Making friends with people we just met is not easy for many of us. For those of us who have difficulty making friends with strangers we often find ourselves feeling uncomfortable and uncertain about making casual conversation when we meet someone new.
Some of us think we need to say something brilliant and interesting to attract others into a friendship with us and as a result we often place unnecessary pressure on ourselves which in turn can discourage us from attempting to make new friends.
Good impressions are important when meeting someone new. The job interview is an example of the importance of making a good impression. However, being brilliant and/or interesting can be perceived by the other as a performance, an act to impress and attract.
When we act to impress or attract this will often be revealed in our interaction through both our verbal and body languages and can easily send the message that we are a fake. The best impression anyone can make upon another is to be their ordinary self when attempting to make friends with a stranger.
When making conversation with a stranger for the first time it's not necessary to talk about deep or complex subjects. In fact, such talk can actually discourage the stranger from further conversation with you because they may not be able to relate to what you are saying.
Talk about simple things like the weather for example. Your immediate surroundings can also be a good conversation starter. Compliments are also an easy way to start a conversation with a stranger. Your initial conversation should be something that the stranger can easily relate and respond to.
Most strangers we first meet are most impressed by us when we demonstrate that we are interested in them. This requires one key fact that can be applied to all interactions, old and new.
The success of developing a friendship with a stranger, or with anyone for that matter, will be highly dependent on your ability to listen to that person. When you listen to the other you are showing them that you are interested in them. The ability to listen is a quality most people look for when meeting a stranger.
Once you have initiated the conversation with the stranger you can direct the conversation toward personal introductions. There are two ways to do this. One is by introducing yourself. The other, which is sometimes easiest, is to ask the name of the other.
Regardless, of which way you choose it should be done as early possible if you wish to develop a friendship with the stranger before you two go your separate ways. If you want to be successful socially it will require you to take initiative when meeting strangers.
After initial introductions you may want to get know the stranger a little better. A good way to this is to ask them some basic questions about themselves and offer small bits of information about yourself.
At this point you don't want to give your life history, nor are they going to be willing to give you theirs. However, your opinion on a neutral subject or the mention of some like or dislike can move introductions toward friendship development.
To get a feel for the other and an idea about where to take the conversation it is important to observe the other's reactions to what you are saying. A person who is interested in what you are saying will show it and may even speak it, just as a person who is not interested. Paying attention to verbal and non-verbal cues will help you in initiating a friendship with a stranger.
Peter Murphy is a peak performance expert. He recently produced a very popular free report: 10 Simple Steps to Developing Communication Confidence. Apply now because it is available for a limited time only at: communication skills