Master the Art of Meeting New People
Whether you’re looking for a new job or a great apartment or hoping to meet Mr. or Ms. Right, expanding your social network is key to success. And while online interactions can generate both professional and romantic leads, nothing beats real-life, face-to-face introductions; you know right away if the chemistry is there.
I recently attended an event honoring several poet laureates. The room was filled with writers, librarians, and college professor-types. If that sounds like a bit of a snoozy crowd, you might want to re-read some Shakespeare. In fact, there were more sparks flying between men and women there, in a generic conference center, than you’d typically see at the sports bar down the street. It was a great venue for singles because everyone enjoyed a shared passion. Even the shyest guest could nod and smile their way into a group. You are always your sparkliest self when given the opportunity to talk about an interest or hobby that you love. It’s easy to shine in that kind of setting.
I wish I could bottle that easy-breezy essence for my clients, so they could just spray it on like perfume before every matchmaking party or first date. While I haven’t figured out how to do that — yet — these tips will set you up for first impression success, even the most socially challenging environment.
3 Tips for a Positive First Impression:
Tip #1: When meeting any new person, be Outcome Independent.
Whether this is a stranger you’ve exchanged a few messages with online, or a work colleague or neighbor you run into once a week, don’t project ahead into the future and imagine how wonderfully this person is going to fulfill your needs. Put your desired goal out of your mind, and keep your thoughts in the here and now. If your interaction is warm and pleasant — great. That’s your best outcome. You can leave the scene knowing that if you’re meant to collaborate on a project, share a house for the summer, or begin an amazing new romance, the universe WILL make it happen. The good energy you’ve set in motion will draw this person back into your path.
Tip #2: View each new friendship as a precious gift.
Sure, it may be our intention to follow the Golden Rule with everyone. But our behavior is also driven by hard-wired instincts that can pull us in the opposite direction. One example is the tendency to sort new acquaintances into categories, based on their perceived usefulness. This is often an unconscious habit — it happens when we allow our reptilian brains to take over — and is both a joyless and self-limiting way to approach life. That great new job or great new date may come from a surprising source. Don’t be so goal-oriented that you inadvertently close more doors than you open. When you stop making assumptions and adopt a non-judgmental mindset toward others, you are much more likely to feel fully accepted, yourself. You’ll stop worrying whether YOU are interesting or funny or attractive enough; you’ll bring a different energy to each new encounter.
Tip #3: Go easy on yourself.
To meet more people, you have to go out. If you are a full-on extrovert, that’s probably like breathing. But if you’re more like me — you like people, but need a little nudge to get off that cozy sofa — then it can be tempting to pass up social events. Here’s a deal I’d like you to make with yourself: Say yes to every invitation. But once you’re there, if you’re just not vibing with the crowd, give yourself permission to leave after 1 hour. Just go. Save the rest of your evening. Meet up with friends or reward yourself with a bubble bath or mini yoga session when you get home. Remember to be outcome independent. So what if you rolled the dice and Mr. Right didn’t appear tonight? Sometimes the momentum of coming and going and trying new experiences is all the help the universe needs to eventually bring good things your way.