Talk to a stranger, there are benefits!

Easy or difficult to talk to a stranger

For some, it’s as easy as it gets to start talking to someone you’ve never met, regardless of where you are, you say hello and ask a question or find out something about the weather and suddenly the conversation is on.

Others find it difficult to talk to strangers even when you meet in an organized manner, such as at an interview or a course.

There are benefits

The good news is that it is possible to train your ability to talk to a stranger, and you should. Because even if it may still feel a bit difficult, it becomes easier when you know that you can actually do it. And advantages can be that you manage to network at the party and hear about that dream job that is available, or find a new friend on the course. Or that you make another person feel seen and less alone just because you said hello!

Start small and practice

Take a walk, make eye contact and smile at those you meet. You will quickly notice that some don’t feel comfortable, but others smile back, which is both natural and completely okay. Bring all the smiles you get back with you and forget the ones who looked away.

When it feels okay, you start smiling and saying hello. It will be the same here, some will ignore you but some will say hello back, that’s how it should be.

Prepare a question or two 

When you start feeling like greeting someone is no longer impossible, try asking someone a question. It can be in the checkout line or if you’re sitting next to someone on a bench or even meeting someone at a lecture. If it feels challenging to come up with something in the moment, you can advantageously prepare some questions.

Remember to listen

When you ask a question, don’t forget to listen to the answer, something that can be a little nerve-wracking the first few times. Listen and ask a follow-up question instead of asking the next question on your list, suddenly you are perceived more as a sympathetic nice person who’s interested in others.

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