This blog is part of my search for acceptance and connection. In my youth I often felt very insecure in relation to others. I had difficulty communicating my wants and needs and reacted very emotionally to rejection. I have paid a lot of attention to this over the years. Social anxiety is and always will be something that always will be part of my deep ingrained coping mechanism but I have learned to deal with it and found better ways to connect with myself and others.
In this three part guide I will focus on transforming strangers into friends. The purpose in these writings is to be able to live a happier, open and social lifestyle. I want it to be practical but still empowering your true self. The thing is, if you want to be more open to strangers you gotta do it and belief you can. I know that it sounds cliché but just put yourself on that spot and experience how it is to start talking to a stranger, will empower you as a person.
It is not that talking to strangers is THE way to live a happier lifestyle but the whole mindset you get with it will help you to be a more open and happy person. I belief that every person has something beautifull where you can relate to and this 10 steps will help you to explore that beauty.
Here are my 10 steps that I keep in mind to be more open person to strangers. Enjoy.
1. Make eye contact and smile
You will be amazed what an open minded attitude will do to your environment. You can show that you are a great person with just a simply smile at others when you have eye contact. People often smile back and if you have that moment you can easily go to the next step.
2. Start to greet strangers
If you have that eye contact and you recieved a polite smile just say the magic word: “Hi.” It is a fraction of a moment and I think that this is an important step in order to be that open person. More important, if you do this more often you will naturally have more conversations with strangers because people will start talking to you.
3. Ask people questions
Openers are open-ended, neutral questions that invite the other people to talk with you. You will be amazed that people will be happily suprised that you opened up to them. For me, the best way to do this is by asking a relevant question about the situation where we are both in. For example, in the line for a coffee or while waiting for the train to come.
4. Take micro steps
This is probably it. This first three steps are enough to get you started but take micro steps in this process. First make eye contact than start greeting than start to ask a simple question than make small talk than… etc. etc.
5. Focus on the moment
Remember that this is about having a good time in boring moments. Don’t attach yourself to your feelings. Turn your chatterbox off. You might think, what can I say? Or what if the other person isn’t in for a talk? If you don’t start that conversation you will never know. Fear can hold you back and will get your attention on you. In this case you will have to get your attention on the others otherwise you will present yourself as a needy person that must talk to somebody. Have fun, play a little bit.
6. Don’t mind what the others think
This is your moment, and you have the right to talk to whomever you want to talk to. Not everyone is that open and if someone is rude don’t take it personally. Don’t expect any outcome in this interaction, you are just showing your best self and if others don’t appreciate that than it is their problem not yours.
7. There is no such thing as rejection
There is only a way people will react on your approach. If somebody is acting closed than there can be a lot of reasons for that. People often act uncertain in that situations. They don’t know you so what is the possibility that they don’t like you? If you come over as a needy person than you’re not projecting intrest in someones personality. That is all in your way of interaction and not in the person you are.
8. Be curious
Try to discover others core passion in small talk. Don’t ask questions that you are also not comfortable with. Be curious about what it is that others like or don’t like. I try to find a hook point in an interaction. A hook point can be someones hobby or habit.
9. Enjoy yourself
There is nothing more satisfaying than to explore how interactions work in a funny way. Enjoy the moment and try to not feel sorry if you start of as an akward person. Find out what works for you by just enjoying to start a conversation. It is still not naturall for me though but I keep on smiling and trying. Eventually you will become better at it by practising and that brings me to my last step…
10. Go out there and practice!
Just start to present yourself as the person that is curious about others and want to know something about humanity. That’s all I have to say about it. Enjoy being you and reflect that on others.
Just start asking questions in the field and you will learn about interactions and people. I hope you liked reading this blog and thank you for coming this far. I will soon post part two, part two is about where to (not) talk about in these interactions with strangers.