I’ve spent the last couple days up north camping with my extended family. In previous years I’d been extremely bored there, but this year was different. This year I made the decision to take advantage of all the unique people, and experiences I don’t normally have access to in my typical daily routine.
In the last 24 hours I’ve picked the brains of a performing magician, financial advisor, hardcore KISS collector, and a random couple who travel in their RV. The Kiss collector, and financial advisor are part of my family, but the magician and couple I talked to were random strangers I approached and talked to.
Because of my willingness to talk with them I was able to hear a firsthand account of what being a full-time performing magician is actually like, was given a business card and told to contact him if I ever had questions, and was given the opportunity to chat with and explore the inside of a random couple’s RV.
Maybe this isn’t a big deal to other people, but as someone who’s just beginning to shed the title of lifelong introvert it’s been absolutely incredible for me.
I’ve always known people loved to talk about themselves, but because of my extreme shyness I was always too scared to approach random people and pick their brains.
Although I’ve still got a long way to go before earning the title of social butterfly, I’ve really focused on this area of my life this summer. If you consider yourself shy, or talking to strangers makes you feel uncomfortable don’t let that stop you.
There’s tons of interesting people you’ve never met before who’d love to share their knowledge with you, but if you aren’t willing to initiate conversations with them they’ll never know you’re interested.
I’m not a master of social dynamics by any means, but picking the brains of strangers isn’t exactly rocket science. From seeing someone you’re interested in meeting, to being deep in conversation with them, and possibly collecting their contact information afterwards requires the following of only a few simple steps.
If you’re struggling with talking to strangers because you think it’s weird, realize and accept that it’s not. It’s only be weird if you make it weird. People love talking about themselves, so if you’re willing to listen it’s a win/win situation.
Once you see someone you’re interested in meeting approach them immediately. For one this’ll prevent you from making justifications on how you don’t want to bother them, or why you don’t “really” want to talk with them. In addition it prevents you from hovering around them and putting off a massively creepy vibe.
Tell them you’re really interested in “x” subject, compliment them, then ask if they’d be willing to answer a few questions about “x.” For example, earlier today I told the couple I was really interested in RV living, told them I though it was super cool that they traveled in it, then politely asked if they’d be willing to show me the inside and answer a few of my questions. My logic for the above procedure is simple.
Telling them you’re interested in “x” shows them your intentions aren’t creepy, and that you’re simply curious.
Complimenting them (though only complimenting if it’s genuine) is great because it shows you care about them enough to notice “y” characteristic of them, and makes them feel better about themselves.
Once you’ve done the above two steps, asking them if they’d be willing to answer a few of your questions on “x” is the next logical step as it allows for a natural progression of the conversation.
If it seems appropriate and you’d like to keep in contact with them just ask at the end of the conversation. Something as simple as: It was super interesting talking with you and I’d love to keep in touch. Where can I contact you? The worst thing they can do is say no.
I think the important thing to realize is that although there’s interesting people and potential connections to be found almost everywhere, it doesn’t matter if you’re not willing to initiate conversations and make the connections.
My sleep schedule has been erratic lately because of camping so I apologize if the wording or structure of the post is somewhat funky. I hope you were able to take something from this regardless! 🙂
[grwebform url=”http://app.getresponse.com/view_webform.js?wid=12610802&u=BS1kr” css=”on” center=”off” center_margin=”200″/]