There are many strategies a shy person can use to help start a conversation. On my way home from the farmers market with my new pitcher plant in tow, no less than 5 people stopped to comment on it. One possibility is definitely walking around with a strange plant. My friend Juan is a snake dancer, but he doesn’t have to dance to elicit conversation with strangers. Just walking around with a huge snake coiled around him also does the trick. It’s a well known fact that puppies and cute dogs are babe magnets, but what if you don’t have a pet, feel conspicuous walking around with conversation pieces, are terribly shy but still want to meet people?
The best way for a shy person to connect to others is through a shared interest. If there is a physical activity that interests you, you will find others who enjoy it as well. Even solitary activities, like running, offer an opportunity to do it with others. But the best way to guarantee a connection source is to pick something that automatically involves others.
Any team sport involves interaction with other people by definition. Any activity that involves physical contact does wonders for easing loneliness. Before I started dancing, I was a martial artist. I studied Jujitsu for eleven years and went to training camps. Sometimes they were Jujitsu camps with opportunities to train with people from other areas. Sometimes they were mixed martial art camps with a chance to play with a different martial art. I saw amazing cross cultural connections happen when two people are generous with each other through the shared love of an activity. I saw a lesbian separatist express heartfelt appreciation to a homophobic redneck who helped her get her black belt. These were two people who would not have been on speaking terms outside of this connection, but they treated each other with open hearted generosity of spirit, love, and respect. Why? Well, they both loved and were committed to Jujitsu and that was enough to create a bridge.
Partner dance is, of course, a fantastic way to bond with people you may feel too shy to talk to. Everyone wants to dance with a skilled partner, and there is nothing sexier than a great lead. If you fall in love with it, you’ll do it enough to get good at it, and you’ll soon find yourself with a social life. If you feel more afraid of it than in love with it at first, don’t give up on it. It doesn’t get fun until you achieve some level of skill.
And don’t forget there are many different kinds of dance. Make sure you pick the one that suits your personality. If you have no idea how to make that decision, stay tuned. That’s another blog post!
By LaurieAnn Lepoff
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