Many a shy soul has walked into a crowded party or conference, and not knowing what to do with the sea of faces they encounter, retreat into their shell and spend the major part of the function wallowing in self-pity and an absolute terror of anyone approaching them to so much as ask for directions to the bathroom. It is not easy being a shy soul…especially when all those around you definitely aren’t. Breaking the ice is an art that well and truly must be mastered, if one is to get anywhere. There is no easy way acquiring this art, but as they say, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. Here are some tips to get started:
The trick is to understand that everyone you meet is far less confident than they appear. We all have our own peculiar insecurities, some simply mask them a lot better than others. Viewing the person opposite you as someone vulnerable and eager to please makes him or her appear a lot less intimidating, and a lot easier to approach.
When you walk into a crowded party, it would be a tad foolish to zero in on a group that is in the middle of merry laughter inspired by a private joke. This would be the surest recipe for being rejected, because breaking the ice with an entire group that shares a history of some kind or the other is not for the faint-hearted. Chances are you will find yourself fluttering all evening on the periphery of this group, with the odd sympathetic smile being thrown your way now and then. Instead, try and look out for a lonely soul similar to yourself or even perhaps two or three friends having an easy conversation. You will be surprised to see that there will be few people around who, just like you, have no clue where to get started. Seeing someone else in the same boat can be confidence-boosting. Approach them by holding out your hand and start with a simple “Hi, my name is…..And you are?”. In all probability, the persons you are addressing will be relieved not to have made the first move themselves. Sometimes all it takes is the opening sentence, always the most difficult to master….everything else simply falls into place after that.
I would certainly not recommend sitting in a far corner and hoping that some of the friendly souls around will approach you eventually. That is not going to happen. The talkative souls are too busy having a good time to be generous enough to look around for those who are less fortunate in the “gift of the gab” department. Keep moving around and trying to start conversations. You may not succeed with your very first attempt. In fact, i can almost assure you you won’t. If you find yourself not welcomed, there is no point sticking around and making yourself a nuisance. Move away gracefully and eventually you will find a few people you can spend the evening with, engaged in pleasant conversation.
Breaking the ice is not a science, it’s an art. It is subjective and just as an artist dabbles his brush in the different pots of paint and splashes the canvas with his own distinctive style, breaking the ice too must be ultimately practised in your own distinctive style. One can study this art, of course, but ultimately, you must let loose the artist within you !