Turning Strangers into Friends

Learning to make conversation with new people can be the first step to making many new friends. It takes time and effort to turn casual strangers into friends.

By: Royane Real

Do you find it easy to make conversation with people you’ve just met? Or does the thought of trying to make conversation with someone new make you break out in a cold sweat?

If you don’t feel comfortable making casual conversation with people you have just met, you will find it harder to make new friends. You will also find it more difficult to fit in at your work place.

One of the most common reasons that people have difficulty making conversation with someone they don’t know very well is that they put too much pressure on themselves.

Many people think that whenever they meet someone new, they have to say something really interesting and brilliant, right from the beginning, even before they know the other person very well. They think they have to put up a great performance to impress the other person. They don’t let themselves be ordinary, and talk about fairly ordinary things.

Here’s a very important lesson to learn about making conversation with people: Insisting that you have to be brilliant and dazzling in all your conversations will not win you new friends. It will not even improve your conversational performance.

When you think that you have to perform perfectly in all your conversations, you will actually make your performance worse! You will become too nervous and awkward, and you’ll be too focused on your own performance. You won’t be focused on getting to know the new person you’ve just met.

New people that you meet are not looking for brilliant conversation. What they are looking for is someone with whom they are comfortable and fun to talk to. Most of all they are looking for someone who seems interested in them!

For conversational success, it’s more important to be a good listener than to be a great talker.

When you begin talking to a person, you can use your immediate surroundings or the weather as a basis for a few starting remarks.

If you want to know that person better, quickly move on to a slightly more personal level of discussion. Ask a few basic questions and offer a little bit of information about yourself, such as your likes or dislikes, or your opinion on a neutral topic. Notice whether the person lights up with interest about any topics you’ve mentioned. This can give you interesting areas for both of you to discuss.

Even if it seems somewhat difficult and awkward for you in the beginning, develop the habit of introducing yourself to others as soon as you meet, or very early in the conversation. Otherwise, you could spend hours talking and neither of you will have any idea of your conversation partner’s name.

Socially confident people introduce themselves very early in the course of conversation. People who are shy or socially awkward tend to introduce themselves much later, or not at all. Rarely do they volunteer their own name or ask the name of the other person.

You might find it easier to ask the other person’s name first, and then offer your own. If you practice the new behavior enough times, it will eventually become second nature to you. With enough practice, it will no longer seem intimidating to take a more active role. The important thing is to develop the habit of starting small conversations with many more people. Look for the interests you have in common.

If you want to be more socially successful, take the initiative and introduce yourself to new people and get the conversational ball rolling. Don’t hold back and let other people make all the first moves. If you have been holding back, waiting for other people to do all the work , you are shirking your responsibility in making the relationship move forward. Show interest in other people. Smile. Listen. Look at the person you’re talking with.

When you start talking to new people, don’t strive for great dialogue, or the perfect opening lines. Just get started, and keep on talking. Practice making conversations with a lot of new people. You will eventually improve.

Don’t decide that you’re a failure if the encounter doesn’t turn into a great friendship. The truth is that the majority of conversations between new people don’t really go anywhere. That’s all right. It takes time and effort to turn casual strangers into friends.

Remember, that all of your present friends were strangers until you started talking and found that you shared common interests. Learning to make conversation with new people can be the first step to making many new friends.

 

About The Author:

This article was written by conversation expert Royane Real. Do you want more tips on how to improve your conversation skills to make new friends? Download the special report “Your Guide to Making Friendly Conversation” at http://www.lulu.com/real.