In today’s crazy world, people are super busy. While we are connected online through social media, people are starving for real world intimacy. Making friends online seems easy, but making a real world friend, one you do stuff with, have fun with, share similar interests with, seems increasingly more difficult as we App our lives away.
You probably clicked on this post because you want to have genuine connections with others. I promise this is stuff that works for me. You can adapt and adopt it to you, and try it out.
I’m sharing some stuff that works for me. I love building relationships with people, and helping others.
- Greet them with a smile. – Your first greeting is your name. Practice saying “Hi, I am YOUR NAME.” in the mirror. Smile, relax your shoulders and jaw, and just say it. Look yourself confidently in the eyes and extend your hand for a handshake. Say “Hi, I am YOUR NAME” over and over. Say it in different tones of voices. Saying it seriously. Say it with a funny voice. Make silly faces. Have fun with it, and practice this often. Don’t like saying “Hi, I am”…change it up. The important part is gaining confidence with your name, smiling, being approachable, and welcoming. You are inviting the other person to get to know you. And why not? You are freaking awesome!
- Offer a firm handshake. – This is one of my biggest deal breakers. I don’t like when someone tries to break my hand when they shake my hand. I also don’t like a limp handshake. The early grabbers. You know the kind who clamp down on your hand before you have had a chance to fully move in, so they are gripping your fingers and you feel weird? A handshake is a common greeting. Offer your hand, connect with their hand, close your hand firmly (not hard) and shake it a couple of times. Oh yeah, the grippers, pullers, and long shakers are some other strange ones to avoid. The handshake needs be a solid brief encounter.
- Break the ice. – Make it short and sweet. Don’t speak too quickly, or talk for a long period of time. “Hi, my name is Adam,” smiles, offers handshake. “I started The Savannah Quill to help connect writers and readers to promote literacy. What is your name and what do you do?”
- Listen.- Stop what you are doing and listen to them. Repeat their name. “Hi Laurel, it is very nice to meet you. Oh, you are an YA author? That is interesting, please tell me more about what you write.”
- Ask them questions. – Ask them questions about who they are and what they are doing. Focus on them as a person. Ask them questions about things they enjoy rather then what they do. You can pepper the questions with stuff they are doing, but your focus should be on them, not their work. You are building a relationship, not selling them on your idea. It is human nature for people to reciprocate and during your conversation, you will have plenty of opportunity to talk about your thing. It is not about you, it is about them. You are learning about the person in front of you, and you should make them your entire universe in that moment.
- Ask them for permission to connect with them. – Offer to follow their blog/social media, etc right there, and ask them if you can connect with them. This is very important. I ask people for permission to connect with them, rather than use “add” or “friend” them. I am not looking for numbers, I am looking to build real relationships with them.
- Call them, then send them a message. – I ask them for their number, then I immediately call them while they are in front of me. Once they receive the call, I hang up. I wait until after the conversation is over, then I send them a message. Some people do not want to exchange phone numbers, but will give you an email address, or social media connection. Respect their privacy, first and foremost. Send them a message to their preferred contact method.
- Write a sincere little love letter to your new friend. – “Hi Laurel. It was great meeting you today. I really loved hearing about your Young Adult novel series The Mysteries of Acorn Alley. I’m going to check it out as soon as I get home. – Adam Messer.” Sending them a follow up is a great way to enhance your new relationship with the person. Be sincere and authentic. Don’t say you liked something if you didn’t, and don’t tell someone you are going to read their book if you are not. That is one of the worst let downs people do to authors. We all love little love letters showing appreciation or admiration. Be sincere, and do not try to flatter someone. Flattery is a great way to turn someone away because it is insincere and indicates manipulation or the desire to get something out of them.
- Invite them to meet up. – Invite your new friend to meet up. You could get a coffee, meet them over lunch, or somewhere you can sit and chat. Whatever works best for both of you. Try to do it in the next two weeks. When you meet up, get to know them by asking them questions, listening, and sharing your own experiences. Being a good listener goes a long way. Remember you want to get to know them, so ask them questions and listen to their story rather than telling your own. Make them your universe and give them your undivided attention.
- Be You. – I know this one is a bit trite, but it is the truest statement of anything I have ever heard in life. Be you. You cannot be someone else, and the cool thing about it is why would you want to be? We are all uniquely gifted with the same biological systems, but your mind makes you different. Love talking about your micro – orchard fig trees? There’s a tribe that loves that as well. Be sincere, authentic, and true to you first. Go into relationships with a curiosity mindset like a child. Let yourself be fascinated by life. Let yourself be open and vulnerable enough to share with your new friend and learn about them. When you genuinely connect with the other person, your relationships with others and yourself become enriching, rewarding, and overflowing with love, empathy, and the human condition.
I would love to hear from you. What worked for you? What didn’t? firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Messer is an author, journalist, and radio show host. He writes for the Savannah Morning News Do Savannah. The Adam Messer Show is live on Sundays on WRUU 107.5 FM Savannah and you can listen to his podcast on adammesser.libsyn.com and The Adam Messer Show on Apple Podcasts. Email subscribers get cool free stuff. https://mailchi.mp/95306953de6d/amnewsletter