9 Tips to Meet Strangers in the Real World

crowded steps on a train stationOne of the most common complaints I hear from my clients is that there is no one for them to date. Firstly, most of them have tried online dating and hate it. They can’t stand the scammers, liars, fakes, flakes, and general mentality.

But, they feel like they have no options because they’re out of school, their friend groups are limited, they don’t know their neighbors, and it seems that everyone their age is married or in a relationship.

I like to point out, however, that they see hundreds of people each day, on the bus, at the coffee shop, walking on the street, at work, next to them at the bar, and dining beside them at the restaurant. They’ve either never considered these options or have come up with elaborate reasons why these men and women are “off limits.”

This article is going to give you a 9 very basic tips to meet strangers in the real world and hopefully move to an actual relationship. The advice here is simple and for beginners. But, if you try it, you’ll find that it opens up a whole new world of opportunity. So, be safe and aware, but go ahead and “talk to strangers!”

Ditch the Excuses

If you decide to follow my advice, the first thing you’ll notice is the million excuses for why you can’t do it. The excuses will come even faster and stronger when you’re around strangers and ready to try these tips.

That guy on the train? He’s surely too busy to talk to you.
The girl at the coffee shop? Probably just wants to get her coffee and get out
The person who works in your building? If you date and break up, people might talk.

Much of this is simply approach anxiety which develops when trying to talk to attractive strangers. So, your brain comes up with all kinds of excuses as to why you can’t do it. Obviously you should be safe and avoid people who seem dangerous. But, if there’s no real danger, then most of your reasons for not talking are just going to be excuses.

I’ll be honest. There are people who will have objections to you interrupting their day. But, if you’re sincere, friendly, not creepy, and accept the word “no,” their rejection will be very soft. But, you’ll also find people who will be really happy that you talked to them.

One study showed that people who talked to strangers were happier than those who didn’t. But, what about the strangers themselves? Surely, they were offended, bothered, and annoyed, right??? No! They were happier too!

So, ditch the unhelpful mindset and excuses. If you feel safe and want to talk to the person, just do it. The worst that could happen is a rejection. Even then, it’s better to try and fail than not try at all.

Ditch the Electronics

The other day my good friend and I were attending a Gallery Hop in the downtown area of our city. We noticed three women walking, all of them on their phones. Needless to say if their goal was conversation with each other, enjoying the scenery, or even public safety on a busy sidewalk, they weren’t doing very well.

You might not even be aware of how many people are around you because you’re in a virtual world most of the day. This includes being on social media, listening to music, playing video games, etc.

I’m not against technology. I love it! But, if your goal is to meet new people and interact with them, you’ll have to put your phone in your pocket and focus on the incredible world–and its many inhabitants–right in front of you!

Smile and Say Hi

smiling black womanWhen many people think about “random approaches” they envision a witty opener followed by perfectly rehearsed dialog. While that can be a plus, more often than not it comes across as canned and awkward.

Fortunately, there is a super easy way to open a conversation. It involves smiling and saying “hi.” In fact, if you do it regularly, you’ll find people are very open to meeting you and you’ll get a reputation as a friendly person. You can do this anywhere without even thinking.

Ask a Question

Another way to open a conversation or to continue it is to ask a question. I recommend actually asking something that you sincerely want to know. For example, try “what’s a good drink here?” or “how do you use this?” The last one is good to use at gyms and other places where you might need help with something (like a fitness machine).

Asking questions can be very effective when getting to know people. It can start with something like “What brings you here?” and progress to topics that get people talking like “Do you have any pets?”

Just remember to ask the right questions. Most men and women typically focus on topics like jobs, education, personal history, etc. But, those are usually boring. Instead ask questions that people will be happy to talk about. This can be hobbies, pets, food, drinks, and life goals.

Make An Observation

Another way to open and build rapport is to make an observation, then use that as a springboard for continuing a conversation. This is super easy because you all you have to do is pay attention. Your surroundings will normally provide all the information you need.

Literally anything can be your topic. This can include the weather, the decor of the bar, the person’s shirt, the types of drinks the place sells, the fact that the train is running late and more. Pick something and say it. You’d be surprised how willing people are to talk about things all around them.

You can earn bonus points when meeting strangers in the real world by using observational humor, which is using your surroundings to make the other person laugh. Humor is always a big plus!

Offer A Compliment

Most people receive very little meaningful positive feedback throughout the day. Sure, they might get social media likes and online attention.

But, many are starved for that in the real world. To that end, a little compliment from a stranger can go a long way and be the start of a conversation.

The best compliments are specific ones focused on a person’s accomplishments. What I mean is that people like being complimented for something they worked hard on or put some effort into, even if that effort was buying clothes.

So, to meet a stranger, say something like “I really like your shirt” or “Those are cool boots.” These are way better than “You are so cute.” This kind of opening can lead to more conversation as you discuss the items in question. For example, if the shirt features a band, you can discuss the band.

Introduce Yourself

It might sound crazy, but simply walking up to people and introducing yourself is a surprisingly good tactic to talk to strangers. Simply say “I don’t think we’ve met yet, I’m ______.” It’s amazing how well people respond to this if you’re friendly.

Even if you don’t do that, make sure to introduce yourself at some point early on in the conversation. That’s a simple way to establish that your goal is to move from stranger to something else.

Establish Your Intention

It’s very important to establish your reason for talking to the other person from the very start. You don’t need to do it in the first thirty seconds necessarily, but, as the conversation progresses, make sure that person has an inkling that this is more than just friendly chatting.

You can do this by flirting, establishing that you find the other person attractive, mentioning that you are single, and so on. Be subtle and gradual. But, make sure, after at least a few minutes, that the other person at least gets the “this could be my boyfriend/girlfriend” vibe from you. If your goal is just to be friends, then give that vibe instead.

Go For Followup

couple hugging on a beachIf you feel that you’ve built some connection, then make sure you try for some kind of followup. This can be adding each other on social media (often the easiest) or going for more by getting a phone number or even asking to hang out again. I usually say something like “you’re a cool person, so we should add each other on Snap Chat” or something like that.

This might strike fear in your heart, but if you connect with someone, then it’s natural to want to continue the conversation. Plus, unlike with online dating, you’ve already established that you like this person, you get along on a basic level, and you want more.

Isn’t it worth it to try? Hell yes it is!

These tips are very, very basic. But, if you’re committed to meeting new people outside of online dating, they will be a great start. Try them out and see what happens. If you’re struggling with online dating, I promise that you will find boldly taking the lead and meeting new people incredibly empowering.

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About the Author

Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett is a writer, speaker, and dating/relationship expert. He's helped millions through his articles, speaking, consulting, and coaching. He's appeared in over 500 major publications, including Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal, and Psychology Today.

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