Start a conversation at ease

This photo was taken somewhere in San Diego Old Town. I like the relaxed laid-back feeling exuded from this picture.

I have some opportunities to contact people and get to know new persons in church, in our neighborhood, and many other occasions.  However, for too many times, I let the chances slip by.  I avoid eye contacts with people and pretend to be in a hurry by quickening up my walking steps, sending a clear signal to others of leaving me alone.  Although with time going by, I am getting better and better. But there is still a lot of room to improve.

On the one hand, I am eager to make new friends; on the other hand, I lack confidence and feel awkward to do so.  Dilemma… I am clear about what’s the right thing I should do, but…it really takes a lot of courage to start a conversation.  I am so jealous of those people person, for whom talking to a stranger is just out of like part of their nature, as effortless as drinking water or eating food.

Anyway, action speaks louder than words.  I know I have to take action.  No alternative…in order to live a fulfilling life.  Therefore, I searched on Internet managing to find some clues about how to start a conversation at ease.  So far as good.  I found several useful advices, and my social confidence seems run higher.  Here’s the summary of the practical advices:-

1.  Be friendly.  In this article, the author made a very good point by saying the golden rule of starting a conversation as being friendly.  Upon starting a conversation, our goal is not to impress, it is to show that we are relaxed and socialable persons who want to have an enjoyable chat.  That’s the best way to engage another person in a conversation.  Show your friendliness in the following simple ways:-

  • Smiling and holding eye contact
  • Breathing regularly and relaxing your body
  • Keeping your posture open and non-threateningly.

Easy, right?  But I confess that it takes a lot of guts to follow these simple rules.  That’s the first small step, and it will surely open up the welcoming door of the whole world of making friends.

2.  Be genuine.  When start to talk to someone, comfort ourselves first and then show our genuine interest and curiosity in him or her.  Don’t prejudge a person by his or her appearance.  Don’t talk to anyone with an attempt in our heart to find out what this person may be helpful for our future careers.   Start the conversation with the simple unsophisticated intent that we want to know more of this person, we want to be friends with him or her if possible.  It’s simple because when it is drilled down to the essence, it is one human being talks to another equal peer.  In this way, we’ll find the true pleasure of chatting.

3.  Be motivated.  Practice! Practice! Practice! Take any chance to polish the skills. Small chat will do. In the check-out line at a grocery store, on the train or bus, in church, at work, etc. etc. everywhere provides an opportunity.  Just talk, talk, and talk.  Everyone is like a book, talking to people is like reading books, which enriches our minds and expand our experiences through understanding what others have been experienced.  I am pretty impressed by this author’s example
of her own experience when she was an eight-year-old little girl:-

 I remember when I was eight, a new girl moved in three houses away. The day she arrived, I marched over there, knocked, and asked “Can the little girl come out and play?” She ended up being my first “best friend.” (Hmmm, I wonder if my mom encouraged me to do that?)

This is inspiring.  Why do we find it is difficult to start a conversation? Why can’t we just act like a little kid?  Because we are adults, we have a lot of intangible burdens upon us: embarrassment, fear of rejection, failure, etc. etc. all kinds of negative self-humiliations.  What should we do? The answer is self-evident: don’t let those humiliations disturb us.

4. Be yourself.  One morning, I complained to hubby, “What should I do?  I am such an introvert.  I felt so uneasy to deal with people.”  Hubby replied,”Being an introvert is not an issue.  Just accept the fact as is.  Being an introvert but whining about it and feel interior because of it is a big issue.” So true.  Can’t agree more.

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