When you are a little kid it is a good idea to avoid talking to strangers, but when you get older, talking to strangers becomes a natural part of life. Unless you are ready to socialize with people you do not know well, you are unlikely to make friends, find dates, and enjoy a healthy social life.
Yet becoming more social can be difficult, especially for those that are used to keeping to themselves. Learning to socialize takes a lot of work and a lot of time for those to whom it doesn’t come naturally. Yet there are ways that you can improve your ability to socialize so that you can create friends and start relationships.
How to Learn to Socialize
1. Socialize With Half-Strangers
You do not need to start by talking to people on the street. Start by talking to people that you are forced to have conversation with anyway. How many times has a barista at a coffee shop or a salesman at a local clothing store tried to make conversation with you in order to provide good customer service? Start talking back – it will give you practice starting a discussion with someone you do not know very well without having to go up to a stranger yourself.
2. Ask Question as a Response to Questions
You are checking out at the grocery store and the cashier says “Hello, how are you.” You answer “Fine.” The conversation is now over. Rather than give answer that simply tries to ignore the question, respond positively and ask a question back: “I’m doing great, how are you?” This will encourage a conversation to take place, rather than end the conversation abruptly.
3. Fake It
It can be hard to create a genuine, friendly conversation naturally for those that are not used to starting discussions with strangers. So if you cannot create a natural discussion, fake it. Use a mental script that teaches you what to say and how to respond to people. Start off using the same script with each person you meet, and try to act as though you are genuinely friendly, even if it isn’t natural.
Fake conversation is still conversation, and while you may not feel comfortable acting in a manner that differs from your regular personality, you are going to find it easier to be genuinely friendly when the opportunity arises.
Give Yourself Time
Learning to socialize is not an overnight skill. It takes a lot of practice to break out of your shell and enjoy the experience of talking to new, interesting people. There is no denying that the ability to socialize can drastically improve your quality of life, and if you start out slow by utilizing the above tips, you should find yourself able to enjoy conversation with interesting people in no time.