Be Like the Unicorn

You should be able to have a conversation with anybody. If you think you are high above a certain class of people, or that you think thoughts too grave and mighty for the peasants, you’ll come off as an insufferable boor.

And worse, you’ll attribute your unpopularity to your imagined greatness instead of your very real pride.

A man knows how to talk to people. He knows how to make them feel valued and interesting.

That means knowing a little about sportsball.

That means knowing a little about video games.

That means knowing a little about the latest television shows and movies.

That means being curious. About the world around you. About the person in front of you. If you don’t know, ask. If you don’t care, get good at pretending to care while you pull the enormous stick out of your ass.

You should be able to find common ground with anybody.

In The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis, there is a beautiful scene where Jewel, a unicorn, is stuck spending time with a donkey. In Lewis’ world, this Unicorn has seen many battles and is a good friend to the king, yet he is not aloof.

Jewel, being a Unicorn and therefore one of the noblest and most delicate of beasts, had been very kind to [the donkey], talking to him about things of the sort they could both understand like grass and sugar and the care of one’s hoofs.

You see this in Jane Austen’s novels as well, where the nobility knows how to chat with the basest of peasants.

Being unable to strike up a conversation and be comfortable around people you think are beneath you is not sophistication. It is barbarism wrapped in faux civility.

True nobility is like the Unicorn: it comes down and makes common ground, and does it so effortlessly that the donkey doesn’t notice.

You have something in common with every human being on the planet.

So act like it.

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