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Comments (16)

  1. Magda

    Interesting approach but very much depends on the situation. Often people are unapproachable because they value themselves higher than you. Smiling and asking questions like “what do you like about…” May make you look even lower as they perfectly know what you are doing and why.

  2. Jessica

    Thank you for this lesson! Yesterday I ran into this same situation. I was filling in on another team at work and in comes a girl who looked very intimidating and I dared not introduce myself. It felt very awakward working next to someone without saying a word. I kept telling myself that I’ll wait for her to introduce herself first to see if she’s approachable. 30 minutes later as I was leaving I realized that she had a soft tone and was more on the shyer side. It got me thinking that many people probably see me as unapproachable as well when I am reserved and waiting for someone to make the first move.

  3. Blessings

    Thanks for this! I usually have trouble starting conversations with such people and ultimately sustaining them… now I know where and how to begin..I will try this..Thank you David… I have really greatly improved socially…

  4. Sherry

    That makes so much sense! We all do hide behind our masks, whether we realize it or not. Thank you for sharing that insight.

  5. vicky

    That’s a good point. Being our true selves requires us to be vulnerable. Have been in such situation. Just try to be myself without changing the way I speak or avoid my weaknesses. Then it felt like we ever met before.

  6. Kath

    Your advice re intimidating people seems very doable. Looking forward to trying it. Woo hoo.

    • Abdul Sari

      yes it is okay, but i still meet people who likes intimidate others, usually for the first time, if we loss control he will play all the time. I do not know how deal with kind of people.

  7. Babette

    Actually, I do that automatically. Be a comedian…people love humor. “What’s your story?” I often ask people I first meet.

  8. Ri

    Though I have asked intimidating people the kind of sincere question you have mentioned, I don’t really ever get to a place where I bond with them on a deeper level. To clarify, I do bond pretty deeply with people that are very friendly and highly empathetic from the start with me. I’m trying to figure out with my therapist why this discrepancy persists. Also, what do you do if an intimidating person doesn’t give off a friendly vibe in reply? That’s when the conversation beings to end for me.

  9. Solomon

    “the one who dares to put down their mask first wins in life”

  10. Lolly

    Thanks a lot for this was really helpful.But how do you break into genuie and sincere conversations with some group of close friends?

  11. I have several thoughts.

    First of all, it seems like you made friends fast upon moving to New York. Would you say this is largely because you moved in to a residence with a group of people? Or some other reason?

    Second, I’ve read I think about 12% of people all over the world consider themselves to have social anxiety. Therefore, that’s quite a lot of people. So it makes sense that other people who may not really appear to have social anxiety at first glance or impression really sort of do have social anxiety but just manage to hide it better until we get a little closer.

  12. Jw

    I mostly agree with everything you say here, and at 74 years of age, I guess I’ve had a lifetime of experience. I only disagree with you on one point: “Intimidating people” will respond as you describe, but only IF they’re not shmucks–and let’s face it, plenty of big names are shmucks; e.g., Harvey Weinstein, Donald Shtrump, etc. (If you don’t know what “shmuck” means, David, ask one of your new NYC friends.)

    Thanks for all your excellent thoughts!

  13. Derek

    Spot on email in my opinion. What I will say next might be more relevant for folks on this site than the general population, for a few obvious reasons.

    I think we need to make sure our actions also are not fueled by insecurity, as we have seen others do this. Look up “Maslow’s heirarchy of needs” and try to have all actions align with your interpretation of the meaning of life, the top of the pyramid. A lot of people have this down, but I remember when I first signed up for this email list I was insecure of what people thought of me, or how I could gain esteem by being popular. This was wrong for me. You will be more confident when your actions stem from deep beliefs about the meaning of life.

    Hopefully this helps at least one person.

    • David Morin

      Thank you Derek!

      It’s really interesting to hear about this shift in you, from trying to gain esteem by being popular to something deeper. I would love to hear more about it, what changed? What made you change? Any special insight or situation?