How to take charge of meeting new people

This is largely attitude. If you want to meet new people, and you don’t live someplace too remote for internet (since you’re reading this, I assume you don’t), you can take charge of meeting new people.

I know this sounds impossible to some people. And like a platitude to others. But it’s true. Keep in mind that, growing up, I had no idea how to meet people. None. And I was in public schools with fair sized classes. I was in Girl Scouts. I was in the city choir. I was “meeting” people all the time, but the meetings didn’t count, didn’t matter because I didn’t know how to make them stick. I’ve since learned how. So trust me, all ye doubters, hard as it can be,  you can meet people.

Don’t misunderstand. If meeting people is hard for you, I can’t wave a magic wand and >POOF< make it easy. I wish. But it doesn’t work that way. I’ve gotten better at it, and it’s gotten easier, but easier isn’t the same as easy. Even so, it’s worth it.

So how do you take charge of meeting new people?

  1. Start by figuring out why you want to meet new people.

group of friends at a long table, drinking beer together

 

Are you looking for people to collaborate with? To chill over beers? To hike, bike, or jog with? The reasons behind why you want to meet new people will, in part, dictate where and how you go about meeting folks.

 

  1. Think about where this type of person might be found.

If you want to meet a hiking partner, you might focus on places where other hikers seem likely to be. Where I live, this might be on actual trails, at outdoor stores, at gyms . . . You get the idea. If you’re looking for business collaboration, some of the best places to meet people might be professional workshops, relevant lectures, or networking events. Figure out where the people you want to meet are likely to be.

  1. Get to where the people are.

exercise bikes and elliptical machines at the gym

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t get out much, change that. Maybe you’ll join a gym. Maybe you’ll start going to brown bag lunch seminars. Whatever. The point is to get out there and put yourself where you’ll actually be around the people you want to meet.

 

  1. Introduce, converse, invite.

This is the hard part for most of us. You’ve figured out why you want to meet new people, and you’ve put yourself in a situation where that can be fulfilled. Now you have to actually act on it.

Walk up to someone, or turn to the person next to you, and introduce yourself. Simply and sincerely. Start a conversation. The conversation is important. It helps you each get to know each other a little. If you think this is someone you want to get to know better, extend an invitation. It might be best to suggest just coffee, but, if the conversation’s going very well, you might be able to suggest more — that hike, for instance.

There will be times this doesn’t work. That the other person declines and has no interest in getting together. That’s okay. You want to bring new people into your life, not all people.

And if you aren’t sure how to start a conversation, stay tuned. That will be the focus of a future post.

3 thoughts on “How to take charge of meeting new people

    • I’m sure you have things to contribute to conversation. Being able to do so comfortably is something else entirely. But I have *never* met someone who didn’t have something interesting they could talk about.

    • I think the most important point to remember is that most people feel just like you do. They want to be accepted. They feel awkward meeting new people. They’re afraid they’re going to say something stupid.

      When you remember that, you can approach an encounter with empathy, which is a very powerful emotion. Don’t worry about what you can contribute to a conversation. Ask questions. People love to talk about themselves if they believe someone is truly interested. Ask questions, listen, then ask more questions based on those responses. Before you know it, you’re having a conversation!

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