Got this email from a reader yesterday, maybe you can relate:
“The things that are most difficult for me are: interacting with people/meeting new people, being myself around other people/letting other people know what I like (music, movies, etc). And being independent.”
I had the same issues with meeting new people for my entire childhood, but finally got over the fear with a couple months effort. Now I can talk to basically anybody and act authentic around them.
Being comfortable with who you are, and using that comfort to connect with people like they’re already friends is one of the most valuable skills you can pick up.
If you want to break out of your comfort zone and get better at talking to people, I’d recommend doing what I did:
1. Read How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes
The book basically gives you a set of guidelines to use when talking to people. To build a baseline, I took each suggestion and tried to implement it into one conversation a day. I used my circle of friends because I didn’t want to talk to anyone new.
After a couple months of practicing being myself and finding ways to act that I was comfortable with (ones that also got the desired reactions from people) I was ready to move to the next step:
2. Talk to three strangers every day for 30 days
I’d go to malls, walk up to random people and say hi.
It was terrifying, but I told my friends what I was doing, and they forced me to keep going, they even joined in for some of the approaches.
You can talk to new people about whatever you want: most of the time I’d start with “that’s a cool shirt, where did you get it?” and let their reactions/feedback lead the conversations. This is where the practice from step one really pays off.
After running both steps I became a lot better at meeting new people and sharing interests with them. The training I’ve outlined above has made me friends, business contacts and girlfriends. You could get the same results if you do something similar.
Hope this helps!
Let me know in the comments: Do you ever struggle to meet and interact with strangers? If so, what strategies have you used to get better?
Alex Berman runs Following the Rules, a site that helps you live a richer, more fulfilling life right out of college. Check out his free guide 20 Life Changing (And Cheap) Experiences to have in the Next Three Months and start dominating your bucket list.