I've long joked that the world would be a friendlier place if we all wore permanent name tags. Then you could greet people by name and never worry about forgetting a name. It would be a small step to make socializing as an introvert easier. But to go a step further, I wish the name tag also listed 3 topics we're passionate about. Here's why.
One of the hardest parts about socializing as an introvert is getting to the good stuff. I crave conversation about meaty topics. I want to hear about your passions and share mine. I'd love to know what we have in common and how our differing views can challenge each other.
But it's so hard to get to that point.
When I observe extroverts in conversation, it seems like they can connect conversation topics with ease. They appear never to have a shortage of things to ask or stories to share. Whereas I never know where to start. If we've only just met, I don't know what to ask you and I may feel reserved about sharing about myself.
I wish I knew up front what are 3 of your passion topics and you knew 3 of mine. It'd be so much easier to make a connection if the name tag said:
Hi, I'm Kate! Talk to me about:
- The rollercoaster ride of being a Notre Dame football fan
- Efforts to protect endangered birds
- How the increased prevalence of Malbec wines is a great thing
Just from those 3 points, you have an insight into my interests. And it's easy to see where connections can be made because the topics are specific. You might ask whether I've been to Indiana (I have) or whether I've done much bird-watching (I haven't, but would be open to trying it). And while Malbec wines are my favorite, if you'd recommend another variety, I want to hear about it!
Ask me about any of the above and I'll grow animated and engaged. But if you start with "Where are you from?" you'll get a flat, two-word answer. And I'll return the question to be polite, but internally I'll be wishing I knew whether to ask you about:
- traveling in Ireland, or
- the secrets to baking a perfect loaf of bread, or
- whether you too have ever wished you were a robot.
It's not that I don't care where you're from, but I have little reason to want to start the conversation there. Sure, it'd be cool if we're from the same town, but would we bond over that in the long run? Would we ever want to talk about that again? Not likely. But if we share a passion topic, we'll have a meaningful connection.