Click quotient

I had forgotten what it was like to click with someone on the first meeting. I mean really click. Going beyond ‘Oh, she seems really nice. It’d be good to meet again.’ I mean the kind of rapport when you could sit and talk for hours, even if you can’t remember her name because when she first introduced herself, you didn’t pay special attention because you didn’t know you would click.

I haven’t clicked with someone new for maybe a year or two. However, on Friday I met two people that I found so likeable that I had to eventually force myself away to mingle elsewhere in order to stay within the normal bounds of first time friendliness.

I didn’t want to scare them away, although probably they liked me too and were also trying to calculate the right time to move on. I suspect that clicking has to be mutual.

The first person I clicked with on Friday is an older woman who leads the maritime business for a rival consultancy. She was sitting next to me at a gala lunch. We didn’t talk about anything in particular: work, business ethics, accounting systems, our old teachers. It just seemed that we always had something to say. We swapped business cards and I hope I can see her again some time.

The second person I clicked with is a man about my age who used to work at my company, but now works for another rival. I had just arrived at a house warming party and warned him about a giant bug crawling on his shirt. We also got talking about everything and nothing. I don’t think I’ll see him again unless our mutual friends organise another gathering.

It leads me to think about what my click quotient is. I will define this as the proportion of new people I meet with whom I click. I wonder if people have similar click quotients?

Originally, I was thinking that people have different click quotients depending on how open their personalities are. That is, the more easy going, receptive and chatty you are, the more chance you will click with a stranger.

But maybe that’s not the case. Maybe for those people who perceive that they click with many people are in fact just meeting a lot more people because they are:

  • in a new situation, such as a new job, course or city, and there are lots of people to meet; and/or
  • extroverted and comfortable chatting to strangers, and so in any particular room of people, will meet more of them.

So what I mean is maybe the there is a general trend for people to genuinely click with, say, 10% of people they meet. The people we see who seem to have a rapport with many people are simply clicking with 10% of a larger number.

But perhaps the opposite is also true. Maybe when you click with lots of people, you don’t think it’s all that special. Certainly for me, having not clicked with anyone new for so long, it felt a bit wondrous to do so on Friday.

Another factor is probably also the crowd that you’re moving with. If you mingle with people who have the same interests and background as you, then that might increase the click success rate.

I wonder what the smallest length of time is that you need to speak to someone before you click?

I wonder if clicking really must be mutual? (otherwise the result could be stalking or uncomfortable distancing)

I wonder if some people with a lower click quotient experience more profound/deeper clicking when it happens?

I wonder if you don’t click with someone straight away, you can develop the same rapport over time? If this happens, is it something new that has developed or is it the discovery of something that was always there?

7 comments

  1. J says:

    Here’s another question for your wondering list: to what extent does immediate clicking correlate with deep and lasting friendship? (In other words, when it happens, what store ought one to put on it?)

  2. joanium says:

    That’s a good question. I don’t have a good answer.

    Let me try answering it empirically. I have five first tier friends (and at the moment the two rotating seats on the council are empty). I would say that two of them were ones I clicked with straight away. The other three friendships are those nurtured over time.

    I’m now trying to think of people who I’ve clicked with but who did not become good friends. With one male, I exchange occasional emails, which are always welcome.

    One female, she rebuffed my attempts at deepening the friendship (I later found out her dark secret).

    Another male, I’m sure we would be very good friends if I was still in Melbourne.

    Another female, I haven’t heard from for a while as she’s travelling around the world.

    It seems my ‘conversion quotient’ isn’t that high. To click is a sign of intellectual and emotional interest — an ember if I want to poetic. And to build up the ember to a viable fire, it needs to be fanned with attention and kindness.

    So being in the same city helps.

    You’ve reminded me of some people I want to see again. *thoughtful look*

  3. J says:

    Friend tiers – how very categorical of you :-) Golly, if we ever meet I hope we don’t click too much, I’d hate to know I was displacing someone else.
    I can relate to both the friendship scenarios you describe, and I’m glad to have friends of both types. If I only knew people I’d immediately clicked with (i.e. people in whom I immediately recognised significant common ground), then I’d probably start to think I was right all the time (and I come perilously close as it is).
    Some years back I decided to open up to one of my housemates, a person I’d decided I had very little in common with. It was a small act of faith I suppose, but it was a very pleasant (and humbling) surprise to find that we ‘met’ in a meaningful way on the level of our common humanness, despite our disparate levels of interest in hair-styling products. (That’s a wanky way of saying we both had romantic troubles but sharing was better than I thought.)
    Since then I’ve tried to worry less about the click factors I used to look for (e.g. obsession with Tom Waits*), and have trusted a little more in listening and deliberate openness to find common ground.
    Having said all that, I recently had the experience of clicking strongly and immediately with someone, for the first time in a long while, hence the original question.

    *Besides, a lot of dipsticks like Tom Waits too, dammit.

  4. joanium says:

    Oh, I’m always putting things in boxes — food, people, people, people, people, tools… (oh wait, those are real boxes).

    J, I think you’ll have a hard time displacing my first tier friends (hi vera!). There hasn’t been any movement for eight years.

    I think suffering together is the fast track to long term friendship. Perhaps when one is suffering a broken heart, it’s the ideal time to pick up some new friends.

    I had to look up who Tom Waits is. Ah, my friend Wiki P. You will never be displaced.

  5. Daniel says:

    having moved through many different places and many different crowds I can say this…

    The type of crowd definitely makes a difference. I find things like level of education, common hobbies, and common interests to be almost irrelevant in the clicking equation. Sure, they can give you conversation, but I find it a very superficial conversation without any real rapport. Having a common world view or philosophy is often a much stronger predictor.

    I’ve clicked with a few people in the skating world, but compared to the number of people I know in the skating world, it is a very low percentage. The amnesty crowd is different though, I’ve clicked with many of them and have formed deep, long-lasting friendships.

    Clicking isn’t always mutual. I’ve had a few awkward experiences which confirm this…

    As for time-to-click, it can be instantaneous. Sometimes it can happen before words are spoken. I’ve found that my deepest and most long-lasting friendships were formed with very quick clicks. As for slow-forming deep friendships, I think they only happen if the initial amount of interaction is low.

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