit
above my brow bone, a little bit above my eye to bring my eyes up. Tom: Right. Vanessa: That is because I know that’s going
to make me look a little happier, a little less sad, a little less intense. This is something that I know about myself,
but I don’t think that that’s a bad thing. It just means that I know I have to counteract
[00:39:30] a little bit. Tom: All right, so I want to go back to radical
honesty. Vanessa: Yes. Tom: What does that look like? What are you actually saying to your friends
in particular? Vanessa: This means that instead of making
up an excuse, I will just tell them the real reason I don’t want to do something. For example, a good friend of mine was like,
“Hey, I have this networking event that I’m throwing. It’s with a bunch of women in Oregon.” I live in Portland. “You should definitely come and do a little
speaking thing, and it will be really great.” Instead of me saying, “Oh, I’m really busy,”
[00:40:00] or “I don’t have time for it right now;” I was like, “Hey, I do terribly at really
big loud networking events. You don’t want me there. I get really anxious. Like it’s really hard for me. Is there any way that we could do a luncheon
instead, where we’re around a table where we can talk in a more quiet environment?” Instead of making some excuse, I actually
will tell them the real reason why I do or don’t want to do something, and then we try
to work around it. Tom: What does that look like at work? Vanessa: At work. We have a wonderful team. [00:40:30] We’re about six people in our lab,
and then we have 120 science people trainers. Our trainers are body language trainers, and
they do my curriculum. They’re in different cities around the world. Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: Basically what this means is we have
a very direct task management system. I think that it’s incredibly important with
your team to A) know their personality matrix. I know everyone on my team, their personality
matrix, and also how they like to receive feedback, and how they like to brainstorm. For example, let’s say that I have an idea
and I want to do a big brainstorming session. I like to brainstorm [00:41:00] out loud,
but I know that two of my team members do not. They might say to me, if we’re in a big brainstorming
sessions. I’m like, “Any ideas, any ideas?” It’s crickets. They would say to me, and they would have
complete permission to do, “Hey Vanessa, would there be any way that you could write down
these ideas, give us about a week to kind of prepare something, and then we could get
back together next Friday. I’m not really ready to brainstorm right now.” Instead of having a really lame, drawn out
50 minute session where no one’s really throwing around any ideas. It’s a much faster [00:41:30] way to speak
to our natural orientations in the workplace around our team. Tom: Talk to me about identifying primary
values and what they are so that you know how to better deal with people. Vanessa: Yeah. I was always fascinated by motivation, in
the workplace especially. How do you motivate a partner? How do you motivate a colleague? How do you appeal to their interests? I talk about this in the book a little bit. I always thought that with colleagues, the
biggest motivation was money: salary, [00:42:00] perks, bonuses. I thought that was sort of most of the reason
why you work. You hopefully work for a little bit of passion
as well, but you’re getting sort of to try to pay the bills. I had one of my employees who was doing an
amazing job, and I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to give her a raise and a bonus. She’s been doing such a good job.’ I had to move around some things budget-wise,
but I really wanted to show her how appreciative I was. We get together and I say, “I’m so excited,
[Imen 00:42:27]. I would love to give you a raise and a bonus.” She was like, “Thanks.” [00:42:30] I was like, “That’s it?” Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: “That’s all?” Then I discovered this research on resource
theory. Resource theory says that every interaction,
every relationship is a transaction. I know that sounds really terrible, but actually
it’s a very honest, a very radically honest way of looking at relationships. There are six different resources that we
all give and take. These are different in the love languages. This is resources. One of them is money, and that’s the one that
we think about a lot. We talk about it a [00:43:00] lot. What I found out is this particular employee,
her primary value was actually status. Tom: How’d you find that out? Vanessa: When I realized she was sort of,
… she had a lackluster response. She was like, ‘Oh, thanks.’ Tom: Literally, you do the thing, lackluster
response. You’re feeling a little …
Vanessa: I feel terrible. I actually feel terrible, because I went out
of the way to make budget for her. Tom: Right. Vanessa: I also really wanted to thank her
for her amazing work. When she was not happy, I was like-
Tom: But you had read through, not [00:43:30] the lie, but she was saying ‘thank you, yay.’ Vanessa: Negative non-verbal I was seeing. When we’re talking about non-verbal, there’s
either micro-advantages or micro-negatives. Tom: Micro-advantages? Vanessa: Micro-advantages or micro-negatives. Tom: Can you give me an example? Vanessa: Yeah. A micro-advantage is if you ask a good question,
