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Fact Sheet

Meeting new people

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Photo by: malingering

How you might feel when you meet someone new

We all meet new people from time to time. The idea of meeting a new person might be exciting or scary to you. Whatever the case, it’s likely that in your day-to-day life you’ll have to meet new people either at work, school, or through a group of friends. It’s only natural that you’ll want to make the process as fun, pain-free and successful as possible.

Meeting new people can be a lot of fun. It can be a chance to have an interesting conversation, or even make a new friend. Sometimes, meeting someone new can be a worrying experience. You might be wondering what you’ll say, how you should act, and what the other person will think of you. This might cause you to feel excited, nervous, anxious and curious all at the same time.

Experiencing any of these feelings isn’t unusual. However, if these feelings are hindering your ability to meet new people or live your life in a positive way, you might want to check out the Social anxiety fact sheet.

How to meet new people

You can meet new people in many different ways. Here are a few examples:

  • Agree to go out with friends when they invite you to hang out-you never know who else might be there!
  • Go to parties that you’re invited to;
  • Volunteer;
  • Join a club or sports team;
  • Take a class at a local community college. You can take a language or cooking coursing without signing up as a full time student;
  • Walk your dog at the local park, or volunteer to walk one from your local Humane Society.

Tips for meeting someone for the first time

There are a few simple things you can do to make meeting new people easier and more successful. Here are some tips for what to do when you meet someone for the first time:

Try not to judge based on first impressions. Sometimes people feel nervous when they meet new people and they don’t always give a great first impression. They might be having a really bad day or feel sick. Once you get to know a person, they might be completely different from the first time you met them. That said, making a good first impression can make a person feel more comfortable getting to know you.

Deal with your nerves. Meeting new people can be a scary thing for some people. If you’re nervous, it’s easy to get tongue-tied or start to say things you think sound stupid. You can combat your nerves in a number of ways. Building your self-esteem and confidence can help reduce shyness in some situations. It may also be helpful to learn to challenge your negative self-talk. (See the Challenging negative self-talk fact sheet for more on this.) If you’re going to an event that will have lots of people attending, it might help to track down the people you know first to relax a bit before meeting new people. If you are at an event where you don’t know anyone and you’re feeling nervous, think ahead about some things you can say as conversation starters.

Smile, keep eye contact and be friendly. You’re more likely to be friendly to someone who smiles at you, so try smiling at others and see what happens. Opening yourself up to people can make them feel more comfortable and more likely to be friendly in response.

Start a conversation. It’s a good idea to ask a person something about themselves to start things off. Try not to get too personal though-the first time you meet someone, it’s a good idea to steer clear of subjects like religion, sex, or politics. You might want to start with a simple question like: “Where do you go to school or where do you work? “What do you study/do?” Or, if you’re at a party, you might start by asking the other person how they know the person who’s throwing the party. From these fairly basic starting points you should find some things you have in common and more things to talk about.

Prepare conversation topics. Thinking about what you might talk about with new people can really help the conversation and any awkwardness that comes from initiating a conversation. It helps to pick a topic that you’ll feel confident talking about and will likely be of interest to others.

Remember names. It’s always impressive if you can remember someone’s name after meeting them only once. There are a few things you can to do to help you remember names easily. Try repeating the person’s name immediately when you meet him or her, and then use it as much as possible during the conversation. You might also want to write it down. (But don’t rush off mid-conversation to get a pen or write it down while you’re talking to them!) Or try thinking of a famous person who has the same name to help you to remember.

It’s not the end of the world if you don’t remember someone’s name. When you meet a lot of people at once, it can be hard to remember them all. People will understand this, but one way you can find out someone’s name is simple to ask again.

Be yourself. When you come across as relaxed and confident, it’s likely that the person you’re meeting will also feel relaxed and comfortable chatting with you.

Taking part in a regular activity where you can see the same people every week can help you get to know people without the pressure of always having something to say.

Meeting people online

It isn’t unusual for people to explore the Internet and start friendships online with others that they haven’t met face-to-face. This is a great way to form friendships with people in different cities or states that you might not otherwise meet. You might meet people online through forums, chat rooms, or online social networks like MySpace or Facebook.

It’s important to remember that the Internet can be dangerous for teens and young adults. You never know when someone could be lying to you about their identity or intentions. Keep in mind these few simple tips to stay safe online:

  • Be careful in chat rooms. Even though someone might say they’re a young person, there’s no way of really knowing this is the case.
  • On social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook, keep your profile private and only friend people you know.
  • Never give out personal details like your home address, phone number, school or workplace to anybody you’ve met online. Don’t post these details on a public space where it could be seen by people you don’t know.

 

If you are being bullied online by people you meet in a chat room or on a website, tell someone you trust about it. For more information check out the Cyberbullying and Safe online chat fact sheets.


Last reviewed: May 18, 2012

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Comments

Responses

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    BP

    my intimate friends tell me you are a real fun girl to be around but I don’t know why I never have a good first impression

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      What if you tried different types of social situations, to see where your personality fits best?  Maybe you’re going to parties, when quieter situations would be better for you?  Or maybe it’s the opposite!

      It could be that you make a better first impression than you think!

      Keep reading the fact sheets!
      —The ReachOut Crew

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote

    Femalevampire

    I always face bunch of difficulties when I meet new people. I always don’t feel confident when I talk to new people. The biggest obstacle is: I have one of my front teeth half broken due to the accident I got when I was kid. It was actually not purely an accident. At that time I played in school’s field with my friends. I remember that I ran fast enough at that time then one of my friend suddenly pushed me down. I fell with my face hit the stone floor first. I always remember that no one helped me at that time. They laughed at my broken tooth. The one who pushed me, she laughed too and never say sorry. I cried a lot because I felt very painful in half of my face for three weeks. Unfortunately, it’s already a permanent tooth. I kept telling my parents that I didn’t want to go to school anymore but they were mad and punished me. They also didn’t tell the teacher about the bully stuff I got and just considered this as a unexpected accident.
    Since that, I can never really look at people’s face when I am talking to them. It is quite uncomfortable when I clearly notice that they stare at my broken tooth when we talk. For me, it hurts. I also feel so much embarrassed when I smile widely because those new people stare at my broken tooth. That makes me lose my confidence and mood and I just feel like I don’t want to talk to them.  That’s why most of new people also consider me as boring and cruel girl (But actually I am absolutely not!).
    But I do want to conveniently talk to new people. What should I do?

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote

      ReachOut

      What a cruel thing for people to do to you, to cause an accident, and then not even help you, or apologize.  We are so sorry that happened to you. And now you’re left trying to figure out how to handle it.

      Maybe it’s just time to decide that this is who you are, a girl whose smile isn’t perfect, but a girl who is still really awesome. Don’t stop smiling!  A real smile comes from inside, and doesn’t matter if every tooth is perfect, or if you’re wearing perfect lipstick, and if your face is arranged just right.  It just shines out from your heart.

      There might be some that notice your tooth, and you can just say, “Oh, I broke my tooth in an accident when I was __ years old. I’m used to it.”  And then just move on. People will usually just accept your attitude about it, and take their cue from you.

      We know it’s hard.  Sometimes confidence takes practice.  Just try small steps, and see where they lead!

      Good luck!
      —The ReachOut Crew

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