You know how you look at people that are older, wiser, sometimes even just better looking. You know when you are around specific people and you feel like you're seeking their approval? You are hoping that they will not think you're weird. You are hoping that they will not blow you off. You know how they seem to be superior to you? That's because, either consciously or subconsciously, you allow yourself to think of them that way.
Some of this you might have heard before. A parent, a teacher, or a mentor might have mentioned it in the past. It's knowledge that is given, but few people grasp it: "When two people are in any form of a relationship, there is a person who is in charge." This can be explained many ways, but I want to give you my take. Let's define our terms.
"Relationship" is going to be the connection between any two people that have met and at least one remembers the other. There are special exceptions to drunken nights and random acts that go along with blacking out, but in general, at least one remembers the other.
"In charge" is going to be the person in the relationship who is superior to the other person. We will call the people in charge the "Leaders," and the people who are inferior the "Followers." Do not be confused. We are all both because we are in charge of some relationships, and not of others.
This is an issue of confidence. When making a new acquaintance (even if you have a pre-existing knowledge of that person), it is up to you to decide that you are equal to or better than that person. Do not misunderstand me; I'm not telling you to be a snot box, just to know that no one can be better than you without your permission. Acquaintanceship is the first level of a relationship, and the things that I am about to talk about apply to everyone: your girlfriend or boyfriend's parents, your potential future employer, the friend of a friend, etc.
Here are some things that you can do:
Make sure that you introduce yourself, shake hands, make eye contact, and if you stick your hand out for the shake first, you are almost automatically in charge. Shaking someones hand is a sign of respect and of respectability. Remember the person's name. It is also a sign of respect, and if they forget yours, you've gained more ground ahead of them. Be gracious about reminding them, and you're still moving forward. Smile, and appear confident, even if you're knees are clattering together. Appearing confident when you're really not is a form of confidence, is it not?
Once you have made the initial greet, be sure to stay a Leader by never being afraid to give your opinion, when it's your place, with confidence (funny that I keep using that word). Do not wait for someone else to give their opinion and then half-heartedly agree with them to seek approval. Listen intently, deliberate politely, discuss peacefully; however, never give in. If they have a point, agree to give the matter some thought, and discuss it at a later date. Sophistication is what we make of it.
From that point, always be sure to greet that person by name and with a hand shake. Make sure that you ask about something in their life that you remember, and actually listen to the answer to make further conversation in the future.
Doing these few things can make you the person in charge. It will make you the object of admiration. Be the person that people want to know, and people will know you. I know I have made it sound like these situations always take place in a formal setting, but these are guidelines for any time that you are meeting someone new. Take charge, and you'll be the Leader.