We know that making new friends isn’t always easy. To help you along the way, here are some smart tips and wise words about connecting with people to form meaningful and lasting friendships.
An interview with Mona Patel,
CEO of Motivate Design, New York, NY, USA
What’s your strategy for approaching new people or a new environment, and making successful connections?
I start with the assumption that people I meet are fundamentally rooting for me. Then, go up to someone and say, “Hi.” Usually, they just say, “Hi” back. And then you have to say something else. It’s that simple. People like talking about themselves. You can go quickly from, “Hi” to questions that help you understand that person better. “What brought you here today?” “How do you feel about what’s going on?” Also, make it easy to approach people. I talk to the person that’s in line for registration. Or the person I’m sitting next to, or the person who is going after me or before me in a presentation.
How do you make friends with someone who has a very different personality, views, or beliefs?
Remove your definition of right and wrong. When you assign a definition of what a person believes, especially when it’s different, then one of us is right and the other is wrong. Look at things from a different angle. Isn’t it great to meet people in the world? Isn’t it great that people are being authentic with you and sharing? Isn’t it great that you made them feel safe enough to share their views and beliefs? Isn’t it great that you encouraged them to, maybe, challenge some views and beliefs and added something to their life? It’s so beautiful when you stop making it about you and what their beliefs mean about your own beliefs. You can learn from it and if you have a healthy attitude towards diversity, it can be really powerful.
Tips and Tricks:
- Just say “Hi” to people you meet
- Most people will be happy to talk to new people
- Find common interests – remember people love talking about themselves
- Be open-minded – remove your definition of right and wrong
- When people feel safe with you, get to know them, they will be open minded and authentic with you
- Stop making it about yourself
- Get excited – meeting new people is always an opportunity to expand your horizons
- You don’t have to accept everything they say but you can always learn from their experience