I would be like nodding. I’d smile. I’d be like, “Oh, that’s great.” I’d widen my eyebrows. Those are all micro-advantages I’m giving
you to say ‘I love that question.’ Tom: Okay. Vanessa: A micro-negative, this is what you
probably pick up on without realizing it, are all the things that people do when they
don’t like a question. [00:44:00] Maybe they lean back. Maybe they make a ‘mmm’ face. Tom: Right. Vanessa: Maybe they pinch their eyebrows together. Maybe they crinkle their nose up at you. Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: They might turn their head away and
bite their nails. Those are all micro-negatives. I noticed that she wasn’t showing any micro-advantages
and a couple of micro-negatives, which is the exact opposite of what you would expect
if you just told someone that they got a raise. Tom: Yeah, yeah. Vanessa: I felt terrible. I felt terrible also because I was aware that
she was unhappy. Tom: Did you notice it right there and then? Vanessa: Right there and then. Right [00:44:30] in the moment. Tom: She’s like, ‘Oh, yay.’ Vanessa: Now that I hopefully just taught
that to you guys, I’m very curious if you now start seeing them right away. The nice thing about body language is it doesn’t
take a long time. Once you know what to look for, you see it
all the time. I noticed it right away. I was like, “Oh, okay. Well, it will be in your next month’s paycheck. You know, I’m just so grateful. Thank you so much for all your hard work. I really appreciated your work.” She’s like, “Oh yeah, it was my pleasure. I love the Science of People.” Okay, we’re good; but I felt terrible because
I was worried that she didn’t like her job. I was like, ‘What [00:45:00] else could be
the reason? What else could be the reason?’ I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, she’s thinking about
quitting.’ My neuroticism went crazy. My neuroticism was like, ‘She’s going to quit. She hates me. She hates the Science of People.’ I went all the way down that route. When I stumbled upon this study that maybe
… I was looking into motivation. I was reading a white paper on employee engagement
and employee motivation, because I was worried about losing her. I found this resource theory. I was like, ‘Wait a minute. Status.’ I started to think back to the times when
she showed a lot of micro-advantages. [00:45:30] One of the times was when we created
an about our team page, and I put pictures of each person on the page. She was so excited. She was like, “OH I’m going to go get a new
headshot. I can’t wait.” She showed me like 15 head shots. She’s like, “Which one has the best body language?” She was so excited. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but
I was like, ‘I wonder if that’s status.’ I had a meeting with her and I said, radically
honest, “I offered you a raise last month because I’m so appreciative of your work. I don’t know if that [00:46:00] was what you
wanted. Is that what you wanted? Is that … If I want to show you how grateful
I am for you, what way can I do that for you here at work?” She said, “Actually, you know, I really have
been wanting a director role.” I said, “Great. Let’s talk about a director role. Let’s get you on a plan where we look at titles.” I didn’t realize that there was all these
other things like putting her name on the website, putting her in more YouTube videos
with me. I didn’t realize that that was actually a
huge give and so easy for me to give, because I am so grateful for her. [00:46:30] For me, it was like I was so thankful
that we were able to get, very quickly, very honestly to what her value was. I think this is the big challenge is figuring
out yours, and then also trying to figure out every single person that you work with,
including your friends and family. Tom: What’s interesting, though, is the biggest
shock for me from your book was how I felt like I had never categorized myself in such
a clear way. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: What do you do when the person doesn’t
know? Vanessa: Yeah. [00:47:00] You are their decoder. I think that is the most fun role that we
can play in life. If you have someone who is not as self aware,
like they don’t know. They hadn’t thought about it that way, you
get this amazing gift of being able to unlock for and with them. I think that’s a lot of responsibility, but
I think that is one of the most amazing gifts we can give our fellow human beings. What I would do if I were you is I would go
through the series of [Arthur Aaronson 00:47:26], ’34 Questions Every Couple Should Answer.’ [00:47:30] This is a really interesting study
that this researcher wanted to find out how we get to love. He found that there are three different tiers
of relationships. In the first phase of a relationship, we’re
just trying to figure out interests. It’s like, ‘Do you like that? I like that, too. What’s your hobby?’ And personality traits. That’s the first level. That’s also why I built the first level of
the matrix to be personality. The second level are values, which is why
the next levels are around appreciation levels and values. You’re trying to figure out where does this
person? What [00:48:00] do they mean? What do they stand for? The last one is how you relate to them, like
