How to Not Be Boring
It can be a little nerve-wracking the first time you meet someone, especially if you don’t know what to say or do. Then there’s the feeling of being judged or not knowing how to act in front of this person who may be judging you. But the good news is that meeting people doesn’t have to stress you out so much! You just need some advice on how to not be boring when meeting people.
Here are 6 tips for those awkward first encounters:
- Be open to meeting new people
- Talk about your hobbies, interests, and passions
- Start new activities and hobbies
- Be genuinely curious about whom you are talking to
- Find common ground with someone you meet
- Avoid talking about politics or religion unless someone brings it up first
Be open to meeting new people
The first step to not being a boring individual is being open to meeting new people. If you are a shy individual, you will need to overcome that shyness. Instead of finding it hard to talk to new people, see it as an opportunity.
There are so many kinds of people out there that you don’t know. Meet them! You just might become best friends with them or meet your future spouse. It is all about being open to new possibilities and new people.
When you meet someone, try to be yourself. Don’t pretend to like something you don’t like or pretend to be someone you are not. People will see through the false pretenses, and then they won’t want to be around you anymore. They also will not respect your character.
Don’t all your friends were strangers once upon a time. In the wise words of Devin The Dude
“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.”Devin the Dude
Talk about your hobbies, interests, and passions
Talking about what you are passionate about will get people interested in speaking to you. It makes them want to know more. By talking about the things that interest you or that you love doing, shows people that you are interesting too! Who doesn’t want to speak with someone who keeps things interesting in life?
The plus side about bringing up your hobbies is that it gives you an opportunity to find common ground with your new friend. Something that you are both interested in, making the conversation easier. And who knows, maybe your new friend enjoys an activity you haven’t tried before!
For example, if you are at a party, bring up your interests instead of feeling obligated to make small talk with people around you when there is nothing in common. Let others know what you love doing in your spare time. If someone is interested, they will ask more questions about it. This makes the conversation more accessible for everyone involved because it makes the other person less scared to speak.
It also opens you up to asking the other person about their current hobbies and interests. These are usually questions people don’t mind answering and can spark a conversation.
Take your hobbies and interests with you!
Don’t let something come between you and the things you love doing. If it is an activity, bring it along! You never know when it might be helpful to have something at hand for those awkward gaps in conversation.
Start new activities and hobbies
I guess I should have started with this point first. You can only talk about your hobbies and interests by having them. If you have no hobbies for whatever reason, I urge you to find one.
Starting a new hobby or activity does a few things for you. It forces you out of your comfort zone, you learn something new, and gives you a great reason to meet new people.
People are enthused to connect with you if they know that you’re always learning new things. Let’s be honest most people do the same things week after week. As humans, it can be hard to break from our routines. Challenging yourself to learn something new helps break away from the monotonous daily routine.
As mentioned above, starting a new hobby is an easy way to meet new people and open up your social circle. Whether through an organized group, meetup.com, or just someone you can invite to join in on your new hobby. Many people are looking for friends, so they will be excited to meet up with you!
For example, I recently started to learn how to code. Since starting, I have been able to connect more often with a friend, and I have also been able to find communities on Twitter, Slack, and Discord.
Be curious and ask questions
Let me share the number one rule when it comes to interacting with humans. People love to talk about themselves. If you’re networking, on a date, or meeting a new group of people. The ultimate secret is to get people to talk about themselves.
Now, this does not mean going in there and being a reporter and asking them question after question. Nobody enjoyed being interrogated.
Let me share with you a very simple recipe I’ve learned from spending 1000 hours of training, countless hours of talking, and the most important lessons passed down to me from wise monks with bald heads.
The easiest way to get people to talk about themselves is to ask open-ended questions + listen + share your experience/thoughts, + dive deeper with follow-up questions.
Voila! I saved you $497 from some online course and/or guru. In the future, I can go into more detail about this recipe. Essentially you want to remember that people get excited and giddy when talking about their passions.
Being curious about others proves to them that you are interested, you won’t judge them, and you want to get to know them.
The same way I geek out about burgers or the Matrix, other people are dying to share what they are passionate about with someone open and willing to listen. Think back to your nephew who can’t stop talking about Paw Patrol or how you couldn’t stop talking about Power Rangers when you were a kid.
Adults really are just overgrown kids with more responsibilities. Most of us are tired of having the same conversations about the weather and the pandemic.
Find common ground with someone you meet
You want to find something in common with your new acquaintance the same way a hostage negotiator wants to find something in common with the Captor. (I was watching Inside Man & Man on a Ledge, and I have negotiators on my mind, sorry, not sorry).
Finding something in common helps the person know that they can trust you and will be willing to engage with you.
Think about anytime you went on vacation and met someone who came from the same country as you or spoke the same language. Or if you are a hardcore fan of an obscure band and the person you meet is as big of a fan. Boom! Instant connection, sparks fly, and a 30-year friendship ensues.
In all seriousness, people like to spend time with similar people. Finding common ground with your new acquaintance is easy, and all you need to do is listen and give them a chance to open up. As mentioned previously, one great way to find something in common is to ask thoughtful questions about their life/interests.
Like any other skill, finding common ground with someone you meet takes practice.
Avoid talking about politics or religion unless someone brings it up first
My mom taught me some great lessons in life; one thing was to never talk about religion & politics.
I’ve come to learn it’s not that the subject matter itself is dangerous, like talking about illegal activities. The problem with the two subjects comes down to humans. Both religion and politics have people who blindly subscribe to a party or practice. Thus, they are not open to hearing anything other than their beliefs.
Simply put, too many people are closed-minded. I can say that in 33 years of life, I have broken that rule several times and have had Though changing conversations in and around religion and politics.
I’ve learned the rules for engaging in either topic are simple.
All participants agree to keep an open mind, be open to hearing another point of view, and be open to being proven wrong. The most important rule of all is to be open to learning from an opposing point of view.
You mixed all that in with religion and politics, and you are bound to have a fruitful and civil conversation.
Honestly, the chance of the above being in place upon first meeting people is the same chance I have to become the next great virtuoso. It is best to avoid politics and religion, with that being the case. Truth be told, some people will forever see you differently depending on your point of view.
If you want to avoid being boring when meeting people, be open-minded and welcoming. Share your hobbies with others in a genuine way or ask questions about what they like to do for fun. You can also find common ground with someone by asking about their interests and passions. And don’t forget that it’s always best not to talk politics or religion unless the other person brings up these topics first!