You finally make some time to go out and meet new people. You find a cool event going on that sounds like fun. And so the process begins: you feel excited at first, thinking of the possibilities. Maybe this time, you’ll actually come home having made a new friend. Maybe you meet someone who can be an asset to your business. Maybe you meet your other half. Maybe you finally meet a fun group who laughs at the same things you do, gets your goofy references to obscure movies no one really knows and breaks through the façade and walls you have up to maintain a good first impression.
“Tonight’s the night” you tell yourself. You walk out that door dressed to the T ready to do have a great time…but then you get to the venue. As soon as you enter, you are overwhelmed by the music, the crowd and all the movement. In a split second you change from conquering the night, to being nervous and insecure. This feeling you feel in the pit of your stomach, in your gut, is called “The butterflies”.
But don’t fret, this is a very common situation and happens to all of us when we go out to make new friends or meet new people. In fact, even the most confident and outgoing people feel insecure for the same reasons you do! We are all human. But how do some people get over this hump? Rest assured that these seemingly super-human extroverted gods are just like you. And if they can do it, you can too, since again, we are all human. And here at Meet People Chicago, we’re going to give away these secrets, but shhh don’t tell anyone ;).
Change your mental framing of the butterflies – The feeling of being nervous and being excited are strikingly similar if you really think about it. Elevated heart rate, a feeling in your gut, high energy, etc. Since these feelings have so many commonalities, you can actually switch from one to the other quite easily. The next time those darned butterflies start fluttering their wings, acknowledge that they are there and take control of their wings. Make them flutter in the opposite direction so that it’s fun and you feel excited. Use this mentality now when starting a conversation and see the results. This is our favorite secret!
Feel your toes – Often times when you’re nervous meeting new people, you’re thinking of what other people are thinking of you, what might happen in the future, what you should be doing or so many other similar types of nonsensical thoughts. These thoughts enhance your nervousness tenfold so we need to stop them. Concentrate getting in the moment and being present to what’s happening NOW by feeling your toes. For just a few seconds, focus on feeling your toes. Are they warm or cold? Do you feel a pulse or the blood flowing? Of course, you can focus on any part of your body, the important part is that you feel what’s going on there.
The ‘X’ seconds rule – Play a game with yourself: tell yourself you have ‘x’ amount of seconds to say hi to someone. Anyone! X should be anywhere in between 10-45 seconds because the longer you wait the more you get nervous. Don’t give yourself excuses, try to win the game. You can be your own worst enemy.
Smile – This is the most simple of any of our secrets. Often times, the mind follows the body. For instance, smiling for 30-60 seconds has shown to actually release chemicals in your brain to make you feel happy. Now that’s odd right? Imagine going out and seeing two people: one that has a smile on with friendly eyes or someone who has no expression or even a sort of agitated look. Who would you rather talk to? The benefits of smiling are endless so always put one on when you go out and be amazed when your feelings follow the body.
Find a commonality – Say you went out wearing red and then see someone else wearing the red. That is a commonality, and although it may seem a little weird, you can start a conversation by saying something like “Great color choice, you really have taste!”. Finding a commonality can be as simple as that and can lead to finding other deeper commonalities after the initial conversation is started. You may like the same sports team or a particular food and end up hitting it off. Don’t underestimate this secret!
Fake it – “Fake it till you make it” is something you’ve probably heard but never really believed to be so. This is probably the most deceptive secret confident people have! If you fake being confident, fake being outgoing you slowly become just that. When you go out somewhere new, where no one knows you, you can be anyone. You can be that confident version of yourself you envision. So what’s stopping you from being that way? What do you have to lose in front a bunch of strangers? Nothing. After you try this secret out successfully, you’ll laugh at the realization of how many people are doing the same thing you are!
Momentum – How do the same sports teams dominate every season, every game? Simple: momentum. They keep the mentality and spirit of winning going. Use this secret in your social life by starting the night out talking to someone new for a few minutes. Then, pause the conversation and go talk to someone else for a few minutes. Repeat this process a couple times and viola, you will always have someone around the room to talk with! Go back to someone you briefly met earlier and pick up the conversation where you left off. This in turn, will get rid of the nervousness about not having anyone to talk to. It’s ok to talk to the same person for a while, but the key is that you don’t use this person as a crutch to excuse yourself from socializing.
Be expressive – Those butterflies in your stomach are dying to get out. You think they want to be stuck in your gut for the whole night?! No way. Try being animated in a conversation, tell a great story with your hands. Movement releases the pent up energy inside of you, relieving those nervous feelings. We don’t want you going crazy here, but we do want you to get moving!
Deep breaths – The more oxygen you supply your brain with, the calmer you feel. Don’t go OD’ing on oxygen now, just take a few deep breaths! Inhale till your lungs are filled, hold for a few seconds and exhale. Repeat this process a few times before you walk in the venue, in the bathroom or even outside.
Laugh at yourself – Every confident person you can think of, knows at a certain point, that life is life and you can’t control certain situations. They also realize that everyone is on the same boat as they are; sailing on the same ocean with the same trepidations at the same time. So next time you’re feeling the butterflies, laugh at this feeling and how seriously you’re taking it. After all, everyone’s feeling the same way you are.
These secrets are now yours to do with what you will. Some of these secrets have been a secret to you because you don’t believe they’ll work, and if you keep that mentality they will stay a secret to you. You lose nothing from applying any of these, so why not? Next time you’re at a Meet People Chicago event or just plain meeting new people, try one of these and let us know what happened. We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Tags: Meeting People