how your relationships can match up. He developed a set of 34 questions to ask
to take you through all three levels through just these questions alone. We actually have a list of them. I can send you a list of them and we can do
them together if you want, one day. You actually go through each of these questions,
and they will take you through not only you getting to know yourself, but also them doing
a self exploratory exercise. It is the most [00:48:30] amazing two, three,
five hours you will ever spend with someone going through these questions. That’s I think how we guide someone to self
know themselves. Tom: That would be amazing. We should put a link to that in the show notes. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: That would be really incredible. Vanessa: If you can, it’s amazing to do them
all in one session, but it’s a lot; especially if you have someone who’s more introverted. I think it’s very important to respect people’s
natural orientations. If someone is an introvert, that means they’re
going to use less words in the average day. It means they’re more private and it means
they like to think through their answers [00:49:00] before saying them. Extroverts usually don’t want, don’t need
any thinking time before they share. In fact, they tend to verbalize out loud. They verbalize outwardly. If you have an introvert, I would highly recommend
sending the questions ahead of time so they can think about them. It’s a nice way to respect their personality,
and/or doing a few at a time. Tom: I love that. Vanessa: Yeah. Tom: What’s one thing that people typically
don’t know about themselves that you think everybody should know about themselves? Vanessa: Actually, it’s something we briefly
touched on earlier but didn’t get to talk about, how [00:49:30] you self sooth. Everyone should know two aspects of self soothing. The first is when you are in anxiety, whether
you’re a high neurotic or a low neurotic, do you like to worry outward? Do you verbalize your worry, or do you shut
down and close down? When I’m very worried, I like to be alone
with my journal. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I just want to think about it myself; whereas
other people like to worry with others. They like to talk through their worry, and
that makes them feel calm. [00:50:00] That’s the first thing is how do
you worry? Do you worry alone, or do you worry with others? That’s going to be very important so that
if you’re in one of those really terrible low points. We all hit those points. You know exactly which direction you need
to do. Is it out to drinks with friends? Do you have your brigade that you call, or
is it home with a journal and a big glass of wine? Those are two very different paths. That’s the first thing. The second thing is how can the people in
your life help you self sooth? This might be more of a gender thing, I don’t
[00:50:30] know. A lot of females, a lot of women in my life,
when they’re very, very anxious, they don’t know how to ask for help; both logistically
and emotionally. Tom: What do you mean? How do you logistic …
Vanessa: There’s two ways of asking for help, and maybe my women in the room will kind of
… this feels familiar. Tom: So intriguing. Vanessa: Yeah, okay so when a woman is upset
about something, and some men, too, usually there’s a logistical issue. Let’s say that it’s in-laws coming for the
weekend, [00:51:00] and they get very stressed out. Tom: Okay. Vanessa: There’s logistical issues, but there’s
also emotional issues. They are different. They’re very different. Tom: In the in-law example, if they’re coming,
that’s the logistical. Vanessa: Yes. Tom: The emotional is “my mother-in-law makes
me feel this way.” Vanessa: Actually, we’ll break it down even
more closely. Logistical: got to get the guest room ready,
got to do all the sheets, got to primp the towels. Got to clean the house so my father-in-law
doesn’t critique it. Those are logistical worries. Tom: All things that I think about once he
starts critiquing it and they’re already in the house, so yeah; but I’m with you. Vanessa: Yeah, yeah. Women are all thinking [00:51:30] about that
way ahead of time. Tom: That is so right. Vanessa: Yup. Then the four emotional worries might be how
to make sure that they actually like the house, how to make sure that we’re all going to get
along this weekend, how to make sure that we bring up that issue about health that we
really need to talk about, and how do we make sure that we actually have a relaxing weekend
and it’s actually a good time? Those are eight issues that usually come up
around everything, and there’s all different issues; but they are totally different ways
that we self sooth. Logistical, who do you ask [00:52:00] for
help and how do you ask for help? Is it going to your husband or your kids,
or your best friend? For emotional issues, do you want to take
a few moments, take a few hours, meditate, do your thing, go for a run, eat really healthy
that day to get yourself in the right mind space; or, do you want to go out with friends,
have a really blow out night, and work out all your anxiety before they come? If you don’t know that, you are going to set
yourself up for failure. You’re also setting up the people in your
life for failure. The biggest [00:52:30] mistake that I think
