Back when I was a teen, I discovered I had a mysterious gift.
Strangers would suddenly strike up conversations with me.
Whether I was at the train station, at the theater, on an airplane, or on some school trip, some complete stranger would start talking to me.
At first, it freaked me out, because it only seemed to happen to me. It didn’t happen to any of my other classmates.
I felt a bit weird to be talking to this strange person while all of my classmates were casting odd glances at me, wondering how I knew them!
It took me a long time to figure out what was going on.
I didn’t ACTUALLY have some special gift.
Rather, I’d inadvertently hit on one of the very best strategies for meeting people in real life…
Odd One Out
It took me some time to discover why random strangers would start talking to me, especially because I was—and still am—an introvert who normally has no desire for talking with people I don’t know!
But what I realized were two things:
- There are tons of friendly people out there who enjoy connecting with new people…
But they don’t often get the chance, because most people are locked in their own little world.
- Being completely alone makes you STAND OUT.
No one likes being on their own. But there I was, on the outside. Everyone else would be chatting with friends and I’d be sitting off to the side, bored out of my mind, looking around.
It turns out that being bored and looking around is the perfect formula to meeting new people!
Because THAT is how you catch someone’s eye.
You won’t see other people if you’re engrossed in conversation or absorbed in your phone. You have to look up to notice people.
Meeting men in real life can often be as easy as daring to do things alone.
Get comfortable sitting there on your own, watching the world go by, without your phone or distractions.
3 Reasons We Freeze Up
But maybe you’re good at that.
You can look around you and see people you’d like to connect with.
What you’re NOT so good at is the conversation piece.
When you catch someone’s eye, you freeze. A nice-looking guy smiles at you, and your mind starts racing….
Will he come up and talk to me? Why would he even want to talk to me? Does he want something from me? Is he a mass murder in disguise?
You panic, and you sabotage it. You give off uncomfortable signals, and he gets the message loud and clear.
How can you stop doing that?
There’s a really cool trick to creating genuine connections with people you just met, but before I give it to you, I want to look more closely at the 3 reasons we freeze up when we meet someone.
Reason #1 is:
You think you’re going to be judged.
First impressions matter. He’s going to make up his mind about you in the first few minutes, and you can’t help but wonder what he’s going to decide.
Reason #2 is:
You wonder if he finds you attractive.
I’m not sure why every conversation between a male and a female has to get reduced to attraction. It’s almost as if there can be no innocent conversations. If you have fun talking together, you start looking for the sexual tension, which can turn things awkward fast.
Reason #3 is:
You’re self-conscious about how you’re coming across.
It takes a lot of work to monitor the words that come out of your mouth and your pose and body language so that you come off at your most attractive. You can’t just relax and talk. You have to worry about whether you look good.
Those three factors shoot us in the foot. How can we avoid them?
The Key to Easy Conversations
STOP thinking about image management and focus instead on the question:
“What can we GIVE each other in this encounter?”
You are talking for a reason, right?
Assume that both of you have something to give to each other that’s only possible in THIS moment.
Maybe it’s a piece of information. Maybe it’s just that both of you will feel better after walking away and your day will be a bit happier.
Bring an attitude of watchful curiosity to the conversation.
You’re curious about this encounter, what he needs, what you could offer, and what he could teach you.
That curiosity—rather than expectations—allows the conversation to flow where it needs to go. You don’t have to make anything happen. You don’t have to impress him. You can just watch and see what unfolds.