For many people, approaching people they don't know and starting a conversation is like jumping into the void. Yet, even if it is risky, it is a fun and interesting activity that can change your life. If you put the effort to overcome your fear of talking to complete strangers, you might accidentally be having the best time of your life. The following tips will help you put on your parachute and jump …
Part 1 of 3: Manage your anxiety
Step 1. Practice until talking to complete strangers becomes second nature
The best way to overcome your fear is to face it directly. Talking to strangers is a skill that you learn like any other: the more you practice, the more you will improve. Over time, you will do this naturally. You will no longer need to think about how you are going to handle a conversation with a stranger. The best way to train is to set weekly goals.
- Don't try to do too much at once! If you're feeling overwhelmed by the idea of talking to a stranger, don't go too fast. For example, you might promise to try to talk to two strangers during the week. Add one person in total to each passing week.
- Keep giving of yourself! There is a fine line between doing too much and not doing enough. Find Balance: Feeling overwhelmed by this project is out of the question, but you shouldn't let your fear keep you from moving forward either. Take risks out of your comfort zone.
Step 2. Go on your own to a social event or other social event
Eh yes ! Do not invite anyone to accompany you. Immerse yourself in a context where you know absolutely no one. Without a friend to hide behind, you'll be more likely to strike up conversations with people you don't know. Don't aim too big the first few times. Don't worry if the first two times you go out alone you don't talk to anyone. The most important thing is that you have come and spent time among complete strangers. After all, you've never done it before! Find out about events taking place in your city that might give you the opportunity to strike up a conversation with strangers, such as:
- artistic exhibitions,
- book readings,
- museum exhibitions,
- gatherings of computer aces,
- parades, political or other gatherings, protests.
Step 3. Ask a friend to help you
If the thought of talking to strangers scares you too much, you might want to enlist the help of an outgoing friend. This will make you feel more comfortable starting a conversation with a stranger because you will have someone you know by your side.
Warning: don't let your friend dominate the conversation. Let her know that you wish you could participate more than usual
Step 4. Don't overthink it
Thinking too much about what could go wrong in a conversation with a stranger can set yourself up for failure. The more you think about it, the more nervous you will feel. When you lay eyes on someone you'd like to talk to, immediately break the ice so you're not dissuaded. The adrenaline rush will help you control your nervousness.
Step 5. Pretend until you can feel comfortable
Talking to strangers can be intimidating and even exhausting especially when the stakes are high. For example, if you are going to a job interview or want to talk to a man or woman you find attractive, you might think that everyone is looking at you and seeing your anxiety. However, you are the only person who knows! Act like you trust yourself (even if you don't) and the person you're talking to will only see what you want them to see.
Remember, the more you practice talking to strangers, the less you need to pretend to be confident
Step 6. Don't be discouraged in the event of rejection
When you start to open up to others, some might not want to talk to you. As a shy person, you know very well that sometimes you just don't feel like talking. If someone is telling you that this is the case, don't take it to heart.
- See failure as a way to learn and improve.
- People don't bite. At worst, someone will tell you that they are too busy or that they prefer to be left alone. This is not the end of the world !
- No one is watching or thinking of you except… you! Don't think that people are laughing at you. They are far too busy thinking about themselves.
Part 2 of 3: talk to a stranger
Step 1. Look approachable and friendly
If your face is tense or dark, the other person will immediately feel nervous. Try to look relaxed and friendly to put others at ease, even if inside you feel like everything is falling apart. This will allow you to have better conversations that will last longer.
- Observe the eyes of the people around you. Don't play nervously with your phone. Scan the room and observe the people in it. Cross their eyes to find those who are looking for a conversation.
- Once you've made eye contact with someone, smile, even if you don't necessarily mean to talk to them. This exercise not only allows you to practice non-verbal communication, but also increases your chances of chatting with someone.
- Open up to others using body language. Throw your shoulders back, curl your chest and lift your chin. The more confident you appear to be, the more people will want to talk to you.
- Don't cross your arms. People might think you're a closed person or just don't feel like chatting at all.
Step 2. Before approaching your “target,” non-verbally indicate that you want to talk to them
Some people might find it odd that you approach them without hinting that it was your intention. Instead of approaching someone and surprising them by starting a conversation with their profile, take it easy using your body language. Cross her eyes and smile to bond before you even start a conversation.
Step 3. Start with a little interaction
You might want to get to know someone, but if you approach them with too deep a topic of conversation without warning, it might immediately turn them off. If you decide to approach a person coldly (without first preparing them for it with non-verbal communication), start with something trivial. Don't ask him what his goals are in life. Instead, make a point or ask them to do you a little favor. You will find some suggestions below.
- " Well then ! The bar is stormed tonight. We better leave good tips! "
- “Traffic is a real nightmare today! Do you know if there's an event going on around here? "
- "Could you plug in my laptop cable please?" The outlet is behind you. "
- " What time is it please ? "
Step 4. Introduce yourself
After this opening, your goal is to know the name of your interlocutor. The best way to find out is to give it your name. Good manners will force the person to tell you their name in return. If she completely ignores your presentation, she is either very cranky or rude. Either way, your best bet is not to continue the conversation.
After you complete the opening interaction, say, “By the way, my name is…” Give the other person a firm shake as you introduce yourself
Step 5. Ask open-ended questions
If you only ask closed-ended questions that prompt the other person to answer only yes or no, the conversation might end rather quickly. Ask questions that will fuel the conversation. Below are some suggested questions.