couples fight about, they have the same fights over and over again, is they need to ask for
help, but they have no idea how to ask for it. By the way, if you don’t go through this,
that’s how you get complete breakdowns. Tom: Because it’s just bottling it up. Vanessa: Right. Tom: They don’t know where to go and how they
deal with it. Vanessa: That’s how you get someone who’s
yelling and running around before everyone shows up to try to get things fixed, when
actually they’re really worried about the emotional stuff. Tom: The questions that you just walked us
through are the questions they should be asking themselves. Vanessa: Yes. Very specifically, [00:53:00] whatever it
is, and you do this when you’re in a point of calm, not when you’re already in the worry. Tom: Yeah. Vanessa: How do I worry? Do I worry out loud? Do I worry by myself? Who can help me, and how can they help? What are the differences between my emotional
and logistical worries, because they are different. If we know that about ourselves, we can then
ask for help in better ways and it sets up everyone in our life for a much more harmonious
relationships. Tom: Yeah, that’s fantastic. Most of what we’ve talked about today is in
your book, [00:53:30] which is amazing. Read this book. There’s one thing that I’ve heard you mention,
which is a two year study you’re doing on happiness, which you didn’t talk about in
the book. Vanessa: Didn’t, yeah. Tom: Do you have any nuggets that you’re ready
to talk about? Vanessa: Yes. I have been researching happiness for a long
time. That is because I have always been intrigued
by my own happiness levels. I felt like I always had a base point, like
I always felt like I was at a set point, and I couldn’t go two points above or two points
below that set point. I wanted to know if there was ways to hack
happiness. [00:54:00] We’ve been studying happiness for
the past two or three years at our lab. I think the most important thing that I have
learned so far, and I’m going to put out more research on this, is this idea of learned
helplessness. There’s this horrible study. It was done by Martin Seligman. It’s horrible. Can I share it? Tom: Yeah, yeah. I know the study well. Vanessa: Okay, yeah. This study took dogs and it put the dogs into
a cage with a mat that just very lightly shocked them. The dogs would get on the mat, and it would
shock them. Very unpleasant [00:54:30] experience. They put them in these cages with these shocking
mats, and then they changed the cage so that there was a space next to the mats. The dog could move off the mat. The problem is that the dogs who had been
on the shocking mat for a long time just gave up. They never went off the mat. In fact, they just sat and took the shocks,
even though they could move off the mat. Whereas the dogs that didn’t ever see the
mat before immediately jumped off the mat and went to the place that didn’t get the
shocks. The idea of this is that we end up learning
about our helplessness. When it comes [00:55:00] to happiness, we
might have learned a pattern in college or in childhood, or in our 20s, or when we were
broke, when we were out of a job, or whatever that was. Even though the mat’s not there anymore, even
though the shocks aren’t there anymore, we stay in the same position because that’s how
we’ve always learned to be. When it comes to happiness, way more than
personality, way more than decoding people, I think that we can absolutely change our
entire happiness orientation. I think we can unlearn our helplessness to
learn to help ourselves. Tom: [00:55:30] That sounds amazing. When are you going to start putting stuff
out on that? Vanessa: I have one course on that already. It’s called ‘The Power of Happiness.’ It’s 10 different steps that we’ve just started
learning about. I will give one just to start off with right
now. It’s this: it’s called the skill, the chart
of happiness. We end up thinking that happiness comes with
the big vacation once a year, or the big blow-out things once every month. We don’t realize that actually happiness in
these [00:56:00] very, very small moments, every day. Actually that is those are the happiness moments
we have to savor. What I highly recommend is for the next few
days, sit down, and make a chart of everything that you do in your life, down to making a
steaming hot cup of coffee, down to going for a run, down to doing laundry. Then, I want you to rank each of those things
on how happy they make you. I don’t mean like happiness like euphoric. Tom: Sure. Vanessa: I mean like happiness like content
with [00:56:30] your life. Like, ‘I am content doing this.’ I know this sounds crazy, but even like laundry
or cooking, something that we often think of as a chore, can provide a certain amount
of contentedness if you look at it that way. So rate all of those skills, and then I want
you to count up the number of hours you spend on each of those skills every day. What you’ll end up finding is you end up doing
what I call happy math. Happy math is basically looking at the fact
that we end up spending the majority of our week, 90% of our week, doing tasks that rank
as a one, [00:57:00] or two, or three; not very happy on the happy scale. We end up having these really small, once
a week moments where we’re actually happy. Really, they’re these small little moments. It’s having that amazing cup of coffee, or
