Sometimes in life you meet new people. Sometimes these new people are lingerers, and the conversation continues even after you think it should end. You ask the obligatory questions: their name, their occupation, their high school gpa, and then the awkward silence begins…
If you have ever been in this situation, which I’m guessing you have, you know it is important to have a few tricks up your sleeve. I’ve got a few to suggest:
- You could have actual tricks up your sleeve. I know a second grader who’d love to inspire you with some card tricks. If you pull a bunny out of a hat, you are sure to have the awkward silence filled with oohs and ahhs.
- Be prepared with a funny anecdote about yourself. This is usually my go-to. Just tell an embarrassing story or awkward tale. You may scare off potential new friends, but at least you’ll have entertained them until you can make your escape.
- Just start dancing. Maybe they will join you. If not, they will probably walk away. Problem solved.
- Talk about the weather or the movies. If you are especially talented like me, you can combine them with tip #2. “With all the thawing and freezing this winter, sidewalks were pretty slippery. Let me tell you about the time I faceplanted on a busy sidewalk because of the ice.” or “Hey, did you see the new mission impossible movie? No? Don’t worry. It might be called Ghost Protocol, but it definitely isn’t about ghosts. You don’t have to worry about nightmares.” (no, those are not just hypothetical examples)
- Begin coughing incessantly.
- Reach out and hold their hand.
- Have some questions ready. I would prepare at least 102. No less than that – you don’t know how much time you will need to fill. If your mind is not like a steel trap, you could always write them on notecards and pull the stack out of your purse when the time is right. I suggest the neon ones.
Most importantly, don’t despair when meeting new people.
It is fun to make new friends (or acquaintances). If your charming personality doesn’t shine through on its own, it definitely will if you take advantage of this generously offered advice. You are welcome.