3. Search for and call out “me too” moments
Humans are tribal creatures at heart. We trust and like people who are similar to us. We distrust those who are different.
Leverage this by highlighting anything your conversational partner shares that you’ve also had an experience of. These “me too” moments show we are both from the same tribe. We feel a sense of familiarity with the other person and warm up to them quickly. It also creates a sense of rapport naturally.
You can do this by:
- Asking for someone’s opinion about a situation, then focus on finding similarities between what you agree on and what they’re sharing.
- Once your conversational partner has shared something, ask “why?”. It encourages people to give you longer answers with more information.
- Assume that you are likable and that they are enjoying the conversation. If you find social situations daunting, we have a tendency to assume the worst: “they find me boring, I’m boring, I have nothing to share.” Instead, tell yourself that you connect to them as a human being, and focus all your attention on finding areas of similarity.
Once you’ve spotted a “me too” moment and called it out, immediately there is a greater connection.
4. Assume the other person is as anxious as you
We underestimate how anxious other people are. The World Health Organisation found that almost 300 million of us experience anxiety. That’s a lot of people.
There’s a strong possibility that the person in front of you is feeling a bit nervous. Realizing this increases our compassion towards them. We want to help them feel better.
We can do this by focusing all of our attention on the other person. Because you’re actively looking to learn more about them, you can’t help but start to connect in a meaningful way. Or, you discover that they’re not someone you want to connect with anyway, which gives you the freedom to move on.
By shifting the focus away from yourself, you feel less self-conscious and nervous. The conversation flows.
You’re able to be present at the moment and actively respond to what they’re saying. You begin to pick up on conversational gems and dive into them, such as the fleeting mention of their holiday to Portugal three years ago.
5. Be proactive
Jessica Pan in her wonderful book Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come spoke to a psychologist who makes an excellent point: nobody waves… but everyone waves back.
If you want to have meaningful connections in your life, actively seek them out. Expanding your horizons and stepping out of your comfort zone to meet people in new areas can lead to exciting opportunities.
Set yourself a time limit, say 3 months, and commit to connecting with a core group of people. This is the time to start those art classes you’ve thought about at 4 pm on a Sunday or to volunteer with a charity that’s helping homeless people.
Following what you’re interested in or passionate about is a great way to connect with like-minded people.
Once you’ve started to grow those fragile connections, nourish them by being the friend you always wanted to have. Remember birthdays and send cards. Schedule monthly reminders to message people. Spend an evening writing postcards to everyone you know.
Soon it will feel natural initiating contact. You’ll be the person in charge of your social life.
We like people who we think like us. Dare to be friendly.
Humans are social creatures. Having meaningful connections in your life is fundamental to your happiness. Because introverts tend to take their time forming friendships, try not to put a lot of pressure on yourself. You are doing the best you can, and that’s perfectly okay. The connections will come exactly when they are meant to (and possibly when you least expect them too!).
Written By Steve Friedman
Originally Appeared On Beyond Introversion