How do I engage with people when it’s hard?

I’m not overly loud or social or outgoing – I’m actually most comfortable as an introvert – so if you meet me, you might not realize that this never stopping doing things here and there connects to resist myself of not to engage with people.

Until today, sometimes I still feel anxious about meeting new people, worried that I would be awkward at talking to everyone or not fit in. That would have been a huge mistake.

It’s hard to connect, because cultural norms get in the way —  We’re supposed to say cool or witty things, but not share our greatest hopes for our lives or our struggles. But the sooner I overcome this resistance, the better — so I change my perception upon encounter new people: “Who knows what I’ll discover?”

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, not kind of any experts, but sharing some thoughts probably helps:

  • Overcome your resistance. The first step starts within you. Don’t think about negative thoughts or hesitation, but instead come and be present with curious mind and a smile in your face (but of course not too much! XD).
  • Surround yourself with people with your interests. It’s easier to talk about your interest, as you know the topic and feel comfortable talking about interests, hobbies and such.
  • Share when you can. Nothing to lose about sharing what you know, people might find it interesting and happy to open more conversation with you, knowing that you are open to communicate your ideas.
  • Don’t hide in your phone. In my opinion, this has become a trend in most social environment. We often just checking notifications or organizing files on your phone to avoid yourself from  people. To connect with real human, I think we need to reduce this habit :).
  • Practice makes you better and more comfortable at it. Similar to the classic advice : “Practice makes perfect”, well, perfect probably not exist but I promise practice will improve your skills on overcoming anxiety in conversation.
  • Make an effort to keep in touch! Engage with them, and grow your friendship, Who knows? He or she who was a stranger may become your best friend in future.

These ideas have helped me, and I hope they help you. Because simple connections with wonderful human beings have changed my life in a good way. If you have more tips to share, I’d be really happy to know.


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