Most people don’t find it all that easy to make friends with people they’ve just met. You may feel uncomfortable and worried about striking up a casual conversation with someone you have just met. Often, you can feel that way because you put too much pressure on yourself, feeling that you have to be witty and clever whenever you speak, in order for people to like you. That is just not the case.
It is true to say that first impressions are important and that you will want to make a good first impression on those people with whom you make friends; however, if you appear to be trying too hard to impress, this can backfire on you as you may appear false. It may sound hard to do, but the best impression you can make on a person you are meeting for the first time is to genuinely be yourself. After all, you can’t keep up an act forever, and if this person is genuinely going to make friends with you, they need to see you for who you really are.
When you make your first conversation with a stranger, don’t feel that you have to talk about anything important or complex. Actually, if you do, it could put off the other person. Instead, keep the talk light, simple and positive. You can always talk about the weather, but also, your immediate surroundings are always good for conversation starters. You could remark upon the dÃ©cor, or some aspect of it! You could talk about whether you have ever been there before, etc.
Compliments are also very well received when you first try to make friends with people. However, they should be genuine and also not too suggestive or sexual. “You look good” is light enough to be well received by most people.
The main point about that first conversation you have with a stranger is you should say something to which the other person can easily respond. Preferably make it an open question which can’t just be answered with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’; that way, the conversation will continue and you can find out a few things about the other person which may stimulate further conversation.
In order to make the best impression on a new person, you should appear genuinely interested in them, but not too inquisitive. To achieve this, you need to carefully listen to the other person when they talk. Smile, nod your agreement in the right places and patiently give them time to finish without feeling hurried. Then, demonstrate how well you were listening to them by picking up on a point they made.
You could ask a supplementary question to learn some more or you could share something of yourself. Sharing works particularly well if you have experienced the same thing the other person just told you about. Don’t be false and manufacture agreement where you don’t feel any, but don’t openly disagree this early on after meeting. If you really can’t agree, ask a supplementary, non-judgemental question, from which you might learn to understand their point of view better.
You should make sure, if you don’t know the other person’s name before the meeting, that you introduce yourself by name early on. This is important at setting people at ease and is vital if you want to make friends. Once the introductions are over with, you can ask some simple questions but don’t be too probing at this stage. Also, be sure to share some things about yourself too. Don’t turn the conversation into an interrogation.
In order to know where to direct the conversation after that, watch the reactions of the person you are talking to. Steer clear of apparently sensitive topics and concentrate on those for which the other person shows some happy enthusiasm.
Just these few tips will help you make friends and have people wanting to get to know you better.