10 things to do when meeting new people

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  1. Respect their decisions. If someone doesn’t like your sense of humor or is not interested in being around you that’s great.  They are honest enough to let you know.  What is worse?  Being rejected up front honestly, or being misled that someone is interested in your life?
  2. Give them space. As fun and interesting as they seem, you have to go in slowly when you meet new people.  Someone may be interesting and exciting to know, but when you rush feelings you don’t give that person a chance to be comfortable with you.  Being comfortable with someone new is crucial in the early stages.
  3. Talk to them in a positive, fun, and light way. When you get to know someone then you can talk about politics, sex, religion, abortion, or any number of your favorite controversial topics.  Otherwise discussing them before the other person is comfortable is going to make them more uncomfortable.
  4. Smile and be concerned about being respectful and kind. People come from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences.  Try to be open-minded about what they believe in even if you don’t agree with it.  Don’t try to change anyone’s mind.  Just listen and ask respectful questions.  People need acceptance, not interrogation.
  5. Don’t try to get your needs met through them. No matter how much they have something you may want like knowledge or wisdom, you must never want anything they have.  People sense if you are using them, and they will pull away from you.  If you want something from them, find a way to get it yourself.  The less you want from someone, the more comfortable they are around you.
  6. If possible, compliment the other person. Life is hard for many people, and sometimes people just need a moment of kindness and understanding.  Try not to compliment something physical and obvious like their body, but something that shows their character like their sensitivity or class.
  7. Shut up! Don’t talk all the time.  Yes, you may want to share with them what you know or impress them, but people grow to like you when you listen 70% of the time instead of talking.  If they ask you questions then honestly answer them, but don’t offer more information than they ask for.
  8. Don’t compare them to others in your life. People interpret any kind of discussion about other people in your life as a comparison.  Don’t do it.
  9. You aren’t responsible for their problems. No matter how helpful you can be in your job, you can’t take on others’ problems and solve them.  Ultimately each person has a responsibility for solving the problems in their life.  As a friend or coworker, you can help them, but you have to learn boundaries and let them take responsibility for things.
  10. Have fun! Not everyone is going to be a good business partner, friend, or whatever else you might be looking for.  If the conversation crumbles or you never talk to them again that’s ok!  Not everything in life is critical and you aren’t perfect.  So enjoy the moment and have patience with yourself while you make mistakes.  The best people will forgive you if they are unintentional.
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