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5 Ways to Connect with Anyone (without changing who you are)

Updated: Jan 8, 2022

Meaningful Connections Help Us Thrive

“Umm….”. [Silence]. “So….”.

Sound familiar?

Getting stuck in the awkward small talk phase is horrible. It feels like your whole body is cringing.

Because of this, forming deep connections with people often feels out of reach.

However, these deep connections are what introverts crave. They help us thrive. You feel like you belong in the world. That you’re seen, supported, understood.

Once you know how to connect with anyone, life is abundant with possibility. Networking events feel less scary. Instead, they are an opportunity to meet interesting people. You feel seen by the supermarket cashier who knows you by name and greets you enthusiastically. The post officer stops to say hi as she goes about her route.

The world feels like a friendlier place.

I'm so excited to welcome our guest blogger, Daisy Simonis, to the Beyond Introversion community. Daisy manages a fantastic website for introverts and her 5 tips for connecting with others can be life-changing for any introvert! Gobble it up... -Steve Friedman

Here are 5 ways to connect with anyone, while staying true to your introversion:

1. Cultivate pronoia

Pronoia is the belief that the world is conspiring to bring good things into your life. It’s the complete opposite of paranoia.

Human minds tend to follow this path when forming beliefs:

Thoughts → Feelings → Actions → Result.

If you want a different result, you need to go to the start of the sequence.

Changing your thoughts around a situation changes the story you tell yourself. Instead of interpreting something as a problem, it could be exactly the learning curve you need. Or by not getting the result you wanted, it’s a warning sign that something is not quite right in your life.

You can cultivate pronoia for most social situations:

Set yourself the challenge of discovering something new. Asking slightly quirky questions is a good way to do this. Instead of “what place do you recommend?”, flip it to “where would you not want to visit again?”.

Tell yourself that this is a great opportunity to learn. It’s not every day you hear facts about sea urchins from your conversational partner. Take advantage of this.

Assume from the start that you’ll connect with people. You immediately go into new situations feeling positive and hopeful.

We tend to find what we look for. Both with the negatives and the positives!

2. Take advantage of the action bias

The action bias describes our preference to favour action over inaction—even if we don’t know what result we get.

Once you’ve taken the first step, the first action, it feels easier to continue. You’re building up momentum.

Think about the last time you went to the gym or worked out. Once you put on your gym clothes and walked out the door, it probably felt logical to go. Otherwise, you would have wasted all that effort getting ready. It’s the “putting on gym clothes” and “walking out the door” actions that need the biggest bursts of energy.

This cycle of taking action works because you are leveraging the “winner effect.” This is the jolt of testosterone your body gets when you experience a win. It boosts your confidence. You feel like you can achieve anything.

Let’s say you’ve been asked to go to a networking event by your manager. You can consciously lean into the winner effect by building up small wins:

  1. You booked your spot (if you needed to) = win!

  2. You got on a bus or train or your car to go there = win!

  3. You signed in with the host = win!

Now your brain is looking for the next win. Oh, that person standing alone? Walk up to them smiling = win!

3. Search for and call out “me too” moments

Humans are tribal creatures at heart. We trust and like people who are similar to us. We distrust those who are different.

Leverage this by highlighting anything your conversational partner shares that you’ve also had an experience of.

These “me too” moments show we are both from the same tribe.