Meeting New People

Meeting new people is a difficult thing for shy, introverted people, or those with Social Anxiety, but neither is it always the easiest thing for extroverts who are out of  their comfort zone.

When meeting new people, after names and introductions, many people fall back on an old standard opening question such as ” What do you do?”

Often the person asking the question uses this as a standard opening question, wanting to initiate conversation and find out more about you. However, are we interested enough in what we can learn from each other, to stop asking “What do you do?” and start asking “Who are you?  What is your story?”

Would it not be better to ask questions such as this, (in a timely fashion), as the conversation progresses, like:

  • What brings you here?
  • Where were you born?
  • Where do you live now?
  • What makes you smile?DSC_0163
  • What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
  • What is your deepest fear?
  • What is your greatest dream for your life?

What questions do you ask? Are some more effective than others? What else could you add to this list?

Something to Ponder About.

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About Forestwoodfolk

Scandinavian culture, literature and traditions are close to my heart, even though I am Australian. I have Scandinavian, Frisian and Prussian/Silesian ancestry and for that reason, I feel a connection with that part of the world. I am an avid Nordic Crime fiction reader, and enjoy photography, writing and a variety of cooking and crafts, and traditional decorative art forms. Politically aware and egalitarian by nature, I have a strong environmental bent.
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6 Responses to Meeting New People

  1. Ese' s Voice says:

    What you wrote made me think not so much about the questions I do ask when meeting people but how interesting it turns out….with some it just “clicks” at once and conversation keeps rolling but with some others….no matter how would try, it just doesn’t happen. And it’s not so much about shyness even or the wrong questions or approach…i think. 🙂

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    • An astute observation, Ese! You are so right about how some people seem to be on the same wavelength. I do think chatty people are more able to get a “flow” going with the conversation, or is it that they ask more questions than others. Some people seem to pull down the shutters and no matter how many open ended questions one asks them, they don’t want to communicate, at that moment. Appreciate your comments!

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  2. This is a great post. I really do dislike the “what do you do?” question. I “DO” lots of things but I think what the person asking the question is really trying to find out is “what do you do to make money?” My question to someone new would be “what was the last book you read?” “tell me about it.”

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    • Another great open ended question, that can lead to further discussions, or even disagreements! In years gone by, when a lot of Mothers were stay at home mothers, I used to cringe when I would hear the phrase, So, Amanda, do you work? I used to want to say, and at times, even did say, (through gritted teeth), “All Mothers work” !!!

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  3. I actually like these tips…I rarely if ever ask people what they do and I dont even know exactly what some of my friends do for a living…there are so many other interesting things to talk about and things that makes a person who they are that work dont have to come up as a topic,

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    • Absolutely, Janaline! Sometimes it seems people just ask the What do you do? question as an automatic response to meeting new people. You sound like you really want to get to know the person, which is much more genuine. It would be a pleasure to meet you!

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