Not minding your own business, is one of the most annoying human conditions. What we have is an insatiable hunger for wanting to know what others are doing or thinking. To delve in their secrets, to extract their deepest most sacred of their feelings.
Instead of improving our own life, we become nosy in the lives of others, which satisfies a deep yearning. Curiosity killed the cat, they say.
What some will do is begin “chatting” it up with compete strangers while waiting at the doctors office, while in the coffee line, or sitting next to a bus passenger.
Some hit on anyone who looks remotely interesting, yet most don’t want the attention in this world of social distancing.
In the environment we now live in, where almost everyone has their head slumped while viewing their smartphones. There’s a thirst for any type of face-to-face communication, which is still treasured.
It’s more difficult to say “No” to a person face-to-face, as it’s impolite to let someone down.
To Be More Likable
It begins with establishing trust, so someone feels comfortable and it’s okay to disclose some type of personal information with you.
What trust and empathy does is goes hand-in-hand, as you want to come across like you care.
That you’re a concerned fellow human, or you both mutually share something in common.
Getting Someone To Open Up
It can become an art form to get someone to talk about themselves. There are certain situations such as a job interview, where there’s a need to learn more about this person you may potentially be hiring.
The resume is the starting point, and can be used as the gateway because of the information that’s provided.
But then there needs to be additional information on what’s missing, such as gaps of employment, or what their personality is like.
Always ask open ended questions when it comes to these situations, such as tell me more about how this “certain” experience was like.
That’s How Friendships Begin
Talking to strangers is where connections are formed. This could begin with an exchange of emails or Facebook “friending,” which can lead towards a relationship.
A bond that continues beyond just the brief interaction. This is how friends are formed.
Minimally, at the very least, you can gain practical advice which helps you the next time you meet, or are in a similar situation.
What getting others to open up to you, means they’re willing to give you some type of information, which can be something you didn’t happen know.
Pick Up On Initial Clues
Pay close attention to any type of information the other person happens to share, this especially at the beginning of an interaction.
This could be their unusual name, which leads towards interesting clues.
It could be something you overheard while waiting in line for coffee, about what that person does, or where they’re from.
Even if the information is generic or innocuous, where it can lead to is the basis for what you’re going to discuss.
A Starting Point
Establish a starting point of connection, and then use that to continue the conversation.
“I had a best friend in school named Yolanda,” or “Oh, I overheard you’re from Seattle, my cousin lives there.”
If you both happen to be suffering from the same type of situation, such as waiting in a long lineup, then comment about your shared misery.
Try leaking a bit of information about yourself, just a minimal amount to create curiosity, this to keep the conversation going.
Don’t make up quick judgmental based assumptions, once you see someone who stands out.
A stranger who may be seated next to you wearing a tattered flannel shirt and jeans, this to a formal event, for instance.
You may instantly think this person is there by mistake. This since the person doesn’t fit in with the crowd.
Before you place a negative judgement on them and write them off, choose to establish contact in a friendly and respectful manner and demeanor.
For all you know, they weren’t aware of what the dress code was, or they’re influential enough that they just don’t care.
Ask Open Ended Questions
Ask questions that aren’t too nosy or intrusive. Injecting a bit of humor always helps. Use the visual data you have in front of you, such as they being extremely courteous.
Begin with generic open ended questions, which will eventually lead towards more specific detailed information.
The person might also be standoffish, and obviously have no time or interest in you.
There could be a variety of reasons for this, but to find out why, give the person the time to give their reasons for their aloofness.
If it happens to be an informal situation, keep the questions limited to what feels like a comfortable number, this in the context of the initial interaction.
Avoid bombarding them with rapid fire questions.
Know When To Stand Back
Be mindful enough so you’ll know when you should back off. At some point, the person might begin to show signs they want to discontinue the conversation, this for one reason or another.
Or they might not answer a question you asked them, to your satisfaction. Be aware of these signals and situations.
A subject matter, might just be too uncomfortable or challenging for them to reply.
Once getting such a response, or the individual clearly becomes upset, then let the matter go.
What it takes is practice to refine communication skills, when it comes to effectively making contact.
It’s always a two-way street, especially when in situations where you don’t know the other person.
Once refined, what opens up are opportunities to satisfy your curiosity, but also to make new connections, and become friends with someone you don’t know.