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 feelings. Becoming nosy in the life of others, satisfies a deep yearning.
Curiosity killed the cat, as they say. What some will do is begin “chatting” it up with compete strangers while waiting at the doctors office, while in line when ordering coffee, sitting next to a bus passenger. Anyone who looks remotely interesting. It appears almost an epidemic, initiating a conversation and start talking to others.
In the world that 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, and 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, this so that someone feels comfortable and that it’s okay, to disclose some type of personal information with you.
What trust and empathy does is goes hand-in-hand, as what you want is to come across as you care, that you’re concerned what that person is experiencing, 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, etc.
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, one that continues beyond 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 that they’re willing to give you some type of information, which can be something that you didn’t happen to say yourself.
Pick Up On Initial Clues
Pay close attention to any type of information that the other person happens to share, this especially at the very beginning of an interaction. This could be their unusual name, which leads towards interesting clues.
It could be something that 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 that 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. A stranger who may be seated next to you wearing a tattered flannel shirt and jeans, this to a formal event, you may instantly think that this person is there by mistake. This since this 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 that 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 that they want to discontinue the conversation, this for one reason or another.
Or they might not answer a question that 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, this when it comes to effectively making contact. It’s always a two-way street, this especially when in situations where you don’t know the other person.
Once refined, what that opens up are opportunities to satisfy your curiosity, but also to make new connections, and become friends with someone you don’t know, or at the very least get to know them better.