We have all heard the terms introvert and extrovert. Introverts are seen as shy, while extroverts are viewed as outgoing. And, while we may not neatly fall into one or the other, we often allow ourselves to think, “that’s just the way I am.”
Those that are more introverted allow themselves an out. When they don’t want to meet someone new or connect on a deeper level with someone, they remind themselves that they are introverted, and it is okay.
And, while an individual’s personality may be more predisposed to being shy or less outgoing, they still can do it, they just need to choose to do so. It is not always the easiest thing to do, but it does get easier over time, and the rewards, far outway the short sense of self-imposed awkwardness that you may allow yourself to feel.
These connections with the people around you are going to allow you to experience life better. You will be able to meet new people and develop deeper relationships with the people that are already in your life.
So, regardless of where you find yourself on the introvert to extrovert spectrum, use these tips and better connect with the people around you.
Be Willing to Get Uncomfortable
Let’s face it; the reason why we choose not to be as outgoing as we would like is because it makes us feel uncomfortable. We are afraid of an awkward encounter, or maybe our own insecurities attack our thoughts. Either way, we have a habit of doing whatever we can to stay comfortable.
If you want to connect with people around you, though, you need to be willing to get uncomfortable at times. You need to put yourself out there and make the first move. Luckily, as you continue to do this, it gets less and less uncomfortable. Also, it helps to remember that the person you are talking to has their own insecurities, and maybe they wanted to talk to you but were too insecure to make the first move.
Most people enjoy genuine conversations with other people; they are just too scared to put themselves out there. So the odds are, if you are willing to take on that little bit of potential uncomfortableness at the beginning, you will end up with a great conversation.
Use an Icebreaker
A great way to connect with people, especially in large groups, is an icebreaker. Whether it is a fun little game to get to know more about people in the group or something you come up with on your own, find something that works for you. Conversations are going to be a lot more fun and real if you come up with a system to get people out of their shell and talking. This will also help to keep the conversation away from the “how are you?” type questions. Questions like this lead to a boring conversation that neither party wants to be a part of. So think of something that applies to you and the person you are talking to, and get a real conversation started.
Remember People’s Names
One of the best ways to connect with people around you is being able to recall someone’s name and then use it when you talk to them. It shows the person that you are communicating with that you took an interest in them. When you go to say goodbye, even after a short conversation, it makes a big difference to be able to say, “nice to meet you, John.”
There are a couple of keys that will help you out when learning someone’s name for the first time. The first is, as simple as it sounds, pay attention when someone says their name. It can be very easy to go through an introduction of names and then not even remember one name that you just heard. So pay attention. Secondly, when someone does give you their name, repeat it out loud back to them. Here is an example of what I mean by that.
John: Hello, my name is John, nice to meet you.
You: Hi, John. My name is Joe. It is a pleasure to meet you, as well.
If you didn’t quite hear their name, or as a better way to remember it as well. After they introduce themselves, repeat their name back to them with a hint of a questioning tone. This will allow them to confirm it for you, and it will allow their name to stick in your brain.
Another great thing about learning someone’s name is that it makes it so much easier to go up and say hi the next time you see them. People want to hear their name, and you are much more likely to develop a deeper bond with someone if you use their name when you run into them again.
Ask Meaningful Questions
No one likes a boring conversation. We all want questions that get us thinking, laughing, learning, etc. So stay away from boring, overused questions. Find something that fits the setting and that everyone in the conversation can connect on. It may take a few questions to get there, but if you are consciously thinking about the questions that you are asking, it will go a long way.
When thinking of questions, do your best to think of questions that allow for an explanation. Stay away from questions like, “how are you doing?” The best response you are going to get is, “good, how are you?” All that did was waste 15 seconds of both of your lives. So try to read the person, use a topic from the event that you are at, or have some questions that you know work well for you. Just don’t be boring.
Find Common Interests to Connect On
A great way to spark up a quality conversation with someone is with common interests. Once two people who are passionate about the same thing find that topic, there is no telling where the conversation will go. People that were complete strangers a few moments ago are able to become instantly connected around a particular topic. Whether it is fitness, sports, music, movies, travel, etc., look to find common ground. And most of the time, this will naturally lead into a conversation about another common interest as well.
Here are a couple of questions you can use to help get this started.
What do you like to do for fun when you have the time?
Have you been on any cool trips lately?
Where would you go if you could travel anywhere?
It is up to you to find the right questions to get the conversation rolling. And, don’t worry if it doesn’t take off right away, it just takes one topic to get the ball rolling. So you just need to keep asking questions until you find the right topic.
For me it is basketball, I played my whole life and now am a basketball trainer in Tampa, FL. So if I find someone that also enjoys basketball, we are going to be able to connect on a whole new level. That is just one example, though. There are many different topics that I enjoy and am passionate about.
The other thing that I try to do when learning about someone else is to be open about being passionate about new things. If I sense that someone else is excited about a specific topic, I do my best to encourage them to share. This not only allows me to be able to learn more about them, but it also allows me to learn and grow myself.
Smile When You See Someone You Have Already Met
We have all had that experience (most of us pretty regularly), where we have met someone, but don’t know them all that well and walk past them in public without saying hi. We want to say hello, but we aren’t quite sure if they remember us, and don’t want to have an awkward exchange. This fear causes us to put our heads down, avoid eye contact, and keep moving on with our day. After a while of seeing them, and this happening, it becomes like we never met them at all.
Don’t let this become your story. When you see someone that you might have briefly met before, put on a big smile, make eye contact, and say “hello” audibly or with a wave if they are too far away. Worst case, they do forget who you were, and you reintroduce yourself explaining where you met before. I would be willing to bet that the next time you see them, they will have just as big of a smile waiting for you when they say hi.
People love to be smiled at; it brightens their day. So if you are always smiling when you say hi to people, they are going to look forward to seeing you.
Introduce Yourself to Friends of Friends
One of the best ways to meet people is through friends that you already have. So the next time that you go out or are with a group of friends, and there is someone you don’t know in the group, take the time to introduce yourself. As a friend of one of their friends, you already have someone vouching for you. You aren’t some random stranger, but someone that is already part of the group.
Use this in and get to know people that you may not have gotten to meet otherwise. Before you know it, they may be one of your close friends, and you are meeting friends of their friends. This chain reaction all starts with you being willing to put yourself out there.
How to Better Connect With People Around You Conclusion
Connecting with people is what makes life so enjoyable. Each person is their own unique being, but as humans, we are able to connect and do life together. This only happens, though, if you are willing to make a conscious effort to make connections.
I would challenge you not to look at the outer layers of people when looking to make connections either. Don’t look to connect with people based on appearance; instead, look to develop relationships with as many people around you as you can.
People want to connect with other real people, not people that want something from them. So get to know people for the simple reason of wanting to better connect with the people around you. If this is your goal, you will have no problem developing relationships with the people you come in contact with.