It’s not easy to put yourself out there. Some people live to meet new people and have no fear going up and starting a conversation with a perfect stranger. Other people struggle with their fear of rejection. They are interested in new people around them, but it can be scary to start something with someone new. Especially if you’ve recently gone through a bad break up or you’ve been single for awhile.
If you have fear, the only way to get over it is to face it. Outgoing people will tell you they are less worried about how they feel and more concerned with making others feel good. If your goal is go out and meet new people, try to take your focus off your fear and focus on making just one person you meet smile. Realize that not everyone you meet is going to be interested in talking to you. That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you or with something you said. Some people just won’t be in a good mood or be interested in any type of conversation. Don’t let those people set you back.
Look for people who seem more open or friendly. Dare yourself to give them a compliment. Try to learn something from what they are wearing or how they are interacting with others. Use your observation skills to give you something to start a conversation with. If you’ve ever noticed, shoes will tell you a lot about a person. Shoes can give you clues into hobbies someone has or what type of job they do. Their shoes can tell you if they are more laid back or more stylish with fashion. Their clothes will also give you other clues as well. Finally, look at their face and their body language. Do they gesture or show a lot of expression? Or do they seem more closed off because their arms or crossed and their face seems blank?
Also, realize that you are giving off vibes as well. What does your appearance say about you? Non-verbal cues give off a lot of information to others to let them know if you are more open or closed to being approached. Are you smiling and interacting with others? Or are you sitting alone hunched over your drink at the bar? You don’t have to be super fit and all GQ to get attention. Your appearance does matter, but how you are projecting yourself to others matters even more. You want to seem approachable instead of giving off a vibe that says, “Please leave me alone”.
It is okay to be nervous, but try to be aware if you are sending off desperation signals. Sometimes you can try TOO hard and make the initial approach very awkward. Remember to think positive and tell yourself positive things to keep your anxiety at bay. Every person has great qualities, but not all people are aware or acknowledge their positive traits. Try to focus on those qualities and realize you have a lot to offer other people. When people get nervous they can focus too much on the negative and think of everything that can go wrong. Instead, try to stop yourself from going down that path and try to be more positive about yourself and others around you. Confidence will carry you a long way.
Even if you don’t feel all that confident, you can fake it a little until you get more comfortable initiating conversations. Practicing will make it easier. I often tell some of my shyer students to start conversations in less intimidating places. For example, smile and ask how the gas station attendant’s day is going. Talk to the cashier at Wal-Mart or the grocery store. Go to places where you don’t know anyone and take a few risks without too much pressure. The more you risk facing rejection, the easier it will become. You will become used to the fact that not everyone responds positively, but that a lot of people will.
The key to remember is that you aren’t trying to make yourself feel better, you are trying to make someone else feel better that day. Not every person you interact with has soul mate potential or even one night stand potential, but you never know when you may interact with the right person who ends up becoming someone significant in your life. Just don’t give up and remember that nothing in life worth having is ever easy.
“Whether you think you can or you can’t- you are right” Henry Ford
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” Eleanor Roosevelt
“This time, like all times is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Fall seven times, stand up eight” Japanese Proverb