Millennials have come to young adulthood in a time when the digital world has enabled everything to be tailored specifically for "you." Unfortunately this leads to more rigidity and less risk-taking as some young adults are very specific in what they want and what they demand, and are not as open and embracing of opportunities and other scenarios. While it is always helpful to know what you want, being so inward-focused closes you off to an intuitive awareness of other's feelings and thoughts and most important, their actual impressions of you. You may think you are being confident, smart and funny, while you might really be coming off as arrogant and pretentious.
Consider being more outward-focused in your communications. Take the temperature of the room you are in more carefully and determine if you are making as much of an effort to contribute to the social arena you are visiting. Are you open to others' opinions and are you acknowledging others' ideas with genuine interest? Are you willing to compromise your own needs to help someone else out at work or in life for no personal rewards other than to learn or be helpful? Are you willing to be an active listener just for the joy of soaking up another's knowledge, rather than try to interrupt and attempt to dazzle with what you think you know? Not only will these small attempts of interpersonal communication build bridges to stronger relationships, but also, they will build a foundation for a better personal reputation and widen your social and career horizons even more.
President, Allison Kluger Media Consulting
Lecturer, Stanford Graduate School of Business