Meeting new people is always an adventure, filled with opportunities to expand our social circle as well as the occasional challenge, like feeling uncomfortable around strangers. By practicing a few conversational strategies, we can all get the most out of any social event.
Join a club or group whose sole purpose is to build a community around common interests. Book clubs, sewing groups, and cooking groups work especially well for these purposes because the activities themselves fuel most of the conversation, even among strangers. Social chatter will naturally follow, enabling participants to build friendships outside of official group events.
Attend cocktail parties, networking events, and mixers by yourself, arms with a plan to make one or two new contacts before you leave. To work the room like the most vivacious of social butterflies, always position yourself with “open” body language, by turning your shoulders toward each person you speak to and uncrossing your arms. This form of nonverbal communication shows others that you are approachable and friendly.
When you initiate a new conversation in any social situation, bypass commonly-asked questions like, “Where are you from?” in favor of questions like, “What’s your favorite thing about this city?” or “What books or movies do you recommend and why?”
These will yield interesting information that you can bond over in future encounters.