How To Make the First Step When Approaching a Person You Don’t Know

Here’s a question: what happens when you’re looking at a person, you don’t know, but with which one you’d like to open a communication?

It doesn’t have to be a person of the opposite sex necessary – just a human being you’re interested in. It may be a man or a woman whom you see as a potential romantic relationship partner. Or simply a person you’d like to chat with and even maybe make friends someday.

It might be someone you’ve met at a party, held at home of your friend, and you just would like to get to know him/her a little bit better and have a drink together. Or probably it’s a person, you’ve met at a business conference, and with whom you’d like to discuss some professional issues and trends.

In other words, a human you’d like to establish some kind of connection with.

So what do you feel at that moment? Do you make a step forward and introduce yourself or do you stand indecisive, lost in doubts, thinking: whether you should come and talk to that person or you shouldn’t?

Let me share what I experience when such situations occur, so you can compare.

Sometimes it seems like I become the shyest person in the whole world. All those kinds of feelings, like awkwardness, are exaggerated tremendously right at that very instant. I am hesitating. I wonder if the person is busy – does he/she want any communication at all? My head is spinning around, full of thoughts. I am trying to guess if that person is open for conversation. Or probably he/she doesn’t want to be disturbed. As you see, a lot of “Ors” and “Probablys” and “Maybes”… And all of this, of course, makes it almost impossible for me to be the one who actually makes the first move in starting conversation.

Does anything of the above sound familiar to you? Do you experience any similar emotions? Are you like me observing yourself standing still, when all you want is to go straight ahead actually? If your answer is “Yes”, then I invite you to continue reading this article as I want to share an approach, which helps me, when I find myself in such kind of situations – struggling to initiate the communication with someone.

Regarding me, I usually apply this approach when I see a girl I really like, with whom I would like to get acquainted, as this kind of case is more challenging for me. But as I have mentioned earlier, it also may be used toward any person – male or female – the one, whom you don’t know, but would like to know.

The concept I am going to express here, while being in my mind, looked like easy to explain one. But as I started putting it down, it became a little bit complicated. Anyway, I’ve done my best to make it as clear as possible. I hope that you gain some value from this article, which will benefit you in the end, in spite of my skill of writing and knowledge of the language. :-)

Becoming Aware

Whenever I turned up somewhere, where, for example, some kind of a social arrangement was taking place, I used to await, that someone will notice me and will initiate the conversation in the end. Honestly, it’s me who wanted to communicate actually, but I was still waiting the other person to approach me, to make the first move. It was unconscious behavior.

Doing actually nothing, like if I was some famous person, I was expecting people would come and introduce themselves to me, start a brief conversation and such kind of things. Stupid, isn’t it? As you have already guessed, that style of attitude to the situation, in fact, never worked.

As it had never turned out to be the way I wanted it to be, I began wondering: “What if my behavior is somehow… wrong?! Probably I should correct it a bit?” Eventually I became aware that it’s actually me who has to act on initiating a communication as it’s me, who really wants it and needs it.

OK, as I had become aware of what I was doing wrong, another problem aroused: how could I make it? Even knowing that I am the one who is responsible for it, I was still too shy, too insecure, too whatever to walk up to a person I don’t know. It seemed impossible for me to come to a stranger and open a communication. Finally I came up with an approach which helped me and which one I’ve been using up to this day. Here’s what I do.

How It Works

I assume, that the person, I want to connect with, is just like me. Well, not the exact copy of me. Not a clone, no. It means that the person has character’s traits, structure of emotional system organization, thoughts, which are similar to mine.

I ask myself: “What if that person is hesitating like me? What if that person is kind of shy either? What if he/she doesn’t approach me, because he/she feels insecure as I do? What if he/she is afraid of rejection as I am?”

This simple, however powerful assumption, gives me another view of the person and the whole situation instantly. This projection of personality onto another person helps me – instead of seeing another person as an enigma – to become totally aware of what he/she is thinking at the moment, what his/her doubts and fears are, because those are my doubts and fears, in fact.

Applying this assumption I feel much more confident as I am not approaching a black box anymore, but rather a person, who may also suffer from lack of confidence, fear of rejection, etc. I am approaching myself actually.

And as I know how frustrate and painful it may be – to be scared to make the first move toward initiating communication with someone you don’t know – I want to help that person to get rid of all these awful feelings, because I know I would be glad and thankful if someone would do it for me.

Thus, instead of keeping hesitating and being shy, I let my mind be focused on how to help both of us, me and that person, to build a communication, which will probably benefit both of us.

The One Who Makes the First Move

Imagine, what if you’d know for sure that the opposite person feels like you? What if it was like you’re approaching yourself, your own fears and doubts? Would it make it easier for you?

Are you afraid to be rejected? What if he/she is afraid to be rejected by you as well? Would you feel more relaxed and secure then?

Of course, this method, I am suggesting here, is entirely based on assumption. For example, a person may have a character rather different from yours. The person, you’re interested in, may not be interested in you. But believing in this assumption gives strength to make a move and check it out, whether it’s true or false. Everything may happen, you know. It’s also possible that you will indeed meet someone who is just like you, your soulmate.

The Endless Loop

If you still aren’t sure if it works for you, let me show it to you from a little bit different angle.

As I apply the assumption that another person is like me, the person’s thoughts become quite transparent to me as those are my thoughts. Thus, I know that the person is hesitating, doubtful, and is scared to make the first step.

You know, it seems like a paralyzed situation we’ve got here. I am scared to make a step, so does the opposite person. I am waiting for that person to start – the person is behaving the same. Thus, what else if not the endless loop (link to Wikipedia) it is?

If you are somehow familiar with programming sphere of knowledge, you surely know that any endless loop (or infinite loop) makes the block of code run in circles until the application runs out of its recourses (for instance, memory) and crashes eventually. Sometimes you even need to restart the whole system to eliminate the consequences of the loop.

So when I realize that the situation has taken the shape of an infinite loop, I know that it may last for ages with no beneficial result. And when it ends it crashes, and I don’t like that kind of ending.

Thus, the only way to get out of the loop is to proceed on to the next action – to make a move. And as a person, who’s aware of it, it’s your responsibility to make it.


So, whenever you see someone – a person, you’re not familiar with, but one you’d like to build a communication with – and you find yourself caught in a trap of fear and doubt, try applying this method, as it may help you to overcome indecision and make the first step.

PS: As I have noticed recently, this approach may not necessary be used when you want to communicate with a person you don’t know. It may also be applied, for example, when you want to call an old friend you haven’t seen for a long time, but you expecting him to call you first.

May 6th, 2012

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