For some people, social gatherings can be a fun experience. Other people, though, dread having to meet new people and wonder if they’re likable enough. Even if people do enjoy meeting new faces, not everyone has the ability to know what to say.
When there’s nothing nice to say, others remain quiet or end up discussing the weather. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there are measures you can take to avoid looking awkward or out of place.
Sit back, relax, and grab your favorite wine or some fine German Hallertau blanc to add flavor to your conversation.
Small talk is fine, as long as it doesn’t linger for too long. Its purpose is for you to warm up to someone new and get to know them a bit more.
If you struggle with talking to a new face, think about topics that everyone can relate to — topics that question, such as psychology and behavior, or subjects related to major current events. Deep conversation happens eventually, where you skip the small talk and move to higher ground.
A Change in Climate?
Avoid talking about the weather at all costs. Few people care about how the cold outside affects their daily business or how the heat can help. Unless you’re feeling confident, this topic could signify forced conversation. Weather also doesn’t lead to more topics, leaving you more awkward than need be.
Finding Interests and Asking Questions
As you move along, you might find someone interested in particular topics. Harvard University research shows that by asking questions, you’re perceived to be more understanding and likable. A bonus? This also applies online as it does face-to-face.
Asking follow-up questions also gives the impression that you care and understand another. This further increases your likability and continued desire to talk more. Questions can be hard, and some people evade them to avoid looking rude or intrusive. It shouldn’t stop you from learning about the other person, though. An occasional question won’t hurt and should keep the ball rolling.
How are you? How’s your job like? These types of questions put someone else in a box. No one wants to be limited to talking about work. Instead, ask about what sets them apart from other people. You’ll see how each person is unique and has their own way of doing things.
Don’t Push Your Perspective
If a conversation is a window for you to change others’ beliefs into yours, you’ll probably have a hard time. You’ll look pushy, desperate, and close-minded. Be open-minded, a good listener, and don’t shove things down other peoples’ throats.
Personal Projects and Activities
Learning what they do for a living is surface-level. Knowing what they do during free time is taking it another level. Aside from the daily grind, find out what people like to do: Playing music? Donating to charity? Skydiving? The multitude of hobbies out there is endless. Feel free, of course, to talk about how exciting your hobbies are, as well.
Recounting experiences and stories help bring people together and feed curiosity. Each one has unique experiences that shape us individually. There are also experiences that people have in common, such as heartbreak, loss, and having fun. The bond people share with experiences proves to be one of the best ways to be engaging and interesting.
Out of Your Shell
With practice and confidence, you’ll soon realize that talking to strangers isn’t that hard. These are a few tips on how to break the ice and get to know someone on a deeper level. At the end of the day, we’re all human and share universal traits that everyone can relate to. Aside from common interests, you’ll also see how unique people are. At the end of a night, your perception of one person may be turned upside down after a long talk under the stars.