When you are new to a job, school, church, networking group or a team, it can be difficult to meet people. And for some of you, coming out of the pandemic can mean you are now getting out there and meeting people after experiencing over a year of restrictions.

I moved from Austin to Atlanta in February 2020, a month before the pandemic, so am just now getting out there meeting people in the community–both professionally and personally. It can be uncomfortable to be the “new person”, so here are some things I am doing and learning in my own process:

1. I am saying “yes” to many more things than I ordinarily would say “yes” to. I am one of those people who likes to protect my time, and as an introvert, I do not like non-stop socialization with others. By saying yes, I am exposing myself to more opportunities to meet more people. A few months ago I attended a networking group that wasn’t for me; however, someone in that group introduced me to someone else, and that person introduced me to another networking group that I became involved with. You never know where your initial path may lead you!

2. When I visit a group or an event, I take the initiative to introduce myself. I think there is this false belief floating around that when we are new, others should introduce themselves to us; however, that frequently does not happen. Many times it does not happen because many of the other people at the event or meeting are new, also! I have learned to take the initiative to meet people by saying, “my name is Antoinette and I’m new, so I’m going around meeting people.” It has  been a successful opening line for me to begin conversations!

3. Schedule one-on-one connections: It is difficult to really get to know people personally when you only converse with them in group settings. Ask them to meet for coffee or lunch to get to know them on an individual basis. It is difficult to form individual connections from a large group setting, so take the initiative to meet. The other person will most likely feel flattered (as long as you are doing it with pure intentions and not to give them a sales pitch or with a selfish agenda.

4. Give groups or events more than one try. A lot of times we do not enjoy our first visit, but if we attend again, we feel more warmed up and sometimes enjoy it much more. But if not, don’t take it personally! There are some groups and people that you will gel with more than others.