Meeting new people can be awkward. Since moving to London I’ve noticed how awkward I can be but I also realise how rewarding it can be putting yourself out there. I often go to events and live shows on my own which, for an introvert like me I actually like. Although daunting at times, I met some incredible people through going to places on my own. If you find meeting new people daunting, here are some of the things I have found help me.
Just say hi
This sounds blooming obvious but just saying hi to someone can make a difference. Even if you have trouble creating a conversation, saying hi shows the recipient you are open to having a chat. If they are someone who enjoys a good natter, they will respond by saying hi back and giving you their name. The best case scenario? They will follow it up with a question to kick start a conversation. Regardless, it will be a far cry from the worst-case scenario you have built up in your head.
Find common ground
Look around and see if there is a common ground you can use to strike up a conversation. When I went to the feminist don’t wear pink event last year, I came across a couple of girls who were reading a book and as someone who can talk anyone ears off about, books decided to start talking to them about books. I ended up becoming friends with one of them and their friend who arrived at the event a little later.
When you’re awkwardly sitting next to each other at an event
At a talk or seminar or live show, you’re often sitting next to someone you don’t know. I often find asking them what brought them to the event a good place to start. It is a good way to find out a little bit more about them and can lead to further questions creating a conversation. The answers you get could range anything from their love of the podcast or writing up a review for the local paper.
I am generally a punctual person and do not like to be late. I found this bodes well going into spaces where I don’t know anybody. It means I can go there when it is fairly quiet, grab a seat and settle in before it gets busy. It means I am more at ease and when someone does turn up to sit next to me, I feel comfortable and ready to interact and make friends with them.
Just do it
A couple of months ago, I was speaking to someone using the Bumble friends app and they mentioned they were starting a book club with other girls from the app and asked if I wanted to join. Normally, I would hesitate but I found myself saying yes. I immediately regretted it, wondering what in the world I let myself in for.
Then the day came and I made myself go. I told myself there would only be five of us and I didn’t have to go again if I didn’t want too. The result? I ended up enjoying it and choosing the next book for us to read. (Normal people by Sally Rooney if you’re interested.)