Meeting someone new may seem like a pretty mundane task for the most part, but for many it can be a daunting experience that brings on a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Things like “what do I say?”, “how do I introduce myself?” and in today’s very social media driven world, “do I stack up to my online presence?”, are all very real statements that may run through someones mind upon meeting someone for the first time. Up until around a year ago, I was the most anxious person when it came to introducing myself (and still am under some circumstances), but I’ve come to realize that even the most awkward of situations weren’t ever as bad as what I’d play them out to be in my mind. In the past few years I’ve attended my fair share of events in which I’ve had to introduce myself and hold a conversation as well as others with me. It’s not always the most natural experience, but I promise you that putting yourself out there is always better than shying away from what could end up being a really great friendship or opportunity. With that being said, there are a few rules I always follow when I meet someone for the first time and so I wanted to share them with you today. Keep reading to see the 4 things I always do when I meet someone new.
PS: How amazing are these illustrations by my very talented friend Magz. She will be contributing her beautiful work every so often here on the The Blondielocks, so make sure to head to the bottom of this post where you can read her bio and follow her on social.
1. Offer a firm handshake, no matter what: When I was in college, I took a class that was essentially meant to prepare me for “the real world”. I learned skills such as creating a cover letter and resume, and of course all about the steps I should take during the interview process. At the end of the term I was given a mock interview for the company of my choosing (a visual merchandising position), and although the interview was with my prof, I still remember being exceptionally nervous. Before the interview, I had a flashback to my prof saying that a firm handshake is one the most important things you can do to relay confidence to the interviewer. Because I was already a ball of nerves I knew that if I gave firm handshake it would at least score me a couple of bonus marks. I don’t remember much from that interview or the grade I received, but I do distinctly remember my marking sheet saying “great handshake and big smile”. It’s amazing to me what body language can imply so I highly suggest that you offer up a firm handshake and a big smile the next time you are meeting someone new.
2. When Someone Introduces Themselves, Say Their Name Back to Them: If you’re anything like me, then the minute you meet someone new you are already thinking 100 steps ahead of the conversation. This not only creates anxiety on my end, but I find that I am never that invested in what the other person is saying because I am so busy trying to think about my response, or what topic we will move onto next. This really becomes an issue when someone I don’t know tells me their name because I instantly forget it. I know a lot of people are genuinely bad with remembering names, but a trick I’ve learned is to actually say that person’s name back to them after they’ve introduced themselves. For example, if Magz says “Hi there, I’m Magz.” I’d say, “Hi Magz, it’s nice to meet you, I’m Kaylee.” Try to intentionally say their name a few times during the conversation so it gets embedded in your brain. By the time the conversation is over you will be able to say “goodbye (name here)” and you will have a much better chance of remembering it the next time you run into them.
3. Give A Genuine Compliment: I’m sure most of you have seen the movie Mean Girls so I’m going to use it as an example here. You know when Regina George tells a girl in the hallway that she “loves” her skirt and then turns around to Cady and says “omg that is the ugliest f-ing skirt I’ve ever seen.”? yeah, don’t do that. Be genuine with the compliments you give because people can tell when you’re being fake. There is ALWAYS something about someone to be admired, whether it’s a piece of jewelry they are wearing, their nail colour or something less surface like their laugh. Chances are giving a sincere compliment will not only make the person feel good about themselves but it will also coax them to open up more to you. Maybe there’s a fun story behind that skirt (like there actually was in Mean Girls) and you bond over your love for vintage. Or maybe the person has been shy about their laugh their whole life and are overjoyed you think it’s great. You honestly never know how a friendship can be formed so try giving a compliment next time and see where it takes you.
4. Take Your New Acquaintances Information: This may seem like an obvious one, but I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve left a conversation kicking myself because I didn’t take the information of the person I just spent 10 minutes chatting it up with. In today’s world it is SO easy to quickly look up a person on Instagram and hit follow. Now if I feel like I’m having a conversation that is going well and feel we could potentially be friends or work together, I make sure to ask the person what their Instagram is during our conversation and hit follow. Following the person on Instagram while the conversation is still flowing is smart because it also gives you an idea of what their life looks like and an opportunity to ask more questions.
If you don’t have Instagram a good old-fashioned business card is still perfectly acceptable (I secretly love giving/receiving business cards). Another trick, that my boyfriends dad taught me, is when he meets someone he puts their name in the notes section of his phone where he will write something memorable about the person. For example I’d write “Magz: very talented illustrator, make sure to ask her more about her drawings next time.”