On the weekend, I attended a birthday celebration for my husband's best friend. Although I know the couple well and have met their other friends a few times, we are not really part of their "group of friends" as we live a good drive away (and most of these other friends all live on their street), so I found myself surrounded by people who knew each well and were deep in conversation.
I'm regarded as an "extrovert" so I'm supposed to like people and be able to start a conversation with people I don't know or don't know well easily, right? Wrong. Introverts, take solace, even us extroverts still shy away from initiating conversations, especially when we feel like the odd (wo)man out. I find it especially jarring in these types of situations where I pride myself on creating connections and it's very clear I'm far behind the others who have created connections already.
Luckily, there were a few others like me and, luckily, I wrote some tips on just this situation for my clients a few years ago, so I dug it up (from memory, of course, or else that would be a little weird and then make it pretty justifiable why I didn't have anyone to talk to. :)
Hope you find some of these tips helpful!
Conversations Starters and Stoppers
It can be nerve-wracking walking into a situation where you don’t really know anybody, whether it is at a conference or a spouse’s work function. The good news is you’re probably not alone and there are others who feel the exact same way you do. Rather than be the one who waits for someone to come talk to you, take the opportunity to initiate the conversation. Who knows? You might end up making a new business contact or even a new best friend.
The number one tip is to be natural! However, for some of us our “natural” tendencies are to avoid starting conversations with strangers at all costs, so here is a list of tips to help you start and continue conversations with people you’ve just met or don’t know very well.
If all of these fail, there's always Flip Cup. There seems to be a direct correlation between the flow of alcohol and the flow of conversations. However, what do you do in situation where liquid courage isn't advisable? Any tips to add?
Oh my, how did it get to be March 2014 already! I have had many blog posts swirling in my head; however, to get them down on paper (figuratively) has been quite difficult due to a number of different factors (which is probably a whole other blog post on the subject of time management and prioritizing!). Until I can properly flesh out some of these posts, I had to write a quick post influenced by one of my favourite guilty pleasures: Big Brother (Canada)!
Tonight, Big Brother Canada Season 2 kicked off. While I fully recognize how ridiculous reality television is, I have to say that I love watching the interpersonal and team dynamics play out. Tonight, in the first episode, I was struck by how this "team" of strangers quickly fell in line with Bruce Tuckman's Stages of Team Development. The first stage, "Forming", everyone is full of hope, excitement, and positivity. Because people don't really know each other during this stage, everyone is still exchanging pleasantries and are on their best behaviour. If you watched the episode (don't worry, I won't tell anyone), you heard a lot of squealing and laughing and lots lots of smiles and politeness. Alas, as they say, all good things must come to an end--which takes us to our next stage: "Storming" (another post perhaps?).
And, this, friends, is what makes us for good TV.