taking in your view from your window, or whatever. These little small things. Those minutes add up, and I think it’s about
slowly hacking how can you add in more and more of those minutes? Here’s another tip on the happiness stuff
that I just realized would be a really easy one to try. I talked about these little moments of [00:57:30]
happiness. There’s also these little moments of unhappiness
that as humans, we cannot help but infect our entire life. You know how when you’re sitting at a red
light, and you literally question your entire existence? Is that anyone? Does that ever happen to anyone? Tom: Sure. Vanessa: Yeah. You’re sitting at a red light, and you’re
like, “Why do I sit in traffic? Why do I drive to work? Why do I do what I work? Why am I doing this? Maybe I should quit my job. Maybe I should move to Hawaii. Maybe I shouldn’t have a car.” That’s what happens. One of the hacks that I have found and works
really well is taking those small moments [00:58:00] and turning them into what I call
‘gratitude totems.’ A totem is like a symbol, or something to
remind you of something. I have a red light by my house that I get
stopped at every single day. It doesn’t even matter what time of day, and
I used to yell at this red light. I would curse at it. Then I realized, “Wait a minute. This light causes me so much unhappiness.” I have such a hard time being grateful. Every Oprah magazine ever says ‘Be more grateful.’ Who has time to be grateful? Like no one has time to do that. But [00:58:30] now I have time, so whenever
I am stopped at that red light, for the entire red light I think about every single thing
I’m grateful for. Now, I get upset if I do not hit because I
know that every time I pull up to that red light, I have a minute and a half just to
think about all the things I’m grateful for. Check, I got my gratitude off. I feel nice and good. I flipped a very unhappy moment for me that
makes me question driving, cars, and my life, and turned it into something that actually
makes me very appreciative. Tom: That is brilliant. Vanessa: [00:59:00] Yeah. Tom: All right, where can these guys find
you online? Vanessa: Everything is at That’s our lab, and we do experiments. Come play in our lab. We always have experiments running. We love for people to … I think right now,
we’re doing a vocal power quiz. I know. Yeah, I’m not going to tell you what it is,
but you have to go check it out. It’s very cool. We are just very appreciative for all of your
support and comments, so if you have any feedback, let me know. Tom: Awesome. Last question, what is the impact that you
want to have on the world? Vanessa: I want to wake people [00:59:30]
up. I think that my entire job is to try to get
people out of zombie-ing through social interactions. I think a lot of the times, we have conversations
on autopilot. We interact with people on social scripts. My one goal, the impact I wish I could have,
is to wake people up out of their social interactions so they actually have quality conversations
and quality interactions, and not just quantity. Tom: That’s amazing. Vanessa, thank you so much for coming to the
show. Vanessa: Thank you. Tom: [01:00:00] Guys, let me tell you, this
is somebody that you are going to want to dive deeply into. Like I said earlier, when I started the book,
I was doing it to make sure that I understood the content so that I could come on and do
a great interview. It so carried me away. I literally wanted to say ‘captivate’ there,
but that seems too obvious. It is literally captivating. The book about becoming captivating will arrest
you. It will stop you because every bit of it,
and I felt like the book was trying to teach me a lot about other people, but it was [01:00:30]
teaching me so much about myself. I am somebody that obsessively thinks about
self awareness, and where I’m at, and what I understand about myself, and my natural
impulses, and what can be overcome, and what’s not worth fighting? This book broke everything down and made it
all so easy to understand. If you really want to have a good time, drop
her name into YouTube and just watch the videos, one after the other, after the other. It is the closest thing to being able to literally
… just let something auto-play every video that it selects that I have ever come across,
she is so good at explaining these incredibly [01:01:00] useful ways that humans are. You will find it infinitely useful in all
of the relationships in your life. It is going to make you better. It is going to make your relationships better. It is insane. I cannot recommend it enough, so please, guys,
dive into that one. This is a weekly show, so if you haven’t already,
be sure to subscribe. Until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. Vanessa: Wait!
Tom: Hey everybody, thanks so much for joining us for another episode of Impact Theory. [01:01:30] If this content is adding value
to your life, our one ask is that you go to iTunes, and Stitcher, and rate and review. Not only does that help us build this community,
which at the end of the day is all we care about; but it also helps us get even more
amazing guests on here to share their knowledge with all of us. Thank you guys so much for being a part of
this community. Until next time, be legendary, my friends.

