In today’s rapidly evolving social climate, it’s simply not enough to have stimulating back-and-forth with someone that you’re trying to make a connection with. If you’re going to win their trust and interest, you’ve got to set a certain tone.
To help you deal with these challenges, we’ve asked three sociologists to share their go-to tips for winning over a potential new friend for game night, or maybe even marriage night.
Blaire McBlair, Middle City
“Pointing out someone’s flaws? Yes, yes, and yes. Deep down, everyone appreciates when they’re discretely told they have a chia seed or part of a condom wrapper stuck in their teeth.
Show them you have initiative by taking it a step further; try pointing out obvious things they already know about, but are actively trying to deal with or repress. That’s a guaranteed way to make a lasting impression.”
Blaire’s Bonus Tip: “If they seem to be having a really good time before you approach them, make sure you open the conversational floodgates by talking about the weather, bringing up mundane work topics, or by asking how far along they are in their pregnancy.
Leading with these elegant ice breakers will help balance out their mood so you can have an even-keeled conversation, which of course will make it much easier to point out their flaws.”
Adolf Sitzpinkler, Buenos Aires
“Don’t be afraid to quickly explore the possibility of travelling together. This could work slightly in your favour, or go very, very badly. For example, ask them if they’d be interested in some alone time at your tool shed in the woods. Worst case scenario, you badly scare someone and get a visit from the police.
Best case scenario, you’ll bring someone new out to your tool shed and finally be able get an honest opinion on how the shed’s new siding looks. Weigh the risk depending on your criminal history, and how uncertain you are about your shed’s siding.”
Adolf’s Hot Tip: “If a topic is taboo around your family’s kitchen table, now is the time to test it out. After all, you’re trying to make new friends, right? For example, it’s never a bad idea when meeting someone new to bring up how the Holocaust never happened. Lead with that.”
Susan Ribstone, Pincher Creek
“Do your best to reduce someone to a hobby, profession, or some other form of basic identifier, and then exploit that for comedic purposes, or simply as an honest replacement for their given name because you forgot it the minute they told you.
For example, if they do CrossFit, be sure to always call them ‘CrossFit guy’, or ‘fat guy who does CrossFit’. They’ll remember you for life.”
Susan’s Hot Bonus Tip: “Try your best to keep the conversation about you. You don’t want to be seen as arrogant by shoving your listening skills in someone’s face.”
Let us know what works for you, and what doesn’t. Have any tips to share about making new friends? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.