Do you ever feel awkward in new social situations? At times I think we all do. It can be tricky meeting others for the first time. But, it doesn’t need to be. I am very grateful to those who have shared some very helpful tips to help with these situations and am going to share these over the next three blog posts.
We all have many opportunities to meet new people. In our family this year there have been many such new situations, starting university, moving to new countries, new jobs, weddings, travel, parties, funerals, everyday activities like shopping, to name a few.
Some general things I find useful to remember about the opportunities connecting with others brings are……
1. The Thirds Thingo
In a previous blog ‘Disapproval from others can I still approve of myself?’ we explored what I call the ‘thirds thingo.’ The idea that of all those people we encounter one third will like or approve of us, one third will feel neutral or won’t care either way and one third will dislike or disapprove of us. This is helpful to allow us to let go of that unrealistic expectation of having everyone we meet like and approve of us. When we understand this and can honestly say we had a kind intention we are free to let go of judgment of others and ourselves and approve of ourselves regardless of how they have responded to us.
When we have a kind intention, we can rest in that and let go of the result. We have done our best. What is a kind intention when we meet others? It is simply to be friendly and to connect and share with them without judgment. I think we would all like to be met that way. Like us all, at times I have been unable to rest in this kind intention. Because I didn’t understand the importance of my choice to be friendly, kind and non-judgmental, I have not always been able to rest in my kind intention. It may be helpful to have a look at ‘The Difference Between Guilt and Regret’ blog.
Creating a Great First Impression
Tip 1. Avoiding that awkward “How are you? Good, How are you? Good”.
Often our first question when we first meet someone is to ask, “How are you?” They usually answer with a “good or well thanks and how are you?” Sometimes this is a casual “How are you?” when we are moving on, like when we pass someone in the street. In these situations it may be appropriate to answer with a a simple "well thanks, how are you?" However it is helpful to remember to wait for a reply and allow the other person to ask you the same.
In social situations when we meet someone and are wanting to engage in conversation you might like to explore responding to that first "How are you?" a little differently and more openly. . If we respond with “good” or “well” this close response can halt the conversation and leave it with nowhere to go. It is like starting a ping-pong match and then the ball goes missing.
I came across an easy helpful tip to use when we are in a social situation and it is appropriate to progress the conversation beyond “How are you?” Instead of saying, “good, well, sick or tired” you might want to give a little more information to allow the conversation to open up. You might want to put the feeling in context so you can share something about yourself to make a connection and allow the other person to do the same. Some examples might be
Get the idea? I am sure you do. A couple of things I like to remember are
Have fun giving this a go. You may find out all sorts of interesting information about those you know well and those you don’t know so well.
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