Many people spend their lives in the same circle of family and friends. But if you’re going to stretch outside your comfort zone and try new things – like running a business, you’re going to need to meet new people. Surrounding yourself with people who have similar goals, similar interests, and who you just enjoy the company of.
Hobbies and things outside of work, are important to keep your stress levels low. It is even more important if you have needed a work injury lawyer, been suspended or anything else that is pressure filled and heavy. Concentrate on making new buddies to help combat work pressures.
Not on the Outs
When you first go to a new place or try something new, it’s easy to think that everyone there knows each other – and feel like your on the outs. For example, you’re trying to lose weight and get fit, and you join a gym in your area. It would be easy to come into the first fitness class and feel like you don’t know enough to join in, or that the group has been together for a while.
You may even think the group is a clique and feel like you won’t fit in at all. For some people, this can trigger feelings that you’re back in school, trying to impress the popular group of kids. It can be a little unnerving, but actually, it is pretty good for you to feel like that.
The truth is cool people who are trying new things are always interested in other people that are doing the same thing – you have stories to share and things in common. Just like you, they were once outside of their comfort zone too.
Often, other people are as curious about you as you are about them. Another participant thinks that you look like a cool person doing something fun just like them. More often than not they will feel exactly the same as you do.
Let It Flow
The biggest mistake you can make when trying something new is to spend the whole time in your head – think about it. If you are in the middle of something and other people are doing it too, then use that to connect.
Don’t do this with an agenda – with the idea you can get a contact or a client. Simply show interest in those around you and ask questions, be friendly. You can ask where someone works, how they got started in their chosen profession or hobby, where the best coffee is nearby. Simple things that spark some recognition of shared interests or personality traits.
Avoid asking too many questions consecutively. It can make other people feel like they’re being interogated. Instead, ask a question and give them a minute to response. Sometimes, the conversation will take a different direction after your question, but that is perfect – the art of conversation is letting it flow.
Focus on Them
If you’re at a professional function, it can be easy to make your conversations all about your business – and you should get those mentions in. But people won’t care about your business until they feel you care about them, and they can care about you too.
Focus on making friends with the people around you, because there are probably a few gems, a client or two and some very cool people in the groups.
The more activities, classes, networking events, and being out of the house or office you take – the more people you will find to fill up your friendship circle – the more people who want to meet someone cool, like you.