Conversation Skills
For Men

Difficulty Meeting New People? 7 Habits Of Socially Confident People

April 28, 2024
▪ 10 mins read

Maybe it’s because of social anxiety, maybe it’s post-pandemic, maybe it’s living our lives on social media, but more people are feeling lonelier than ever before and finding it difficult meeting new people. You also don’t need a dating expert to tell you that meeting new people, and forming new social relationships, is a foundation to getting great dates. 

I’m dating coach Hayley Quinn and I have over 15 years experience teaching men and women how to meet one another in real life, to form friendships and romantic relationships, with my dedicated live coaching events. In this blog, I’ll share:

  • 7 habits of confident people to help you get into the right mindset to improve your social interactions and find it easier to meet new people
  • How finding it difficult meeting new people can also interfere with your chances of romantic success 
  • 7 companion exercises to show you how meeting new people can be rewarding and fun 

1. Develop a lifestyle that supports your goals

Poster Saying Habit 1 Develop A Lifestyle That Supports Your Goals

Logically it might seem that meeting new people should be easy: People are everywhere! However, what I notice with my coaching clients, is unless they’ve first built the lifestyle and social habits to support their goals they'll find it difficult meeting new people, it's very hard for them to create change.

Let’s analogise your social life to going to the gym: In order to reach a certain fitness goal you’d probably expect to have to work out a few times a week. Your social life is no different. To create enough social opportunities to meet people, you’ll need to commit to going out at least 1-2 times per week. This momentum is also important to help support you feeling comfortable with socialising. If you only go about meeting new people once in a blue moon, these occasions will feel more stressful to you! 

It’s also important to accept when you’re meeting new people, that no one place you go to is going to be a magic solution. Some events and places you attend will be pretty good, others a total flop. That’s just normal. Also just because an event isn’t well suited to you one time, doesn’t mean that all events like that won’t work. So try not to get put off meeting new people by one or two failed attempts! Sometimes it does feel hard to meet new people, but with tenacity you can get results.

If budgeting a limitation when you’re meeting new people, consider looking into free “meet-up” style events, joining free fitness events like Park Run or going to events at public museums and galleries. 

More good places for meeting new people:

  • Partner dance events like Salsa, Bachata, Swing.
  • Bouldering, Crossfit, Yoga, or any other fitness activity with a strong community element.
  • Networking events, meet-ups, speed dating and singles events. These often make it easier to talk to new people as you know they’re there for the same reason as you! 
  • Trendy bars, hotel lounges, and pubs where people go for after work drinks. 
  • Bookstores.
  • Coffee shops and co-working spaces where people choose to work outside of their homes. 
  • Festivals and music events.
  • If you live in a big city then look out for specific events based around your interests (Tech week, Fashion week etc.) 

If you’re finding the thought of all this socialising overwhelming, then it could be a good idea for you to look into therapy, CBT or counselling first, before you take the next action steps I’m going to suggest. 

2. A conversation a day keeps anxiety at bay

 Poster Saying Habit 2 A Conversation A Day Keeps Anxiety At Bay

If you’re finding it difficult meeting new people, as well as figuring out where to meet new people, you’ll also want to consider how you go about meeting them. We don’t tend to worry as much about things we do everyday. Which is why the first step to improving how you’re meeting new people, is to build a lifestyle and new habits that really support your goals.

The next habit we want to create is that you develop a reflex for speaking to strangers (gulp!) After over 15 years of coaching people to meet one another in real life, I know that talking to someone you don’t know can feel intimidating. The good news is, many, many people will be in similar shoes to you and they will appreciate you taking a moment to talk to them. 

By making a conscious effort everyday to start conversations, you’re also developing an important reflex for reacting to social opportunities. If you tend to sit back in social settings, or find it harder to engage with others, this is a really important step to get your social muscles warmed up! 

3. The best topic of conversation... is yourself

Poster Saying Habit 3 The Best Topic of Conversation is Yourself

You might like the idea of talking to strangers more regularly, but have no idea how to go about it. A relatively easy way to get started creating this new habit of talking to people daily is to think, “everytime I buy something, I also buy 30 seconds of conversation skills practice.” That’s right, I’m going to encourage you to have a conversation with the person who is selling you your morning coffee, or gas for your car. 

