Meeting New People

I am a person who could speak to an audience of hundreds of people and feel almost no anxiety.  Public speaking, the most common fear people have, is not mine.  But I do not like initiating conversation with a person I do not know.

This has been a major challenge for me since I moved to California five years ago and I knew no one in Alameda where I chose to live and open a private practice.  It was necessary to meet people as a way of marketing my work.

A couple of business groups were recommended to me.  Each sat in a circle and each person took a moment to introduce him/herself.  I could do that.  But when I went to a mixer or not organized event, I was apprehensive about beginning a conversation.  If someone came up to me and began talking, I was fine.  It was beginning the conversation for me that was the problem.

Eventually I discovered a couple of lines that worked for me, i.e, “What brings you here today?”  Over the five years, I am much more comfortable.

What intrigues me is the number of people I have met socially or professionally who take a while before they admit they are anxious in situations where they do not know people and they avoid these settings.

It is a very common fear.