Making the first move is a dirty job but somebody’s got to do it.
When you feel the urge to connect with someone and strike up the nerve to do it, you’re almost always thankful when you do.
But when you don’t, you’re left wondering what could’ve been.
Some of us were bestowed with the gift of gab and have no issues talking to a complete stranger. But maybe the rest of us who have this problem bought into our parents’ warning to not talk to strangers.
Whatever the reason, the main culprit behind our reluctance to talk to that attractive person is fear.
But here are the two things to bear in mind that will help to make your conversations with strangers go smoothly.
1. Embrace whatever you’re feeling
Let’s break down the process into the Antecedent, Behavior and Consequences (or ABCs) of behavior.
The antecedent is that you’re at an event and you see someone that seems kind of cool. Your behavior is that you worry that something bad is going to happen and you feel fear. As a consequence, you do nothing and you miss out on getting to know someone. You might even beat yourself up for not doing anything.
The secret is to allow yourself to feel the fear because it is perfectly natural for it to be there. Whenever you do something new, there is always a feeling of worry. But you know you have to just do it in order to learn or have the experience. This is no different.
Not to mention the fact that the person you want to approach will probably be nervous too because they don’t know what to expect either.
You think your awkwardness will throw them off but in reality, it could allow them to feel more at ease because they feel awkward too.
2. This is not a performance
It is not your job to impress them and it’s not their job to entertain you. To quote Carl Jung, “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”
Therefore, the goal of this conversation is not to get a number or to gauge whether or not this person is your future spouse or a potential friend.
The goal of the conversation is to have a conversation. The goal is to let the chemicals react to one another.
If the reaction is a beneficial one, only then would you ask if they would like to continue talking. However, if you came into the interaction with an ulterior motive, you could be having a tepid if not terrible conversation but still ask for the number of someone you simply don’t connect with.
Imagine if you saw someone and your brain hatched the notion that they were your potential partner. There would be less fear because you’d be moving with the confidence that your mind was right, but you miss all the red flags because of a delusion.
This is the thing with the mind. When it projects fear, it is usually wrong. When it projects confidence, it is usually wrong. The mind is usually wrong.
However, if you feel fear in your gut or throughout your body, listen to that because that is your intuition.
This is why the conversation is the goal in and of itself. Not only does it help you to see the truth of who is in front of you and then take appropriate action thereafter, there is also less pressure on you because the goal has already been achieved.
Hate to break it to you but it turns out humans are social creatures after all. As introverted as I am, I have initiated conversations and have lived to tell the tales. It’s also why I will at least look a stranger in the eye and say hello when we’re close to each other.
I’m thankful I did too because those relationships are still going strong to this day. The only one that went belly-up was the one where I had an ulterior motive.
So the next time you see someone cool, just feel whatever emotion is coming up and talk. If they’re human, they’ll be thankful.