You finally chose your preferred living community. The place is excellent, the surroundings beautiful, and the fantastic facilities. You want to start connecting with people and making friends, but where do you start? When you’re in a new place, it can be a little daunting to start talking to people, let alone start making friends. Senior living communities usually have programs and meet-and-greet sessions to help onboard a resident to their new living arrangements, so this is already a good base to start with.
But what if you’re not a fan of huge social events and you’d like to start with small steps? Here are some effective techniques that can help you get started in talking and making friends with your community:
Technique 1: Ask for directions
This is probably the easiest way to start talking. Asking for directions around the community can help you get acquainted with the area, and it’ll also let people know that you’re new. Most of the time, one question will lead to another. Residents in senior living communities are always happy to help a new resident find their way around, and this usually comes with questions such as ‘Where you’re from?’, ‘What do you do?’ etc., which helps break the ice.
Technique 2: Remember Their Names
Whenever you start your small talk conversation, and the other person introduces themselves to you, make a habit of repeating their names to increase your chances of remembering who they are. For example, if the person you’re talking to introduces themselves by saying Hello, I’m John, you should respond with It’s nice to meet you, John, I’m Clara.
The immediate act of repeating someone’s name will help the memory stick with you, and when you can recall their names, they’ll automatically warm up to you and be more inclined to hold a conversation. There’s nothing less appealing than having someone say to you I’m sorry, what was your name again? Especially after they’ve introduced themselves to you.
Technique 3: Be Open-Ended with Your Questions
Small talk should be a two-way street, and if you keep your questions open-ended, you’re on the right track to doing just that. Ask questions that encourage the other residents to open up and share more information about themselves. You’ll find that you’re not the only shy or introverted person to meet and speak to people. Steer away from questions that tend to put the conversation at a dead-end. When this happens, you will be left with an awkward silence, wrecking your brain for what to talk about next.
Asking questions that will encourage the conversation to flow and develop naturally is among the best questions to ask when talking to someone.
Technique 4: Offer a Compliment but Be Genuine
Never underestimate a person’s ability to spot a fake person a mile away. Being fake will only make you appear dishonest, insincere, and like you are trying too hard to curry favor. Offering a compliment is a great way to break the ice and start small talk with a stranger, never offer a compliment unless it’s something genuine.
Remember that old saying, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all? Make that your mantra when attempting to small talk with anybody. If you try to compliment, you don’t mean it, your words may say one thing, but your body language will convey a whole different story. If you want people to view you as someone interesting enough to strike a conversation with, you need to be sincere right from the very beginning.
Technique 5: Actively Participate
Senior living communities such as Vivante will have plenty of entertainment and social events for you to attend. While you don’t need to go for everything, you can choose the kind of things you like and the ones that interest you. If your goal is to meet someone or make friends, then it’s essential to participate in the activities happening in your community actively. If you’ve been invited for an activity and you keep declining; eventually, people will get tired of you quickly and move on to the next person they feel they could have a better connection with. If you want to be interesting throughout the entire small talk process, you’re going to have to be an active participant.
Be an active participant by listening and paying attention when the other person is speaking so you can follow up appropriately. This helps to stimulate a healthy conversational flow, and you will win points with the other person because they will be eager to talk to you when they feel like they are being listened to and heard.
Technique 6: Know What’s Going On
The more you know about what is going on in your community, the better the conversationalist you will be. It’s not just confined to business talk or idle chit-chat about random things. You need to be prepared for events and activities that could revolve around discussions about everything and anything in the community. The more prepared you are, the more knowledgeable you will appear to be, and the more attractive you will become to the people with whom you’re speaking to.
Make it a habit daily to check the news headlines each morning, read many books on a diverse range of subjects, and scan the internet for the latest topics and trends. Having all that info will allow you to become a much better participant whenever you’re having small talk with just about anyone because there’s always something you will be able to connect to.
These are just small and quick ways to strike up a conversation and appear more attractive to people around you. You don’t have to jump in right away to start making friends and connections- you can take your time with it. Remember that connecting is a two-way street- you need to participate and talk to make friends and meet people actively.