I was asked by a friend to write about where to meet new people. The topic instantly took me back to my Twitter rant (@goddess_I) this past weekend on networking. I can’t tell you how many networking events I’ve been to in my young life, but I have yet to leave one not feeling like a cyborg. I burned my elevator speech the very day teachers told me to write it. How unnatural, how awkward, how ineffective is networking at times- the ironic part- people commend me on my networking skills. What skills though?
I like to compare networking to dating and approaching new people. There is only so much advice one can give regarding where to find dating prospects so there comes a time when you gotta pull up those big boy/girl pants and get out there. That’s right, unrehearsed and un-scripted fam!
The fact is you can meet new people anywhere, yes anywhere. I once bobbed and weaved through supermarket aisles hoping this old highschool crush wouldn’t see me looking grocery store-raggedy, did it work? Not a chance. This boy chased and chased until we decided to go out 2 months later. There is also this one time in bandcamp I met someone new back in the day while I religiously folded tshirts at a retail gig. The store staff knew not to take any of the dudes who approach us in the mall seriously, well one day I did and haven’t looked back since
I’m aware that some of us are at different levels. I’m an introvert the very thought of speed dating and singles events make my stomach turn. I’d rather do things the old fashioned way: hook up, go out and have a soul connecting conversation, one-on-one. Because of this I have the tendency to alienate myself from new social experiences because I like things a certain way (totally working on this btw). There is also the other end of the spectrum where you have folks who are blessed times ten with the gift of gab yet their traps won’t shut and the other person gets turned off because they can’t get a word in edge wise.
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Whoever you are, don’t change, just be aware and accommodating. I can get into corny-free ways to approach and hook a first date in another post but for now, here are my 5 awkward-free tips for meeting new people:
- Learn how to laugh: Nothing is more attractive than a beautiful smile and the sound of a hearty laugh; yes even the Fran Drescher laugh is attractive to somebody. When we laugh we instantly break the ice and help the conversation flow.
- Switch up your routine: One of the most common traits found in folks with dating dry spells is that they are a living breathing dry spell. Take an alternate way home; make a spontaneous trip downtown to go shopping, go to the gym on a night you don’t usually go, visit a store or restaurant you’ve wanted to try out. Break your routine, this also helps with stalkers (don’t ask me how I know aite!)
- Stop gluing yourself to your friends every time you go out: I see it all the time, don’t make the person you go to an event with the only person you have a conversation with. Turn around and ask the person beside you what they think about xyz? Or include the cutie you keep sneaking looks at in your conversation. Your friend is not there to babysit you and if single they may want to talk to someone else too.
- Plan an outing every month/week with different sets of friends: The only way to meet new people is to friend swing. If you hang out with the same damn people and do the same damn thing with them all the time you limit yourself in the social arena. Hook up with a friend from college you haven’t seen in a while, hang out with a family member who has been nagging about spending QT, hang out with someone who you know is into a totally different scene, you may enjoy it- challenge yourself socially.
- Listen without interrupting: This is for my extroverted chatty loveable folks. I see you all the time hogging that spotlight. Take a breather, ask questions, and ask for opinions and feedback on whatever it is you choose to spark a conversation about. Remember you don’t want to change you just want to make sure the person on the receiving end is comfortable too, a lot of people won’t tell you if you’re talking too much, it’s up to you the social butterfly to make sure the other person gets a word in too.
Bonus: Meetup.com is a great site for meeting new people with similar interests in public places (safety first!). I’ve attended a few relationship and writer groups, it was something new and different. I may start up a group of my own soon…local readers stay tuned for news on that
I hope this post helps sparks some ideas. You don’t have to be up in the club every weekend and you definitely don’t have to change your interests or personality to attract new and uplifting people into your life. It’s all about expanding on what works and putting the best qualities you bring to the table out there. Law of attraction baby! Happy socializing, the snow has not hit yet- now GIT!
Are you still terrified to go out there and show face on the dating scene? It’s cool, I’ve had cold feet before, let’s chat one-on-one! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me on Facebook or Twitter.
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