With the rise of social media comes a decline in real life interactions. As technology advances, our day to day interactions with other humans are cut drastically. We are so used to communicating with each other through our phone that it can seem even more daunting meeting people in real life.
Approaching someone in the real world has become somewhat of a nostalgic fantasy. Meeting someone in a bookstore or a coffee shop is something that is only ever seen in tv or movies. The romantic stories of how our parents and grandparents met will soon be replaced with “we matched on Tinder.” People have lost their nerve approaching people face to face as opposed to through a screen.
Here at Piin, we want to get back to that culture. We want to give you the tools to find the confidence to approach people face to face and validate chemistry instantly. Use our app to make the first move when you check into a bar or coffee shop and match with someone in the same location. You never know the people who pass you by on a daily basis and the impact they could have on your life. Be open to having more conversations with the people around you, you never know where it could lead.
Not everyone is going to be thrilled with you interrupting their quiet time so it’s important to read cues and make sure you’re not making somebody feel uncomfortable.
How to know if somebody wants to be approached?
Reading non verbal cues is vital to understanding whether or not someone is comfortable with you approaching them for a chat. Top tip: if they’re wearing headphones – leave them alone!
Most non verbal cues you should be able to pick up instinctively. It’s been ingrained in us for the whole of our lives. However you still may be unsure and if you’re feeling nervous anyway, identifying key behaviours that may signal a green light can be a great way to give you a confidence boost. For example someone who might be open to being approached will have more open body language such as facing out towards the room as opposed to facing the bar or their friends. Check out our blog post for more tips on how to read non verbal cues.
Sarah Jones (founder of Introverted Alpha) makes the valid point that environment plays a huge role in whether or not it is ok to approach someone. The environment must be somewhere safe and social rather than threatening. For example a dark alleyway is not an appropriate situation to try and start a conversation.
Of course it goes both ways, if you want to be approached more often you might want to think about the non verbal signals that you could be sending off. Make sure that people feel confident that if they approach you, you won’t bite their head off. If there’s someone you spot who you think is cute or are interested in getting to know, make direct eye contact with them. A small smile if you’re feeling really confident and you’ve sent the message loud and clear. Meeting people in real life means that you have to send out your own signals to show your interest.
Not everybody wants to be bothered when they’re out and about. When approaching someone new, it’s important to read and understand cues so that you don’t start invading people’s time and space. Some people do not want to be approached, which is perfectly fine.
Remember to always approach people with politeness and with no expectations. Just because you went out there and made the effort it doesn’t mean people have to reciprocate. Stay kind and respect other people’s boundaries and hopefully the same will come back to you.
OK, you’ve done the hard part and made the first contact. Now you have to make a killer first impression.
How to make a good first impression when meeting people in real life
Making a good first impression can be challenging, especially if you see yourself as more introverted or shy. Meeting people in real life rather than through a phone creates an immediate pressure. There is no way to edit yourself.
Nicholas Boothman, author of How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less suggests that people who have an easy time connecting with others often find common ground with someone else in just a few seconds. Being able to establish a common connection early on in an encounter relaxes both you and them and will enable a smooth conversation flow.
I know we’ve mentioned this before but non verbal communication also plays an integral role in how an encounter is received. Open arms, look people in the eye and greet with a smile. It should feel natural if you are genuinely enjoying the conversation but for some it can be a little harder to convey, especially if you’re really nervous.
“I think everyone can try to be friendly. Aim for friendly. Friendly means being interested in the other person—which should not be too hard. People are interesting. It means being open and not critical of the other person or of people in general. It means being willing to listen. Being friendly puts the other person at ease.” Fredric Neuman, M.D. author of Fighting Fear. For first impressions always keep the conversation light. It’s best to wait until you know someone a little better before going in with any political views or risky jokes to avoid any misunderstandings or bad blood.
First impressions are never easy, especially when it’s someone you want to impress. As cheesy as it sounds, the key is to simply be yourself. People can smell a fake a mile off and you won’t be able to keep up the pretense for long.
After the initial introduction, it’s important to keep the conversation flowing. How do you sustain an engaging conversation with someone you’ve just met?
It’s a good idea to have a rough idea of where you want the conversation to go. Make a mental note of some open questions that will help get the conversation in a comfortable pace. Questions about the other person’s hobbies and interests will likely result in an exchange of information that can tell you a lot about someone and whether or not you would be compatible with them, PlentyOfFish dating expert Kate Maclean states. They also make it easy for the other person to answer. Most people tend to find it easy talking about themselves because it is the topic they know most about.
Compliments are also a great way to start a conversation off. Instead of saying something cliché like complimenting their eyes, compliment something that shows their personality such as their outfit or a book they’re carrying. This shows that you are genuinely interested in them as a person and finding out exactly what they’re about.
In conclusion, good conversations flow best when you have some kind of common ground, whether that be the location or situation you’re in or something more niche. Find that common ground as early as possible and both of you will be at ease to portray your best self.
Using these tips, we hope you’re able to fulfill your nostalgic fantasies of meeting your next partner in a romantic setting ready to live out your own romcom.
Dating doesn’t have to be so transactional. Find genuine connections wherever you go without expectations by being open to having conversations with strangers. If you’re too scared for the cold approach, let us help you. Download Piin to start matching in all your favourite places. Say no to swiping and yes to meeting people in real life.