I’ve been thinking about relatability lately. How to be relatable? It’s one of the key factors in having a successful blog, but it also reflects to other areas in our lives.
In a world where being unique and completely yourself is emphasized, I think I’ve always done quite well. But when we look at the big picture, being unique means that there are very few people who can relate to me and the way I live my life.
Long story short, I have never met a person who would’ve lived a life like mine; a life of voluntary instability and adventure, of great lows and the highest highs.
For many, my life would probably sound closer to a nightmare than a life worth living. Or can you imagine every 2 years willingly moving from one country to another, from one job to another, leaving everything, your friends and family behind, with the hope and uncertainty of finding new ones?
No? I thought so.
What prompted me to dwell in these thoughts in the first place was the shock of returning to Estonia from our holiday in Ukraine. Estonia has never felt like home to me. And I’ve noticed that every time I travel, coming back becomes more and more difficult.
Perhaps if I had someone here waiting for me when I come home I’d find everything easier, but as long as I’m on my own, coming back to a dark country into my ever-freezing flat really isn’t an enticing prospect.
Okay, having an apartment is great, right? It’s security, shelter and stability. But apartment also means that you are tied to a place. And once again I’m noticing that it doesn’t work for me, being tied to a place. It doesn’t work for me at all!
But is there anyone out there who can relate to my dilemma? I doubt it. So, how could anyone relate to my content or my life values then?
What is Relatability?
The easy definition for ‘relatability‘ is when you react to someone’s content like “Haha, that’s so true!” You agree with what is being said and find similar patterns or occurrences in your own life.
The official definition by the Cambridge Dictionary is “the quality of being easy to understand or feel sympathy for“.
But did you actually know that the word ‘relatable’ is quite a recent addition into the English language? It’s, in fact, so new, that even my latest version of WordPress underlines the word with red, because the program doesn’t recognize the word.
What ever the word may have referred to in the past, today it’s one of the key rules for content creators: relatable content is more viewed, shared, and engaged with than content that people can’t find anything to identify with.
But how much, if at all, do you actually need to pay attention to this if you want your content to attract views, shares and engagement? What happens to your content if you start creating it with ‘relatability’ as the main objective?
Well, I don’t have any scientific proof of this, but judging by my own experiments, going too far with serving your audience can quickly backfire. If you create content solely with your audience in mind, you’ll very quickly drown in the mass. You need to keep things original and authentic.
So, what are we supposed to do then? How can we be relatable but still stand out from the crowd?
How To Be More Relatable?
Network & Engage
I’ve got a great example of the benefits that networking can bring you in regards to relatability:
I’m a Finnish blogger who has spent the past 10 years moving around Europe. But at the end of the day, despite having an outlandish lifestyle, I’m just a human being, just like you and everybody else. But conveying that fact to you is so much easier when I meet you face to face, rather than you reading about it on my blog.
The more people know you personally, the easier it is for them to relate to you, because they now understand what you mean when you say something, for example, sarcastic. Sarcasm can be a tricky thing in writing, but communicating face to face, misunderstandings are much more unlikely.
As mentioned earlier, by faking it, you will not make it. Being fake shines through like a lion let loose in London… Unless you’re an actual psychopath or a narcissist, apparently they can fool anyone.
But when you’re able to be yourself without fear of being judged by everything and everyone around you, you’ll quickly notice how easy it is to get along with people. You’re open, so people deem it safe to be open with you.
Most of us just want to be happy and make friends, and most of us can relate to whatever insecurities you may have. So, one way to start a conversation with new people could be to just notify everyone that ‘I’m a tad nervous when meeting new people‘. I guarantee, you won’t need to be nervous for long.
Put the focus on others, not yourself
In order to find the surface, on which your followers can relate to you, you need to be curious about the people and things around you. You need to listen, watch, and be open-minded towards different opinions and views.
When you show interest in people, they will very quickly show interest back. There’s a little egoist inside each of us, and when someone seems interested in what we have to say, it makes us feel good. And whoever makes us feel good, deserves to feel good themselves as well, right?
One of my favourite rules of the universe applies here, as well as in everything else: every action has a reaction.
If all that people get from interacting with you is feeling down, confused, or not interested, it means they can’t relate to you. And in all honesty, that’s completely okay! Not everybody needs to be able to relate to you!
But those who can relate to you will find value in spending time or engaging with you: they find you funny, witty, clever, or similar to themselves. Interacting with you gives them positive feelings or new perspective, so they relate to you and want to know more about you.
At the end of the day, no matter how extraordinary my life is, I go through the same things in my life, and struggle with the same problems, as everybody else. Perhaps the majority of people can’t relate to me, but do I really need the majority? Isn’t a group of ‘my people‘ enough?
It sure should be. We can’t please everyone. When I was a kid, getting annoyed by people looking and thinking differently to me, my parents always asked me “Would you really like to live in a world where everyone was exactly the same?”
Hell no! We’re all different, and thank goodness for that, but at the same time we’re all similar enough to find common ground when it comes to basic life values: food, love and security.
Do you ever wonder about how relatable you or your content is? Do you struggle with it? Let’s discuss! ♥
Follow me on Instagram and use #styleoutlandish to showcase your style! I’m always on the lookout for outfit inspiration.