- " What did you do today ? Instead of "Did you have a good day"?
- " You come here often. Why do you like this place ? What is he in particular? Instead of "Do you come here often? "
Step 6. Ask the other person to explain something to you
Everyone likes to feel like they are an expert on a subject. It doesn't matter if you already know a lot about the topic you are talking about, ask the person to explain it to you. For example, if you saw a headline in a newspaper, you might say, “I saw that headline in the newspaper this morning, but I didn't have time to read the article. Could you explain to me what it is? People prefer conversations that give them the opportunity to teach something to the other person.
Step 7. Don't be afraid to disagree
It is very important to establish common ground in a conversation. However, although it may seem strange, a good disagreement can also allow you to form a new friendship. Show the other person that if they spend time with you, they won't be bored. Involve him in a debate that will allow both of you to show your intelligence.
- Please note: the debate must remain good-natured. If you feel that the other person is starting to get upset, stop immediately.
- Your goal is to have a light conversation, not an argument.
- Smile and laugh often when you debate a topic so everyone knows you're having a good time and not getting upset.
Step 8. Stick to topics that are unlikely to generate controversy
This is a debate, not a real argument. A religious or political debate could hurt the feelings of one and the other. On the other hand, discussing the best travel destinations or the best football team can result in a lively conversation that will be light and fun. Other good topics for discussion are movies, music, books or food.
Step 9. Let the conversation develop on its own
You might be tempted to stick to the conversation topics you've prepared on your list. In doing so, you could limit the possibilities! Let the conversation flow naturally. You can of course try to direct her to topics that you feel comfortable with. However, it would be awkward to try to control her. If the other person wants to talk about a topic that you don't know much about, be honest and tell them. Ask him to explain to you what you don't understand and take the opportunity to learn something!
Part 3 of 3: Adapt to a specific situation
Step 1. Don't start a serious conversation with brief interactions
A good way to practice talking to strangers is to try to strike up a conversation with someone when you are in line or when you are in an elevator. Knowing that you will only be staying together for a short period of time and that the conversation will be brief will allay your fears. Do not talk about serious matters in this kind of situation. Instead, talk about rain and shine or make a remark like, “Oh! How bad this elevator smells! Or "Please hold me back from buying all of the candy at the cash register!""
Step 2. Take advantage of the longer interactions
If you are sitting in a tea room, at a bar, or in the comfortable armchair of a book store, you have more time to converse. Try to have a good time! Make jokes and show off the fun side of your personality that until now was reserved for your longtime friends.
Step 3. Get to know the person you like
If you want to invite someone out on a date, ask them a little more personal questions. This immediately gives an intimate side to the conversation and the responses of your interlocutor will also allow you to get to know him better. This will give you the opportunity to gauge the person you are talking to and can decide if you would go well together or not.
- Warning: don't go too far. Don't ask overbearing questions in your first conversation like, "Are you planning on having children?" "
- Instead, share fairly personal information about yourself and allow the other person to decide whether they want to speak on the subject in turn. For example, you could say, “I'm a real mom's son (or a real daddy's girl). I have to talk to her every day or I don't feel well. "
Step 4. Behave professionally at professional gatherings
At a party organized by your work or at a convention, you might have the opportunity to meet someone high up in your industry. In these kinds of situations, it is important that those around you work for you to feel that you have confidence in yourself and that you are a competent worker. It doesn't matter if you're nervous about talking to strangers: pretend until you can.
- Avoid tacky jokes that would work well if you were in a bar.
- Just talk about the industry you work in. Show that you know what you're talking about and that you're good at what you do.
Step 5. Try to leave a lasting memory when you go for an interview
The interview is obviously important, but so are the informal conversations you will have before and after it. By starting a conversation with the person who will interview you, you will make them want to work with you. In addition, all the candidates may answer the same questions which could lead the employer to confuse them. Use informal conversations to make yourself unforgettable.
Share something unique about yourself: “I didn't go to my rugby training today to be able to come to this interview. This shows you how badly I want to get this job! "
- Don't get people caught up in a conversation. If the person you're talking to doesn't seem to want to talk, don't force them.
- If you decide to go to a place you don't know on your own, it would be wise to let a friend know where you are going and what time you think you will be back.
- If you use Facebook, check the "events" page to find out where and when events are taking place near you.
- Try to market yourself for your kindness and be approachable. It might help you when you attend other gatherings.
- Go to social networks that encourage their followers to actually meet (like meetup.com). On these sites, you will be able to find groups of people interested in the same things as you. Choose to involve yourself in those that will make you feel most comfortable starting a conversation with new people.
- The key to success is being able to feel comfortable even if the situation seems awkward or weird. The more comfortable you feel, the less awkward you will feel.
- You may have to face the challenges described below. However, once you get over them, you'll find that there was nothing really bad about it.
- You won't know what to say when you approach someone.
- You might just sit around doing nothing and appear uncomfortable.
- You may be shaking a lot when approaching the first people you approached.
- You might very well start the conversation so you're not sure what to say next which will lead to awkward silences.
- You will say to yourself: “This is too hard! I prefer to go and rent a movie”.
- Some people might think that you are trying to hit on them.
- Be careful, because you might approach someone who might want to hurt you.
- Don't think that you are too fat.
- Do not force anyone to talk to you, as this could lead to a fight. Pay attention.