Posted by: Suzanne Wheeler
My best friend is a Teacher and spends a lot of time on social networking and peer internet groups. Last night we went to a folk singer concert among an audience of mostly women. Teacher points to someone as they walk past and comments on their name, occupation, and interest in geocaching. Then she tries to remember the name of the person with her because she’s seen them in pictures together. This is when my red flag goes up and I ask where they know each other from. “Oh, we’ve never actually met. I’ve talked to her on MySpace.”
My natural reaction is to go and introduce ourselves by pointing out the common ground already established thanks to the internet. However, my best friend, the teacher who I rarely see in a shy moment, forbids me to do so. I was told if we bumped into them, it was okay not to ignore them and say hello. Fortunately I got my opportunity in the parking garage. As we were leaving I rolled down my window and introduced us to the utter bewilderment of my target. See, Teacher wasn’t the only shy one.
So what to take from this story? Don’t be afraid to put yourself at risk by greeting a stranger. A good first step is to seek out people in your area with like interests on a social networking site. Next time you’re picking up groceries you might just run into someone you know in the digital realm. Chances are they’re just as shy in person as you at meeting new people. So take that step to get past the awkward introductions. It’s worth the possible rewards.
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