I wanted to share a secret with you today.
I’ve spent so much of my life feeling like the kid on the outside, with my face pressed against the window, trying to figure out what made everybody else connect and why I didn’t have it.
I was so jealous of all the people I met who were so effortlessly charming. Who could talk to anyone anywhere, make them laugh, share about themselves, and walk away with a new friend.
I wanted so badly to be able to do the same.
But I was the kind of person kept my head down and avoided the sales people in the stores, and who rehearsed my drink order while I was in line at the cafe so I wouldn’t have to answer any unexpected questions on the spot.
I was terrified of having even passing, transactional conversations with people, no matter how badly I wanted connection.
I was so lucky to have a very close friend at the time to look up to. She’s the most warm, extroverted person I’ve ever met, even to this day.
She talked to everyone she met as if they were an old friend, shared what was going on in her life, and was intensely interested in what they had to say in return. She dove past formalities and safe conversation to be as real as possible.
And most of the time, her openness was rewarded.
And when it wasn’t, she never took it personally. There were always so many other people to meet.
So I started copying the way she would talk to shop owners, waiters, and sales people. My first step was to try and NOT freeze in terror when they asked me a question, but to just listen and try and be present, then answer.
And from there, I practiced breaking the ice on being friendly in a few different ways:
It took me years of this kind of practice to start to relax and open up around people I didn’t know.
And I wanted to share that with you so that you know how I felt when a friend recently told me, “You’re naturally SUCH a friendly person. You don’t have to work at it at all!”
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