Meeting People For The First Time: 3 Tips To Avoid Feeling Awkward

by Heather on September 30, 2013

Meeting people for the first time

Meeting People For The First Time: 3 Tips To Avoid Feeling Awkward

by Heather Goffrier

When you going to an event where you are meeting people for the first time, how do you feel? Do you feel confident, like you could talk to anyone? Does it make you nervous? Or do stay away from new situations so you don’t have to go through the awkward moments?

As military wives, we are constantly in new situations and having to make new friends. It can be really nerve wracking. I hate that feeling of standing there by myself, looking around and not knowing what to do or who to talk to.

I used to feel really self-conscious in those situations, but I’ve learned some good ways to ease the stress of meeting new people. Here are three tips:

1. Prepare In Advance When Meeting People For The First Time

You may think it’s dumb, but preparing in advance can help you to be more confident in an intimidating social situation. It’s no fun to have those awkward pauses– the ones where you’re both looking down or up or anywhere but at the other person.

Think of a couple questions to ask, such as: “How long have you lived here/been at this command?” “Do you live in Oak Harbor or Anacortes?” (you fill in the blank with your city) Do you have kids, do you work, etc.

Also, come up with a brief explanation of what you do. “I stay at home with my daughter, and I have a blog.” “I work at an accounting firm.” “I run marathons, and dog-sit on the side.”

Whatever it is you do, be ready to share it. Just one little question or comment can get a conversation started. You may meet your next best pal.

2. Relax: It’s Not As Bad As You Think

I know you might not believe me, but not everyone is staring at you– even if you feel like they are. Everyone else is probably just as worried that people are staring at them.

I like the phrase “fake it till you make it.” Even if you’re a ball of nerves when meeting people for the first time, take a deep breath and pretend to be confident. It helps. And smile. Just smiling makes you look much more inviting, and someone is more likely to come up and say hi.

If I’m feeling weird about going somewhere alone, I keep my phone handy. If there’s a dead moment or a time when I’m sitting by myself, I’ll pull it out or a minute. It helps me not have that awkward “uh what do I do now” feeling. However, it’s good to look up every so often from the phone. If you stare at if for 10 minutes, people might think you’re uninterested in chatting and they won’t approach you.

 3. Introduce Yourself

Like I said earlier, others are probably feeling the same way you are. You won’t always have the luxury of people coming up to you and making it easy by introducing themselves. And remember that when someone does come up to you, they are taking initiative and putting themselves out there.

You can do the same. Try going up to someone you don’t know and just say, “Hi, I don’t think I’ve met you yet. I’m Heather.” Or, use one of your prepared questions from Tip #1. “Hi, I’m Heather.” (Pause for them to say their name) then, “How long have you been at this command?”

It’s really that simple. Prepare in advance, relax, and introduce yourself. 

Remember how nice it feels when someone takes initiative with you. Now it’s time to do the same for someone else. In the end, it benefits you because you have avoided that awkward feeling. And you may just have a new friend too.


I’d love to hear how you feel about meeting new people.

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