This is from a series of 6 articles written to help those new to Hawaii and visitors understand the subtlety of local culture.  Especially when it comes to social interaction.  “Aloha” is alive and well on the Islands.  Tune in and take the time to understand the subtle, but I think, cool differences in these tight social networks.  

Articles in the Living in Hawaii 6 part series:

  1. How to Make New Friends in Hawaii
  2. Some of the best ways to make new friends in Hawaii
  3. Shut up and don’t be so haole
  4. It’s all about them and not you
  5. House party etiquette
  6. Leaving your shoes outside

It’s not about you

You’ll have to resist the natural temptation to talk about yourself while keeping it all real. Here are some really simple things to follow.

Make it about them

You’re being given a peek at the inside circle, so what you want to do here at our mythical house party is learn about your new friends. The only thing here you have to prove is that you aren’t a typical mainland haole and that’s admittedly a pretty low bar. Here’s a very simple rule of thumb:

If they are talking, they are getting closer to you. If you are talking, they are looking to find reasons to drop you. Which do you think is better? Of course, you want your friends talking. What’s the easiest way to keep your friends talking? Make it all about them.

Another characteristic of most people is that in addition to the fact that we’re not too self-aware of our flaws is that we also do like to talk about ourselves. We’re somewhat interested in the other person, but really, this world does in fact revolve around me. As one of my friends jokes, “Enough about you, now let’s talk about me“.

Pretty much all you need to do to get people to start talking about their life is to ask them about it. That will get the ball rolling and it will only take a good followup question here and there to keep it going. And isn’t that what you want, anyway? Don’t you want to learn about your friends? Don’t you want them to share as much about themselves as they feel comfortable? Don’t you want them to feel that they can talk to you? Don’t you want them to feel that you are a good listener? Of course you do.

It’s got to be real

Some of what I’m sharing here might sound dishonestly manipulative. That’s not the intent. My purpose is to give you an insight into a combination of basic human nature and local values so that you can make good decisions on your behavior to increase the likelihood of creating quality, long-lasting relationships.

It’s not possible to build a quality relationship on lies, deceit, and dishonest manipulation.

At the risk of overstating the obvious: this all assumes that you really like these people, you want to get to know them better, you want them to see the real you, and you’re willing to give them a significant part of your life.

In other words, you want to be a true friend.

Very few people can act in one manner while believing another. If you’re phony or you want to leverage that relationship as a stepping stone for selfish reasons, people will see through that and when they do, you are done, like any other typical mainland haole.

What I hope to accomplish here is to help you increase your self-awareness so that your true good intentions about developing a quality relationship can shine through and help both you and your newfound friends.

Next up: Hawaii house party etiquette rules

People will be watching how you act at the house party. What are some simple things you can do that really says you’re embracing local culture? We’ll talk about that in our next exciting episode! Stay tuned!