Meeting New People 101

Two summary points from the postmodernist view of society:

  • Media
  • Consumeristic

(Source: https://revisesociology.com/2016/04/09/from-modernity-to-post-modernity/)

The advancement of technology and social media has led to huge growth in usage and the creation of new networks. So now there’s more reliance on the media which allows people to connect all with people over the world within the privacy of their home.

Last but not least, consumerism. There’s such a wide range of products and services available to us now and leisure tends to be more important than working.

The first two factors can sometimes make keeping in contact difficult but on the flip side, they all give way to new opportunities.

Good Places to Talk to/Meet People (or maybe make friends):

  • Clubs/extracurricular activities – find people you have things in common with and depending on the activity, get fit at the same time!
  • Gyms/sports centres (kinda the same as the above)
  • Volunteering/work – gain experience, have something to put on your CV/personal statement, be productive while helping others (bonus: it might make you feel more positive too)
  • Book shops/libraries/comic book shops – surrounded by things to talk about,  you can release your inner nerd
  • Pubs/bars/restaurants/takeaways – I’ve not yet gone to a bar but the lovely Burmese lady who does the best Chinese takeaways likes me (my order is always the same: egg fried rice)
  • Parks – when my mum walks our 9 month old golden labrador she often bumps into the same group of dog owners there and they talk about dogs unsurprisingly
  • Concerts/festivals – I really want to go to one so I would love to hear your experiences!
  • School/college/uniI’ve always been told the friends you’ll end up with are the ones you make at uni but I’m not there yet so I can’t say
  • Online – e.g. in gaming, YouTube etc. I’ve made a friend through the former

Soo pretty much anywhere.

When face to face in an unfamiliar setting I generally wait for someone else to initiate a conversation because I’m too shy but my general tips for starting a conversation and keeping it up are:

  • Make use of the situation – E.g. offer to carry some stuff if it looks like they’re struggling and maybe it’ll lead to a chat. Or suggest a similar book to/comment on what book they picked up.
  • Read body language before initiating/make sure you are approachable – probably obvious but important. I usually attempt a brief smile when I say hi
  • Clear voice and friendly tone – If you start with a joke it’s got to sound like you’re not being too serious…I’m frequently guilty of mumbling and I also struggle at sounding genuine or not mean sometimes
  • Polite/adjusting what kind of things you say according to their personality – I’d rather be safe than come off as pushy or rude. Small risks could pay off, you never know. Sometimes you’re able to figure out what their sense of humour is, for example
  • Be attentive and relevant and try to balance what you say with how much they say – nothing is more awkward than misremembering a detail like their name if you end up hitting it off. I have a rubbish memory so after the conversation, I may note down key points. Oversharing is just as bad as undersharing
  • Try not to give closed answers/give them something to work with – E.g. elaborate on why it’s you’re favourite tv show or ask what theirs is
  • Be yourself – as no one can be a better you than you (credit to whoever came up with the that). It’s not fun to talk to people who don’t seem genuine. It’s alright to have different or similar opinions and it’s okay to be weird; it means you’re interesting!
  • Ask if they come here often/if you’ll see them here again (or along those lines) – if you would like to talk more but don’t want to overstep boundaries you can just be neutral in case they don’t feel the same. Or ask if they have instagram or kik, those can be impersonal apps

Of course if you don’t want to keep talking to them, basically just do the opposite of all these tips. However, it’s probably more polite to make an excuse like “oh I’ve got to go now, I said I’d meet so and so”. I hope these help.

Song: I listened to Year 3000 by Busted (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tu7HoGZaspo) while writing. Old songs are great. Hope you are enjoying the Rio Olympics. What’s your favourite event and who are you supporting? And if you have any other tips feel free to share.

Notes: This post is inspired by my fourth day of volunteering at my local library. Although I’m pessimistic about the new volunteer I met actually contacting me. Anyway the first half will briefly cover the sociological perspective postmodernism (it’s related, I swear…) If you’re towards the introvert side of the spectrum like me, the second half may be for you – some tips. And featured image is not mine.

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