Similarities Empower

Barbra teaches psychology in an elite college. This summer, she’s doing something different. She’s teaching poetry to high-school kids – many of whom can barely put a sentence together.

She rejected the idea of a textbook. I don’t know the full approach, but she did share that she showed videos of amazing poetry from youngsters who look “just like them.” She said these rowdy teens get so quiet you could hear a pin drop when when she plays the videos. She also noted that they are beginning to find their voices.

That reminded me of how when I helped someone who wears a lot of plaids through a very touch transition, I pulled out my plaids. She commented on my clothes every day – and I swear, she was more open to me than I’ve known her to be before. 

I didn’t put on a front. I emphasized a part of me that is like her. And that helped us connect.

People tend to trust people who look like them. If it helps you get through to someone, why not emphasize similarities?


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