You’re lonely and single on a Saturday night. Whatever will you do?
As you open up World of Warcraft, launch Runescape, or reorganize your Magic collection for the fifteenth time, you start to wonder what life would be like if you knew some pretty girls or guys (or both, depending on your gender and orientation).
Why not find out? Make a project of it… I dare you. I’ll even help you do it in a logical way that makes sense to your geeky side and doesn’t expect you to be bubbly and cheery around a lot of people. Ready? Here goes…
Before you meet people, know your own tendencies. If you’re introverted, like many geeks, meeting people can be exhausting and draining. If you’re one of the extraverted geeks out there, you won’t have as much of a problem, and you find being alone too much to be frustrating.
The tips in this article are going to be geared more towards introverted people, simply because extraverts already have such an advantage in social situations, and likely don’t really need any of this advice!
If you’re not sure what your tendencies are, try taking the MBTI test – the Myers-Brigg Typology test. Human Metrics is a good site to take it on, and there’s plenty of free information available online once you know your four-letter “type” code. The first letter – E or I – tells you whether you lean more towards extraversion or introversion. You can also look up a lot of information online relating to your “type” and how best to interact with and understand other types. It’s almost guaranteed to help your social success.
Step One: Forming a Plan
Now that you know how to cope with social situations in the way that best, you’ll need a plan. The typical introvert doesn’t want to just hang around crowds in order to meet people. Instead, you probably prefer your social time to be scheduled so you can go home after you’re tired and need time to recharge.
This is why clubs and groups are one of your best bets for meeting pretty girls and guys. Think about it for a bit… it’s scheduled, so you won’t be tempted to just stay home until you drop out of contact with your new friends (and possible love interests) again, you have built-in conversation topics to get things rolling with those you meet, and you can have a lot of fun learning a new hobby, sport or game.
What should you do? Well, that’s up to you. You can often find information about different groups and clubs on Meetup.com, Facebook, through any universities or colleges (especially community colleges) you attend or live near, and personal sites. Think about things that interest you, browse these sites with the idea of finding new activities in mind, and stay open-minded. You may find an unexpected passion for trail running, cooking, or electric guitars. There are also geeky meetups like board game groups and computer lovers’ groups, if you want to ease into it or geekiness really rules your life.
Step Two: Execution of the Plan
If the club or group you choose is open, you don’t have to do this, but sometimes you’re required to send an application, call the group organizer, or post to say you’re coming. Remain calm and express an interest in the group, and just about any group will be flattered and happy that there are new members! Even if you’re new to the purpose of the group, many groups are tolerant and will gladly help a newbie out.
The most important thing is this: don’t chicken out. I know, your toe hurts or you worked late and you’re tired, or you don’t have anything nice to wear. Just show up! If you never do this, you’ll have a lot more trouble with meeting girls and guys.
Once you’re there, try to relax and enjoy yourself. Smile a lot, and if you find yourself really clamming up, set a goal for yourself of talking for a few minutes to just three new people each meeting. Before you know it, you’ll have some new friends.
Finally, don’t judge instantly. Even if there’s nobody there who instantly catches your eye, the gems of the lot are often hidden. The girl with the buck-teeth might turn out to be a geek with similar interests and your new best friend! Judging people on their outward appearance rarely ends well.
Step Three: Keep it Up!
You can’t leave it at one meeting if you want to get to know new people. Attend every meeting, rain or shine, and really make an effort to connect with people.
Want to know a secret? Most people are happy and friendly when they’re approached by someone new… but when they see a new person, they’re less likely to immediately strike up a conversation. This means the burden’s on you to start the conversation, but don’t worry. For everyone who “rejects” you or doesn’t want to talk, you’ll meet five or ten people who are flattered and happy that you talked to them first.
How About You?
Do you have any strategies or techniques you use (or have used) to meet new people? Did you get a girlfriend or boyfriend out of it? Or maybe you have an embarrassing story from trying to meet new people (don’t worry, we all do)…
Or does socialization come easily to you, and you find yourself always surrounded by new friends? Share your secrets to success!