How to Turn a Stranger Into a Friend With One Conversation

You know her. She walks into any room and smiles. Instantly people notice and respond like dogs whose masters have come home from a long day at work. They run over and hug her the same way a family hugs a soldier returning from three years overseas. Wherever she goes, she has a ready team of admirers.

Would you like to be that welcome wherever you go? 

I know I did.

My Story

When I was a teenager, I dreamed of miraculously transforming into a party animal. That picture of me entertaining a circle of friends who were ecstatic to be in my presence felt so real. I could see the wide smiles and big eyes on my friends’ faces as I regaled them with stories. I could hear the sounds of their laughter and feel the warmth of their hugs, handshakes, and fist pumps. 

It was awesome.

But it was also a dream. 

The reality was that I was the guy that blended into the wallpaper. I tried hard to open my mouth and talk but it was clamped shut by the sting of rejection, both felt and perceived. It was as if I knew that no one would like me just by looking at them. 

Do You Want to Be Loved?

Deep down, we all want to know that someone cares that we exist. You don’t want to be considered human rubbish. If you have at least one friend wherever you are, then life seems worth living. 

If you don’t, you might just want to die. 

At the very least, you’ll want to leave.

The truth is everybody wants to be loved.

How Do I Turn a Stranger Into a Friend With One Conversation?

It’s really not as hard as you might think. It’s not rocket science, but there is some science involved. All you have to do is look at man’s best friend to learn how to turn a stranger into a friend.

You know you’ve only got one chance at a first impression. Unless the person you meet has amnesia, the first meeting will set the tone for the rest. So make it count. 

Here’s three ways dogs do it.

1. Be excited to meet someone. 

When you approach a dog, what does he do? He nearly leaps out of his skin because he’s so excited to see you! He jumps up and down. He licks your hand. He invites you to pat his head. In other words, he does everything in his power to make you feel good.

You don’t have to slobber, jump, or lick someone to make them feel loved. But you can give him a firm handshake, a warm smile, and a happy greeting.

When you give that type of greeting, you dramatically increase the odds that people will like you. And the chances are extremely good, you’ll get the same greeting in response!

2. Don’t bring an agenda.

Dogs don’t want to marry you, sell you insurance, or judge you because you smell bad.

Your agenda is simply to be friendly. If you come in with another agenda, you can scare people away like a skunk trying to defend himself. 

The secret to this is found in Dale Carnegie’s second principle of human relations: 

Become genuinely interested in other people.

The easiest way to turn a stranger into a friend is to get him to talk about himself. Ask him about his family, his job, and his hobbies. Find out where he grew up or where he went to school. Don’t be pushy. Just show your interest by listening without judging.

3. Be glad to just be there.

Dogs don’t care how your day was. They’re just glad to see you and want you to be as happy as they are.

You never know whether someone has just won the lottery or buried the love of her life when you walk in the door. It’s not possible to be best friends with everyone. But if you want to be accepted, liked, and fondly remembered, just make the other person feel like you’re glad to be there.

Warm Up Your Next Conversation 

There’s no time like now to decide to turn the next stranger you meet into a friend.

As a teenager, I longed to be the life of the party. But it never happened and remained the stuff of dreams. You’re different. If you’ve read this far, you’ve gained a tool that will make you more friends than anything else you ever tried. And you can do with just one conversation!

Use it and you’ll be welcome anywhere you go.

Posted in conversation, How To Win Friends, likeability, Uncategorized.

I’m a Writing Coach, a Promotion Strategist, and an Entrepreneur. I help writers engage readers, sell their ideas, and build their tribes. I design non-sleazy promotion plans for artists, writers, and other creatives. When I’m not writing, I love coffee and conversation.