One of the most nerving facts about traveling is not knowing anybody while on the road. Some people crave this kind of “fresh start” and look forward to meeting new people. However, especially when moving around alone, conversations with strangers can come few and far between if you let it; the best way to fix that? Make an effort to shake the shyness! Here’s my best advice about how to meet friends while traveling!
It is certainly easier said than done. The fact of the matter is, no matter how much extroverted we THINK we are, when placed in the situation all alone, we all become a little more skittish. When you see a person that looks approachable, chances are you won’t initiate conversation right away. It can be intimidating and you will be concerned about being interesting enough to entertain this stranger during a conversation. You’ll think about the possibilities that can come from introducing yourself, and by the time you’ve gumption up enough courage, the opportunity will have passed itself and the target person will be gone.
Just remember these few tips:
First, always remember that most strangers want to talk to new people just as much as you do. Hell, there is a good chance that the person wants you to approach them. Everyone is looking for new friends.
Second, remember to listen to the strangers you meet and ask questions! You will find out that all around the world, a majority of the people you will meet will like talking about themselves. It will make your conversation partner feel more comfortable with you and lay the foundation of a friendship.
Be genuine. People can tell when you are feeding them tall tales just as you can weave out a liar when you are talking to one. Don’t just act interested in a conversation- do your best to be interested and find common ground with whoever you are speaking to.
Conversing with strangers might come easily to you, but where do you meet them? You are in a city you don’t know, locals are seemingly moving at 100 miles per hour, and it is hard to find a single person that looks reasonably approachable. Good thing there is an app for that!
Whenever I am traveling (or at home for that matter) I am constantly on the app Eventbrite. This ingenious app allows anyone to post events, big or small, to one central location. This is a great alternative to the touristy options of a city. If you are a traveler on a budget, you will also be happy to hear that many of these events are FREE events and a great opportunity to meet locals as well as other travelers.
If you are just too much of an introvert to be the one to approach unsuspecting strangers, the least you can do is look approachable. This means to make time to pull your headphones out, especially on public transportation systems. It could also mean putting on random smiles, or at least a “happy face” when you are out and about. No one wants to approach a grouchy-looking person.
To sum everything up, meeting people on the road isn’t as difficult as it looks. It just takes some effort on your part because not everyone is going to come marching into your life. Sometimes you have to be your own ice-breaker. I highly recommend making the extra effort because the people you meet on the road will make the whole experience worth it.