It seems to be a common statement around that “it’s just too hard to get connected and make friends in Vancouver.” Well I’d like to propose a solution, and it starts with you!
Some of our most memorable moments can come from unexpected connections with strangers. Random connections can bring you so much exhilaration and joy but one of the best ways to create connections is to be open to the possibility of a connection!
Here are seven ways to burst your bubble and get connected to the life around you:
1. Take out your headphones
Walking with headphones on does not allow you to connect to anything but your music. Headphones keep you distracted and inside your bubble. Try walking without listening to music and instead pay attention to the people around you. Observe them, listen to them and just be present with wherever you are. Yes, a walking soundtrack is awesome but one day a week walk without one and notice how you feel when you connect with who and what is around you.
People are way more drawn to you if you have a smile on your face. You don’t have to walk around with a big, silly grin but try and keep an easy, pleasant smile. If it’s hard to smile without a reason then think about something that makes you smile while you walk. You’re way more approachable if you look friendly.
3. Stop worrying about what other people think
It’s nearly impossible to get truly connected if you’re not yourself or care too much about whatever other people think. I know it’s easier said than done to just turn off the “caring what people think” switch. But think about it, the best and easiest place to start this is with strangers. These are the people who have no expectation or pre-conceived notion of who you are. So give it a try, if it goes horribly wrong you’ll never see them again! But if it goes well, you’ll get addicted to the free feeling of just being you and you’ll naturally start being your authentic self in other parts of your life.
4. Have fun
When did we stop having fun? If the feeling of having fun is new for you just make it an experiment. Try to make at least one connection a week and just have fun with it. When you find the joy in making connections and you’re having fun, you’ll not only attract more people but you’ll find you’re actually enjoying yourself. By having fun, getting connected won’t feel like a homework assignment.
5. Compliment someone
The easiest way to get connected to someone is to pay them a compliment. If you see someone with a nice dress on then tell them so! Everyone loves receiving a compliment especially the one that come out of nowhere. Can you remember the last time you received a compliment? Didn’t it feel so good? So stop hoarding all your complimentary thoughts and spit them out. Who knows what connections can be created when you make people feel good!
6. Make eye contact
On your regular commute do you avoid eye contact? When on the bus or the Skytrain, no one looks at each other, in fact they go out of their way to avoid it. Making eye contact can be done with your headphones in or out. Next time you’re walking down the street make eye contact with someone and smile! Notice how great you feel. You might find yourself with a grin for a few blocks and I bet you can’t wait to make eye contact and smile at the next stranger.
7. Be interested
The best way to get connected to others is to be genuinely interested in who they are and what they do. Next time you’re in a conversation with someone try to hold back the desire to impress them with who you are. Instead, use your time and energy to find out something about them. Ask them what they do or what their favourite TV show is and why, follow up with a question to prove you were really listening. By being genuinely interested, you’ll get way farther in creating a true connection than when you’re just trying to impress.
Try one or two of these tips today. Get out there and get connected! Good luck, Vancouver!
Written by Kiran Chatha, guest contributor at Vancity Buzz. Connect with Kiran on Twitter @liveyou111.