11 Ways To Click With Everyone You Meet, No Matter What
Heading out to a party, networking event, or even your everyday office can pose some social anxiety and stress. You might be a people person, but if you find it hard to click with people you meet, leaving the comfort of your cozy apartment could be uncomfortable. It's hard trying to win over the favor and friendship of strangers — what do you need to say to keep them interested?
You might have a bunch of great stories stocked up, some entertaining jokes in your back pocket, or interesting current events you can chat over, but does that ensure that you actually connect? It often seems like it takes a lot more to walk away with a new friend, and the steps on how to win someone over are often murky and mystifying. But in reality, everyone likes the same thing: They want their friends to make them feel special and happy. Chances are all your friends make you feel interesting and worth knowing, so if you bolster that same feeling onto others, it'll be a snap to connect.
Below are 11 tips to connect with anyone you meet — all you need is a curiosity towards others, and you're in.
1. Plaster A Smile On Your Face
Don't underestimate the power of a friendly smile. Even if you don't feel like your pep-o-meter is at a 100 percent, make an effort to keep a smile going as you're chatting. Mara Opperman, a relationship etiquette expert, explains in an email to Bustle, "A smile communicates friendliness, kindness and trustworthiness. It makes you appear approachable. Smiling also helps show people that you are enthusiastic and genuinely interested in them." If you light up over something they share with you, you'll make them feel interesting and heard.
2. Act Genuinely Interested
If you feel shy or annoyed venturing out and meeting new people, change your feelings by keeping one simple thing in mind: Everyone is hella interesting if you only give them the chance to be. Business writer Lolly Daskal from Inc. explained, "Everyone — everyone — has something unique to offer. Find out what makes people who they are." If you keep that in mind, approaching people will feel more like an adventure to find entertaining stories, and you'll approach groups with interest and purpose.
3. Keep That Eye Contact Strong
While staring unblinkingly into the soul of your companion might sound like a bit much, keeping strong eye contact is important when you're trying to click with someone. Fight the urge to glance around the bar or office, and give them your full attention. Opperman advises, "When meeting new people and starting conversations, it's important to maintain eye contact. It shows interest in what they are saying. If you look distracted or are looking at other things, it makes the other person feel that what they are saying is uninteresting." Just imagine if the person you're talking with kept glancing at the TV over your head or was cruising for other people in the room. You wouldn't feel warm and fuzzy towards them.
4. Find Something In Common
While it's true that opposites attract, starting a budding relationship is easy when you find some common ground. Daskal recommended, "When you meet someone, try to find something that connects you to similar backgrounds, values, experiences." Searching for those similarities lets you bond and build upward from there.
5. Always Ask Questions
People love to talk about themselves, but more importantly, firing off questions hints to them that you're interested in what they're saying and want to learn more about them. And if the person feels good while being around you, they'll feel like they're clicking with you. Opperman offers, "It's also important to focus on getting to know the other person. Ask them questions about themselves without getting overly personal. Asking people questions show that you are truly interested in them." So after they share a story or an anecdote, always jump in with follow up questions that will keep the experience unraveling.
6. Treat Them Like An Old Friend
If you want to make someone feel instantly comfortable and accepted, approach them like you've been getting coffee for years. Mental health site PositiveMed explained, "Even when meeting for the first time treat them like an old friend. This will cause subconscious reactions in your body, your voice will soften, and your face will be friendly." They'll appreciate your warm behavior and feel like the two of you really have a connection.
7. Use Their Name Frequently
There's nothing nicer than hearing a new acquaintance use your name over and over. It not only shows that they'll remember you, but that they're somewhat invested in you already. PositiveMed shared, "Use proper names in conversation, it helps develop a connection between you. It’s widely believed that most people prefer to be addressed with their names more than any other word." There's also a bonus to this: If you use their name frequently after first meeting, you'll actually remember it!
8. Radiate Enthusiasm
If you're a person that lives with passion, it spills out and attracts others because those good vibes are inspiring. People will want to be around you and naturally wander over. Daskal pointed out, "Knowing what you really care about and why lets you tap into your own enthusiasm. Upbeat people are inherently likable, and those who radiate enthusiasm tend to click with others." So use a vibrant voice, be open with your hand gestures, and talk about what excites you.
9. Listen More Than You Talk
While it might seem like you need to keep up a steady stream of jokes and stories in order to keep the person across from you entertained, the opposite is actually true. What you actually need to do is kick back and let them do all the work. Remember, people love to talk about themselves. PositiveMed advised, "Listen to others and learn from them, everyone has something to offer you, no matter who they are or where they come from. Keep a ratio of 80:20, listen 80 percent of the time and talk 20 percent of the time." By being an attentive listener, your new friend will feel like you're genuinely interested in them and like they're entertaining and special. It's a win for all.
10. Don't Over-Relate
When someone is speaking, resist the urge to jump in and relate their points back to you. It might seem like it'd be a great bonding experience (oh, no way, me too!) but in reality it just feels like you're hijacking the conversation. Business writer Graham Young from Entrepreneur explained, "You can't build trust with someone if they feel that every time they start talking, you are going to jump in. Not only does it interrupt their focus and retract their emotional investment in the conversation, but going forward they will be hesitant to talk at all." Not something you're aiming to do.
11. Avoid Filler Comments Like The Plague
While exclaiming things like "cool!" or "oh wow!" might seem encouraging, often times they signal a wandering mind. Young pointed out, "Filler comments are typical things we say to show someone that we are listening such as 'yeah,' 'oh cool,' 'gotcha,' 'interesting,' etc. However, when they are used to pretend like you're listening, it can be very obvious and distracting." Skip over the canned phrases and react with genuine emotions and questions. Don't be lazy in your conversation — really try to connect.
While not everyone will walk away with an application to be your new BFF, these simple tips will help you click with just about anyone.