Meeting new people can be exciting, but nerve-wracking.
If you're a naturally shy person, the prospect of striking up a conversation with a stranger can be too daunting to contemplate — no matter how attractive or interesting they may be.
Luckily, you don't need to change your fundamental personality to put yourself out there a little bit more. Simple things like making eye contact and smiling can signal to others that you're friendly and open to conversation.
Here are some tips and tricks from relationship and matchmaking experts that can help you meet and connect with others, from potential romantic partners to new friends.
1. Be authentic
"Go to places that make you happy," advises Tina Tessina, Ph.D., author of "How to Be Happy Partners: Working it out Together." If bars or clubs aren't your scene, then you probably won't meet as many compatible people there. Instead, spend your time in places that align with your interests and personality. You might come across someone organically who shares your enthusiasm for the same hobbies or topics. When you're authentically comfortable and happy, your positive energy is contagious.
2. Be present
It's a small world, and when you're immersed in social media, you could miss the opportunity to meet someone right next to you. Even if you're in the elevator, make an effort to not look at your phone and see who is around. Being present in the moment makes it much easier to connect with someone in real life.
3. Talk about your hobbies
If you're looking for a like-minded partner, talking about your interests is a great first step to gauge your compatibility. If you want an adventure buddy, tell new people about your penchant for hiking. If you enjoy a cozy night in, ask people about their favorite books and movies. Of course, opposites can certainly attract, but it's important to make sure that you and your potential new partner are essentially on the same page. Any sign of a "centered and balanced lifestyle" is encouraging, said Emily Holmes Hahn, founder of LastFirst bespoke matchmaking club.
4. Make eye contact
Both Tessina and Hahn recommend some classic, direct eye contact. (But don't stare them down, either.) Make eye contact with the cutie across the room for a second, then look away. Hopefully they get the hint and strike up a conversation!
5. Show off your style
It's easier to approach someone new when you have a comment or question, so if you're wearing something eye catching and shiny, people will be able to use that as a conversation opener. Wear your biggest ring or most interesting earrings and hit two birds with one stone by having a cute accessory for your outfit and drawing someone in for a conversation.
Finally, be confident in your own amazing qualities. There's no point in trying to be someone you're not!