Here’s the twist: Instead of asking them a question, you’re instead going to share some information about yourself, the easiest way to do this is to talk to them about why you’re making your purchase. This builds trust and is a soft invitation for them to join in the conversation. For example you could say:

“The price of gas is crazy right now, but I’ve got a major road trip ahead of me…”
“I have to admit this is my third coffee of the day, I’m addicted!”
“The weather’s so nice and warm, I really needed this bottle of water.”

What you might be surprised to notice is that about 50% of people will stop what they’re doing and naturally engage in conversation with you. I double dare you to try this skill of meeting new people out! 

If these comments don’t feel natural, try making a general comment about something you can both observe. It doesn’t need to be witty or clever, just something that both of you notice:

“The queues are crazy today…”
“Thank you for being patient, it’s so busy!”
“It’s much warmer than I thought it would be…” 

The bottom line is if you’re finding it difficult meeting new people, the single most important change you can make is getting more comfortable with starting talking to strangers. (Easier said than done, I know, so I have a tip for you coming right up…)

4. Turn your excuse into your ice breaker 

Poster Saying Habit 4 Turn Your Excuse Into Your Ice Breaker

Even if meeting new people is high up on your agenda, I can promise you now your mind will helpfully offer you excuses that will get in the way of you talking to people. This means that though you may really want to meet new friends, you’ll feel even with the best intentions like it’s difficult meeting new people.

The first step to moving through your excuses is to notice when they’re coming up for you, and to write them down. Writing down what your excuses are will help you to recognise them for what they are (excuses) and choose a different thought instead. 

Common excuses for not talking to people: 

  • I don’t know what to say.
  • I don’t have a good reason to talk to them.
  • What if those people over there notice what I’m doing.
  • I don’t want to intrude. 
  • They’re having a good conversation, I don’t want to interrupt. 
  • I don’t have anything interesting to say.
  • Why would they want to talk to me?
  • They’re going to reject me.
  • They’re not quite my type. 
  • I can’t possibly talk to them when I’m wearing shoes like these. 

If you want to turn meeting new people into an art form you can also start to consider these excuses as providing you with fantastic ice breakers! All you’ve got to do is to have the courage to share what’s going on in your mind with someone new:

“I almost didn’t speak to you as I’m embarrassed that I was wearing my gym gear!” 
“I know I’m gate crashing but I wanted to say I like how animated the conversation you’re both having is…”
“I don’t really have a reason for it, but I just wanted to come and say hi.”

Like I said, ninja level social skills! 

5. Remember your ‘type’ is hypothetical until you meet your ideal partner

Poster Saying Habit 5 Remember Your 'Type' Is Hypothetical Until You Meet Your Ideal Partner

A major excuse that will make it difficult for you to meet new people is, “they’re not my type.” This assumption (remember you don’t know them yet) will limit you from social interactions. I like to think of this idea of your “type” being purely hypothetical: Until you’ve met someone, interacted with them, and built a good relationship, how do you know who is your type or not?

Taking romance out of the equation for a second, I bet you can think of someone who you didn’t think that much of at first, who turned out to be a really good friend? Try not to get stuck with such a rigid idea of who you’re looking to meet, that you end up not meeting anyone. 

Ironically as well, even if you see your perfect “type”, if you’re not in the habit of talking to new people, that opportunity is likely to feel overwhelming and you won’t be able to take the opportunity to meet someone even if it does arise!!  

On the note of dating, getting better at meeting new people generally increases your chances of romantic success. 

How does getting better at meeting new people generally help my love life?

  • You will have developed a lifestyle where you’re meeting enough new people. 
  • You will get better at recognising opportunities. 
  • You will get better at taking action and starting conversations. 
  • You will come across as more socially confident.
  • You will have a circle of friends which makes you more attractive. 
  • You will have a circle of friends, which makes it easier to meet new people.
  • You will have a circle of friends so that all your needs don’t need to be fulfilled by your romantic partner. 

