Like a lot of daygamers I am very introverted. Being introverted doesn’t mean I’m shy or scared of public events, it just means I recharge emotionally on my own. I love social events and need people and company in my life, it’s just that I also need a lot of time on my own. Extroverts on the other hand tend to recharge their batteries around friends and loved ones and are energized by people.
Discovering this was a real awakening and being able to embrace my introversion and spend quality time on my own has become a big asset and enjoyable part of my life, but I embraced it a little too much and pretty much gave up on any small talk with strangers and over the years spent less and less time with friends.
I recognized this was something I needed to change and here are some of the things I did to expose myself to talking to strangers.
Eye contact and smiling at old people
This might sound a bit silly, but old people are the friendliest strangers you will meet. I don’t know why, and it doesn’t really matter, but when I went out for my daily walks I made an effort to make eye contact and smile at anyone that reciprocated.
I was living in Redcliffe and would walk along the beach most afternoons, there were a lot of old people doing the same and making eye contact and exchanging smiles had a sobering effect on me. There was something really authentic in the exchange without words of complete strangers that will probably never see each other again. We wanted nothing from each other, yet we were both happy to be in the same place at the same time and recognize each other’s presence with a smile.
It made me feel like the world was not such a hostile place and if old people that had been here a lot longer than me would engage me that way what excuse did a hot girl have not to smile back at me if I smiled at here. Or at least if I did make eye contact with a girl and smiled and it wasn’t reciprocated then I was able to tell myself that she was the weird one, not me.
Talking to Shop Assistants
This is a pretty easy one because it’s part of their job to be nice to you. With some knowledge in my head from the books I had read, my new dapper clothes and an inquisitive mind to see if any of this stuff really worked I started flirting with female shop assistants. What I discovered was deep eye contact and a low, slow and steady voice got a very good response.
I don’t know if they were actually attracted to me or they just recognized I was flirting with them and they were a bit flattered, but the smiles and sparkle in their eyes gave me enough encouragement to think that my new clothes and just a shift in my body language and increase in eye contact, had big potential.
One morning at the dentist reception I could see one of the admin girls doing some menial task sorting cards and I remembered from my research that teases could be effective, “That looks fun, got you on the rookie work do they?” I said. She looked up and with a beaming smile and said something about how boring it was. Not to be out-done for attention the other receptionist moved in and mentioned something about the rainy weather. “Nice day to stay in bed…… especially if you have company” I replied with a cheeky grim and they both blushed and pupils dilated. Then along came the more senior person closer to my age seeing the young girls were getting all the attention and presented me with a gift voucher for the local coffee shop they had done a deal with and chatted with her for a bit about that.
I walked out, thinking wow, I just had all this attention just from me putting in a bit of effort to by charming and cheeky and looking a bit nicer. Then I realized I had the perfect opportunity to invite one of them for coffee with me since I had the voucher in my hand. I realized it’s a progressive skill and the attention I had gotten was enough for now, in future I hope will be present enough to take better advantage of those opportunities.