Join a Club or Organization
Common ground is the foundation of any relationship. You find out things you have in common and discuss those passions. From there, you can both branch out and show the true nuances you each possess, fostering a strong friendship. So, get this first step out of the way by immersing yourself into activities that you love.
Join a book club, sign up for the dart league, or take a continuing education course about a topic you’re passionate about. Partaking in activities that bring you joy will make you feel at ease during new encounters. You’ll feel more confident talking to new people because you’re in a good mood and are discussing something that you’re knowledgeable about.
Smile, Eye Contact, and Nod
A lot of us are guilty of avoiding eye contact or thinking about what we’re going to say next when we meet new people. That’s our nerves winning. Don’t let them get the upper hand. Gain control of the situation by being in the moment.
Give visual social cues that you’re paying attention. Make eye contact, smile, and nod. Repeat back some of the information and offer your two cents. These actions will keep the conversation moving. Plus, it lets the other person know you’re interested and invested, making them more likely to also pursue a friendship.
Friendships aren’t a one-way street. Your new potential friend isn’t at a job interview. You shouldn’t be drilling them with questions. Have a conversation.
For a conversation to work, you need to participate too. It’s a verbal tennis match. You don’t need to be Serena Williams and knock each turn out of the park. However, you should offer input to what the other person is saying, and try to connect with it.
If they share a memory about their favorite childhood memory, offer up yours. Perhaps they’re long divorced, and you are, too? Bring these things up. They’re part of your fabric, and your new friend is going to hear about it anyway!