I heard this story about Bill Murray once. Apparently he was alone in an elevator at a hotel when a guy got on and recognized him. The man stood uncomfortably quiet as the elevator made its way down to the lobby. Finally, the man looked over at Bill Murray and said he was a fan and it was a pleasure to meet him. Bill just nodded and smiled and then continued to look forward. The fan looked rather apologetic and when the doors opened in the lobby walked sheepishly out of the elevator. The two of them walked out of the hotel, the fan one way and Bill Murray the other. Then, suddenly, Bill Murray turned and ran toward the man, tackling him into the flower bed. Murray sat up, pointed at the man and said You will never, ever forget this and then got up and ran away.
I love that story. It got me thinking, though, what really makes a great first impression? I mean what kind of people are truly memorable?
The best answer I came up with was this: I remember people best when they, somehow, make me feel good about myself. I’m not talking about flattery, because that leads to distrust. And I’m not talking about compliments, either, because they are so often (though not always) given in exchange for something, like will you read my book?
People who make me feel good about myself are the ones who tend to value people not because of what they’ve done or what they offer, but simply because I’m a human being. I think, in a way, they tap into a part of us that longs for God, who will not care what we’ve accomplished.
How do they value me as a human? They listen. They ask questions. They do not want anything in exchange. They express how good it was to get to know me.
What’s even better about meeting people like this is it makes me want to be one of them. Memorable, indeed.