We spend our childhoods being told to never speak tostrangers but then discover as we grow up, we need to do just that, repeatedly.
Some strangers are more comfortable to talk to, such as shop clerks or waiter
Others though, are often more complicated, such as thestrangers you meet in social situations. These are the people who have the
potential of being your future friends and coworkers. These are the strangers
who matter. To some, meeting this type of stranger can be quite intimidating.
How do you get past the initial trepidation and talkto even strangers comfortably?
ThrowYourself into the Deep End
If you always have someone to fall back on, you’renever going to truly take the plunge. Go to new places alone, so you’re not
tempted to stick with who you already know.
Make theFirst Move
If you’re going to wait around hoping to be noticed,you might have a very long wait. Be bold! Start a conversation! Get up and join
the fun rather than waiting to be invited.
Learn theGive and Take of Conversation
Ask questions. Get the ball rolling by discovering newfacts about the people you meet. But also, be prepared to talk about yourself
(but not excessively). Good conversation should have an ebb and flow. Don’t let
it get too heavy in any one direction.
Learn How toBe Friendly
While initiating conversation, know when to back offbefore you become too aggressive. Not everyone is going to want to talk. If
this is the case, let them go. There’s plenty of other people to talk to. Move
on to someone else.
There is nothing more compelling than someone whocomes across as genuine. Being authentic is a hundred times better than any
role you could ever play. This means being you without pretense. If you’re
nervous, it’s ok. You can even say something about it or make it into a joke.
You’d be amazed at how many people can identify with these feelings.
Know When –and How – to Quit
If the conversation has died out or the interactionisn’t going well, know how to escape. An “I need” comment is a big help (as in
“Excuse me, I need to use the restroom” or “I need to talk to that man over
there about something, please excuse me.” Or just simply thank them for the
interaction and move on. “It was a pleasure talking to you about Hawaii. Thank
you for the conversation.” If you really like the person you’re talking to, get
their card, or make plans to get together again before you go.
William Butler Yeats perhaps said it best. “There areno strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.”
With that thought in mind, wouldn’t you say it’stime to set forth and make some new friends?
This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.