Depending on your personality: introvert vs. extrovert, meeting new people, making new friends and breaking the ice can be easy or difficult. Centering on comfort and confidence, the degree of difficulty is often connected to your interpersonal skills and the social situation. Avoid kicking it in the corner or experiencing awkward moments by following rule number one: find a commonality.
Before reading on, take a moment to examine your personality and the way(s) in which you approach new and/or changing social conditions — on a personal and professional level. Draw similarities. Note differences. Make comparisons.
Beyond small talk and corny compliments, check out the following ways to maintain a conversation and build a relationship when meeting someone for the first time.
The Single Mingle
It’s always intimidating to navigate a social event solo. First things first, read the room, look for another individual in the same position and make an introduction in a cool and casual way. If no one is rocking the solo vibe too, take part in some sort of (available) activity. For example, grab a drink, participate in a raffle, watch the performance (and so on). Along the way, you’re bound to share a laugh or exchange words with someone else at the scene — whether they’re there for work or leisure.
Turn the two-word one-off into a full conversation by taking interest in the person (or their role) and asking a question. Cover the fab five basics: who, what, where, when, why (and how). Stuck on the same subject? Change to a go to topic: travel, family or sports. Heading into the weekend? Touch on upcoming plans.
The Waiting Game
If you’re a wallflower on the regular slash waiting for someone else to make the first move, keep your phone, ear buds and other devices out of reach. True story: it’s likely you won’t get approached if you are plugged in. In addition to keeping your hands free, attract others by making eye contact, wearing a smile, expressing open body language and presenting a pulled-together look.
If waiting and wasting time isn’t working for you, start to chat with someone who falls within at least one of the following categories:
• An individual who is similar in age
• An individual who is similar in style
• An individual who is considered a personal or professional acquaintance
• An individual who is considered an inspiration or influence
Everyone at some point or another has insecurity in a social setting if they are by themselves. Follow these steps and you will be breaking the ice in no time.