100 thoughts on “How to Liberate Yourself from Social Anxiety | Vanessa Van Edwards on Impact Theory

  1. I skipped to the end of the video just to see if they squiggle hugged and after an hour of talking she remembered omg. What a legend, although they didnt physically hug, she mouthed it. Pretty sure they squiggle hugged though off camera

  2. Stop interviewing these ebook writing Ted X talking social media marketing hacks and interview some actual successful people Tom.

  3. Love love love this chic. New favorite teacher for sure. Bout to auto play her channel. Thanks Tom & IT. GREAT VIDEO!! ✊🏽✊🏽

  4. Hello there, I want to know if Atoractove Secrets, will really work for me? I notice lots of people keep on talking about this popular anxiety method.

  5. I wonder if she talk like that in the real world, like with friends or casual people in the shop. She seems a bit over the top, just a bit.

  6. I loved everything about the video but to mislead us right from the start with that tittle it’s like should I start thinking every video you post is click hate and question what I will be actually listening to 🤦‍♀️

  7. LOVE VANESSA! Any updates on where we can get our hands on 34 questions that every couple should ask and answer.. please and thanks in advance !

  8. But isnt this like judging people based on their facial reactions and forming a perception about them? Where does consciousness come in picture?

  9. maim why you seems physically exposed most of the time either as much i see you maim your lower body flesh and tone of the same is looking so fresh …could you give me breaking point as well should i understand just let me know your nose as well tongue is seems so focused and pink respectively…
    you know maim…+
    i personally feel less confident before mindful ladies especially so maim how to play in the same situations
    + maybe million of your facial expression and controlling every time you , 'maim + strong eyes a ,lovely maim + maim your teeth is great its near to transparent maybe you have worked on the same speech a lot …+
    maim what is the driving force maim,because you are not doing the same for people generally do …+
    maim the game +
    maim i would love to know more about planning for people in advance ,maim its a good piece of information that you mentioned that you are married and its maybe a good point to get challenged to take a mature decision over own emotions As you see that …maybe i want to say its so productive but i ….+ maim what is your height >>>>>maim the person do such question what is he potentially want to talk about its obvious not the same so how you control such frame and now here mine favorite part how should i attract such personalities for fun or so purpose+
    main on 36:54 i love your full character this is the same expression maybe for month gonna last here ….completely maim i love it call me some day….+ maim on 37:35 you seems like the girl i do usually avoid anyway maim do need to work on myself but on what ….,let me know bcuz love to +
    maim you mentioned on 38:00 not to get anger on genetics ,looks and wired :"wired" define it how it works in the same context and you mentioned not to get anger on particular things but how to look anger and if situation is against you how you leverage by using same maim , maim you kn9ow what few of the fantastic lady i ever get amongst them is you …i …..
    + maim let me just control you, 'because your flesh and killing instinct say a verbal martyr you are i am not gonna win near by future so lets be natural ….wish you remember me ….
    and i hate to do same from mine side but hooked ……

  10. Huh. Where I'm from, patting on the shoulder has always been merely an expression of support or compassion. Sometimes it is used in a congratulatory manner, sometimes gently teasingly, but I've never seen it used in demeaning fashion. It is a very fatherly gesture, I think. I don't want my dentist or an acquaintance to do it, but I appreciate it from family.

  11. Tom, you are amazing and I have to thank you for all of the amazing content you provide and for the efforts you take to bring Impact Theory to the world. I have watched all of your videos and every single one has had an impact in my life (yes, pun intended). I will also say that out of every video you've put up, this one has intrigued me the most. To watch this interview have such an impact on you personally (your reactions and participation are priceless), gives way to me being even more attentive and intrigued with the content. Vanessa is a gift and I will be devouring all of her conent starting immediately! Impact Theory is slowly and methodically pulling me from the matrix. From the bottom of my heart Tom, I thank you!

  12. Where can we find about the 34 questions?

    Nvm found it, type in Arthur aron's 34 questions. They are fantastic.

