You can make new friends anywhere… even if you’re by yourself in an unfamiliar place, like a new city. Chatting with people to make more friends is fun and a great way to build your social circle, so having the ability to approach a group and meet lots of new people is a powerful social skill to develop.
However, if you find the idea of chatting to groups of people by yourself a little daunting, then don’t worry -it’s quite natural to feel a little nervous: this is an advanced skill.
Approaching a group can feel like you’re walking into a lion’s den at times: as soon as you open your mouth you’re under pressure to make a great impression with the entire audience who are now looking at you… otherwise you risk coming across as an intrusion to their free time.
It’s for this reason that most people never even try to approach a group of strangers; only starting conversations with people who are also out by themselves. This really limits their options for connecting with people, making more friends easily and revamping their social life. This is behaviour that some people can do fairly well at a party, with a few drinks inside them. Doing it smoothy, whilst sober, in the daytime is a different prospect.
Understanding Group Dynamics Theory
Happily, I’m going to share some tips with you that’ll ensure those first few moments of approaching a group of strangers passes easily. That way, you can focus on making more friends, rather than collecting a sea of icy stares and cold shoulders.
For the most part, it’s easier to approach a group of people who are in a bar, pub or club. After all, the people in a venue like this huddled under the same roof for the same reason: to have fun!
Being chatty and meeting new people goes with the territory. Hence, if you squash enough people together into one space (indoors or outdoors), it’s almost certain that the groups will begin to mix and people will talk to one another… the group dynamics exist simply because everybody is standing so close together!
However, for this video, I wanted to practice talking to groups of people who were not squeezed close together as you would find in a typical social environment, such as on a popular beach. In other words, talking to groups who were busy amongst themselves and isolated from neighbouring communities of people.
(Hey, I like to make life difficult for myself!)
In my opinion, attempting to approach and befriend a group of people who are sitting on their own, in an empty park, is one of the more difficult scenarios you will encounter on your journey to improve your social skills.
After all, you don’t know why they are there, or whether they are receptive to a random person like you infiltrating their private gathering. Worse still, they can see you for a good while as you walk up to them, which affects your ability to operate smoothly!
Time for a Few Social Experiments
Following a few days of wet weather, the London park I visited was almost absent of people sitting on the rain-soaked grass. It was perfect training ground to test a few ideas out! In the video, we’ll look at how to approach and befriend a group of people. You’ll learn how to approach a group of girls; and how to apporached a mixed group of people.
I walked up to the group and hung around near them for a while. I was curious to see if this would help acquaint themselves with my presence. It didn’t. Nobody spoke to me so I asked a question to start the ball rolling. Two members of the group kindly answered my
question and I was left with nothing to do but leave.
Lesson Learned: Take responsibility for beginning the conversation and don’t use a question that can be answered with one word to start the conversation: after it has been answered you have nothing left to talk about and no reason for being near them (unless you fight for conversation, which would be awkward).
This time, I decided to take the initiative and start conversation by asking an open ended question to the group, about the badminton game a few of them were playing (just out of shot in the video). The idea was that this would hint that I might also be up for a game. The group answered my question but didn’t really expand on their reply, or get the subtle hint, so I was left in a situation where I had to leave… or linger around in an awkward fashion that the British do so well. I left!
Lesson Learned: Bring something of value to the group. Asking a question takes away their time from each other and is distracting, unless you can feed more conversation off of it. Walking up to a group with something interesting or fascinating in tow will make them more receptive to you.
This time I walked up to the group with a gimmick: a pop-up frisbee that I wanted to test out. Ever wondered how to approach a group of girls outdoors? Take a game with you! The promise of fun got one of the girls to join in the game and her friends enjoyed the source of amusement (and me looking moronic).
Consequently, this group were more engaged with me, but now I had a new hurdle. I didn’t take responsibility to sit down and join them! Instead, I waited to be asked, which we already know doesn’t work. Overall, a fun interaction but not one where I really got to connect with anybody new.
Lesson Learned: Ask for permission to join the group once you have engaged them on an emotional level: “Do you mind if I join you?” works well.
I approached the group and got their attention as early as possible. I asked if they were friendly (they were) and proceeded to ask them a straightforward question. We chatted light-heartedly and then I asked to join them. They agreed and I met some very cool people as a result!
Lesson Learned: Be cheerful and in a good mood. As soon as the group smile, ask to join them and proceed to sit down (NB. next time, I will remind myself of a cool event I can invite them out to at the end of our chat.)
So there you have it: a simple strategy for meeting and connecting with groups of people in public spaces!
Exclusive BONUS Video: A Simple Technique to Create a Massive Connection with People
Sometimes you can unexpectedly hit it off when talking to new people. You’ll know that awesome moment: it’s when you instantly feel like you’re talking to a friend and and the conversation blasts wide open.
It’s a great feeling when it happens but is there a tried-and-tested technique that will allow you to connect with people on a deep emotion level every time? I decided to make another exclusive video, revealing a technique I DISCOVERED that will help you ‘click’ with every person you meet!
You can only see the Bonus Video on my Facebook Page (to find it, scroll down the wall to October 2011). Keep up to date with more exclusive videos like this one by clicking “LIKE” on my Facebook page once you get there!