6. Start noticing clues someone wants to talk to you 

Poster Saying Habit 6 Start Noticing Clues Someone Wants To Talk To You

Now you’re (hopefully) finding it slightly less difficult meeting new people, try to notice when people are socially open whenever you are talking to them. By this I mean that they seem willing to engage in a conversation. Not everyone you meet will be socially open, and that’s often not a reflection of you. When you meet someone they’ll be preoccupied with their own life, and their initial reaction to you is more likely to reflect how socially comfortable they are, than how you present yourself. 

As you progress your social skills development and become better at meeting new people; you’ll become better at recognising the signs and signals that someone wants to talk to you. This will start to become like a sixth sense so you end up “just knowing” who really wants to talk to you; it’s a life changing ability! 

What are some signs someone wants to talk to me?

  • They make and maintain eye contact. 
  • They smile.
  • They seem relaxed. 
  • They actively slow down so you can catch up and talk to them.
  • They return a gesture (i.e. a small wave).
  • They turn their body language towards you.
  • They remain still and focused on you.
  • They don’t check their phone.
  • They don’t look away from you (this is a subtle social cue that they want to leave!) 
  • They ask you questions.
  • They offer information into the conversation that you didn’t ask for. 
  • They are comfortable swapping names. 

7. Reward yourself for small social wins

Poster Saying Habit 7 Reward Yourself For Small Social Wins

Rome wasn’t built in a day and the path to changing your social habits will not be consistent. Change takes time, maybe even years, but the journey to become better at meeting new people will be worth it. Meeting new people may seem hard at first, but given time you can conquer this goal and make socialising a rewarding part of your life.

Even if you’ve just got to the end of this blog and video give yourself a huge pat on the back, that is a step! 

Likewise even if you go to an event, stay 20 minutes and decide it’s not for you, or have a few moments of chat with someone at a gas station, these are all wins. Remind yourself of your achievements! 

Meeting new people can feel difficult and intimidating. To be successful at meeting new people also requires your time and effort. By acknowledging yourself regularly for the work you do in this area you will stay on track to keep motivated! 

Difficulty Meeting New People | FAQs

What is a good quote about meeting someone?

“Your type is hypothetical until you meet your ideal partner”, meeting new people is an opportunity to experience and explore who they are. Remain curious about new people that you meet, and remember the idea you hold of who your type is, is purely hypothetical until you meet someone that you form a lasting relationship with. 

Why don’t I feel like meeting new people?

  1. Meeting people isn’t a priority for you right now. 
  2. Another area of your life (i.e. work) is taking up a lot of your time and energy.
  3. You find it hard to motivate yourself to leave the house. (If this is the case please speak to a licensed therapist.) 
  4. You have social anxiety, and find meeting new people stressful. 
  5. You live a significant journey away from places where you could meet new people.
  6. You’re naturally introverted and prefer your own company. 
  7. You fear being let down by new social connections.
  8. You’re concerned you will embarrass yourself in social scenarios. 
  9. You have a medical condition which makes socialising more difficult. 
  10. You’re content with your life as it is. 

Why is meeting new people so hard? 

  1. You rely on social media and dating apps to meet new people, and find real life interactions difficult. 
  2. You work from home. 
  3. You feel self conscious in social settings. 
  4. You have lost touch with your friendship circle. 
  5. You don’t enjoy busy, loud social environments.
  6. You don’t have many hobbies or interests. 
  7. You prefer your own company.
  8. You find the idea of talking to someone new intrusive.
  9. You worry that people will judge you for talking to them. 
  10. You find small talk difficult. 

How do I get over my fear of talking to new people?

  1. Aim to do 1-2 social activities per week so socialising becomes part of your weekly routine.
  2. Give yourself permission to leave a social occasion after 20 minutes if you don’t like it. 
  3. Talk to everyone, not just the people you’re particularly attracted to.
  4. Make a habit out of talking to people who are serving you when you buy something to practise your social skills. 
  5. Become familiar with your excuses that stop you talking to new people. 
  6. Seek support from a licensed therapist or coach.
  7. Plan something simple to say when you have the opportunity to talk to someone. 
  8. Use gestures like smiling, eye contact and waving to signal to another person that you’d like to talk. 
  9. Ask an existing friend to come with you for emotional support. 
  10. Acknowledge yourself for the action steps you do successfully take. 
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