As an introvert, small talk is one of the hardest things for me to do. It seems like such a waste of time especially when you can be discussing the deeper meaning of life…don’t you think? Anyway! I have been successful at building long-lasting relationships with a few friends because I’m deeply loyal and will give you the clothes off my back. However, all relationships aren’t meant to be deep meaningful relationships. This is where I flunk.
I have found it very difficult to build and maintain some personal as well as business relationships. Building relationships first requires small talk and I usually don’t even make it that far. Generally, I have tried to avoid people (I know…not good). If I see someone coming my way I would purposely go a different direction or if there were enough people around I would pretend as if I didn’t see them. At the same time, as an introvert, I can become so consumed with my thoughts that I’m totally unaware of anything going on around me. All of these actions can be perceived as someone who doesn’t want to be bothered or someone who is just being mean thus making me unapproachable.
As I have grown older and matured, I have tried to be more self-aware and more willing to “put myself out there” so that I can approach people as well as be approached. I realized that:
- You can’t build relationships if you don’t talk to people.
- You can’t talk to people if you’re not out meeting people.
- You can’t meet people if you don’t leave your place of comfort (house, cubicle, etc).
- If you don’t leave your place of comfort, you will not grow.
Here are a few habits I’ve put into practice:
- For the most part, I’ve stopped avoiding people (some days are more successful than others)
- I make it a point to smile and make eye contact when encountering people.
- I committed to making small talk with at least 1 person per day (let me tell you, that 1 is a challenge!)
- I try to learn by observing people who seemingly do it well.
Additionally, I will be putting into action some of the suggestions from the article in my last blog post “Tales of an Introvert: Conquering the Fear of Networking”.
Hope this helps!
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