Dr. Jack Schafer is a psychologist, professor, intelligence consultant, and former FBI Special Agent. He spent 15 years conducting counter-intelligence and counterterrorism investigations, and seven years as a behavioral analyst for the FBI’s National Security Behavioral Analysis Program. Jack is currently a professor with the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice at Western Illinois University. He is also a contributor for Psychology Today, and has authored and co-authored several books, including his most recent release, “The Like Switch.”
In this interview, Jack first discusses what he learned about body language and human behavior during his time in the FBI. We ask Jack how people can build a connection. He talks about nonverbals, and walks us through the three basic friend signals: the eyebrow flash, head tilt, and smile. Then he talks about the verbals, including empathic statements and flattery, and provides some examples. Jack also reveals the golden rule of friendship. He goes on to describe mirroring, and explains how to test for rapport when interacting with someone.
For people who are shy, Jack gives advice on how to fill the dead spots in a conversation. He talks about how to build rapport, and explains the concept of common ground. He discusses the three ways to establish common ground: contemporaneous, temporal, and vicarious. Jack then talks about the different ways people seek relationships. He offers some effective strategies for meeting new friends and dates, and how to draw people to you rather than forcing yourself to go out. We ask Jack how people can recognize if their attempts to connect are being reciprocated.
Next, Jack discusses how to prevent anxiety from getting in the way of building a connection. He explains how anxiety affects our mind and body language, and actually causes us to display foe signals. He provides tips for managing our own anxiety, as well as what to say to reduce someone else’s anxiety. From there, we ask Jack how to build deeper connections. He talks about the friendship formula, and emphasizes the importance of keeping up the intensity in a relationship. He also describes additional strategies, such as empathic statements, mirroring, and novelty.
Jack goes into more detail on the role that mirroring plays in different phases of a relationship. He explains how mirroring becomes subconscious in longer term relationships. He also talks about how scary or emotional experiences build trust and strengthen bonds. Jack emphasizes the importance of nurturing shared experiences, trying new things, and reminiscing. Chris and Jack then discuss the human need for acceptance and how to come to terms with the fact that not everyone will like us.
Finally, we ask Jack how people can repair a relationship that’s drifting apart. He revisits the friendship formula, and describes four ways to strengthen a relationship: proximity, frequency, duration, and intensity. He also touches on the Ben Franklin effect, and how doing a favor for someone makes you feel good about yourself. As a last piece of advice, Jack reminds us to always focus on making the other person’s life better.
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