  13. Haha I just packed food, gym, and clothes into my trunk as I'm listening to this. 🙂 Have to work around how I am naturally!

  14. What is the best way to eliminated my social anxiety for good with natural and fast ways? I read plenty of good opinions on the net about how Atoractove Secrets will help you completely cure your anxiety. Has anyone tested out this popular social anxiety secrets?

  15. Great interview. Maybe change the title of the video. While I greatly enjoyed the content, the way the discussion was led, it did not feel like this was the main topic and so it can feel like you missed something.

    Fun, informative interview.

    I love the workplace honestly. Wish people could understand how much energy you save by simply being honest. You can be honest without being rude. Its the best way to live if people would embrace it.

  16. This was such a great, eye opening interview! I can't wait to look into Vanessa's additional work. Honestly, I have been trying to work on myself and improve my relationships and adjust toxic ones as well, and what she has said here, really hit home! So, towards the end you mentioned your goal/mission is to wake people up, you're right on track.

  17. Guys. completely eliminated your social anxiety doesn't need to be hard (I used to think it did). I'll give you some tips right now. Look for a popular anxiety method called Atoractove Secrets (do a google search). Thanks to it I have eliminated my social anxiety for good with natural and fast ways. I probably should not even be talking about it cause I don't want a lot of other guys out there running exactly the same game but whatever. I'm just simply in a great mood right now and so I will share the wealth lol.

  18. 47:26 It is Arthur Aron, not Arthur Aaronson. And 36 questions, not 34, for those that wanted a link to it;

  19. It s interesting hearing your last tactic of turning the moment at red light to be positive experience, I ve been doing a similar thing too. I often get frustrated with long constant red light stops or slow drivers, but i ve changed these negative moments to be my opportunities of the day for me to remind me to breath deeply into my stomach and meditate or at least to relax. It turns out you do have many opportunities to relax and meditate during the day, who would think :-)!!!

  20. What is Atoractove Secrets and how does it work? I hear most people completely stop their social anxiety with this popular anxiety method.

  21. About the ambivalent friends thing… Its good if you have those friends who get excited for you and are truly happy for you every time, but no one is perfect. You’ll find flaws in them too. You can be friends with whoever you want, but sometimes we only have a few friends in our life at the time and even the ambivalent friends we can be grateful for. It’s we who choose to be stressed or not. We can just choose to be more forthright with those ambivalent friends about when we’ll see them or talk to them and when we do have time for them we can still enjoy their company. And sometimes you can’t control a situation but that is life and in that situation you make the best out of it

  22. For some reason I kept thinking she looked and sounded like Lady Gaga. Like, if Lady Gaga put on a normal outfit and makeup. LOL. I know if I put them side by side it wouldn't be a true doppelganger. Anyway, huge social anxiety problems. Some of them are starting to abate a little after healing from chronic illness. Loved the interview. I'll have to read the book sometime or see if it's on Audible.

  23. Don’t pat , he said he pats all the time , he must be a wanker, absolute typical bullshit , over analyse and talk shit ,

  24. Hey guys! Me and my sister are a small YouTube channel and we talk about a variety of topics including anxiety, depression, life as a college student, etc. Just wanted to put myself out there as I am looking to build our audience with people who can relate to these topics! Please check us out and subscribe if you are interested, we would appreciate it so much! Thanks in advance! 🙂

  25. Surely people who feel like they have a lot of ambivalent relationships could be down to their own insecurity?

    I have very strong social anxiety and as such I feel like almost all of my relationships are ambivalent. I never know where I stand with people because I'm constantly worrying and overthinking it. If I cut out all of these relationships I basically wouldn't have any friends left.

    It seems as though her analysis isn't actually allowing for people who have strong social anxiety and are prone to misinterpreting other people's words and actions in a negative way.

  26. Very good topic !!! thanks !!! " the more i worry about it the less likely it would happen haha very funny !!! But i can relate especialy the pros & cons list . Cheers from France

  27. Thank you so much Tom for having Vanessa on your show. I paused the video part way through and bought her book off Amazon. Looking forward to the read. 😊

  28. Wow, I think that this is going to change my life. I'm only on my 5th Impact Theory episode, so like, I don't know exactly how many more times I will say that statement, but for me I feel like that a lot in my life are going to start to make sense once I understand the science of deciphering human behavior.

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