The Emerald Girl

casual. classic. curious.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Talking to Strangers

Politeness is the key to any conversation. At least when you're an introvert, sometimes shy, and you're meeting new people. Remember to be kind. When you are kind & polite you don't have to worry about someone having a negative impression of you.

My day job involves staring at a computer screen from the comfort of my own home (or a coffee shop if I'm feeling like I need to get out of the house). Although I work with people, most communication is through email. Twice a year, the company I work for hosts a party for its consultants and clients. While I love a good party, the idea of going to a professional party where I know almost no one is draining but I force myself to go every time. Eventually it'll get easier, right?

In any event, here are a few things that I have realized along the way:

Politeness Goes A Long Way
Smile, say "hello", shake hands. Or hug. I am not a hugger AT ALL but when you can tell someone wants to hug just do it - it won't hurt you. Pay attention to body language. If you sense that someone you are speaking to wants to leave the conversation, let them. Give them an easy way out by saying, I'll let you get back to whatever it is they were doing or say that you're going to get a drink. You don't want to leach off of the one person that you know - it's not their job to be your crutch. (This rule of course does not apply to good friends or your date).

Be Interested
Ask people easy questions about their life. Listen. Ask more questions. People tend to hint at things when answering questions (without even knowing it) and those clues help lead to follow-up questions. For example, if someone says they've lived in a certain neighborhood for two years that means they have recently moved - ask where they moved from or how they're liking the new 'hood. Asking people questions puts them at ease and it takes the pressure off of you. You don't have to think of something to talk about and you create an opportunity for them to talk about something which in turn takes the pressure off of them to search for something to talk about as well. Being interested will give you something to remember people by and will help you in conversation the next time you see them because you can build off of what you already know about that person.

Be Interesting
Believe it or not your life is interesting! (I'm really talking to myself here). Over the last year or so I've been training myself to give a little bit more when answering questions about myself. Talking about yourself can be extremely uncomfortable however, when you give more, you are not only giving the other person an opportunity to be interested (as previously mentioned) but you are creating an opportunity to connect and giving the other person a reason to remember you. Instead of saying you live in Seattle, say what area and why you love it or what area of Seattle is your favorite and why.

When you feel like you've talked to enough people, leave. Seriously, the first party I went to for the company I work for right now, I got all dressed up, met my boss in person for the first time, turned right around and left. As I've slowly virtually met more co-workers, I've stayed longer, little by little and I'm still leaving when I feel I can't put out the energy out any more.

PS Hope everyone has a very American 4th of July!!!

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