For all of us living the RV lifestyle, one of the most universal circumstance we have in common is the fact that we all have neighbors. If you are just visiting a RV community, or are joining in on a “Jamboree” to celebrate something. If you were invited to a get together for your specific RV club, or even if you are “Boon-docking” without the great amenities of a RV Resort or spa, chances are there will be people there you do not know (people are everywhere). If you are an introvert, this tends to make meeting new people a challenge to say the least.
With the internet available to so many today, this also opens up a virtual world. You can potentially meet someone via an online group that you may not physically meet for months. There are online groups for your specific RV, like the Forest River owners group. There are online forums also where you can find out about RV groups in your area, like the RV dreams forum. Just a few options to get to know the RV lifestyle Community. Obviously, take precautions with anyone you meet online.
But, if you want to be more outgoing and want to introduce yourself to the couple that lives in the Class A Dolphin two doors down, I hope after reading this article, you will be inspired to go out an introduce yourself. Not just to your immediate neighbors,but also to your neighbors in all the RV communities you visit while traveling in your RV.
Here are eight important things to keep in mind when introducing yourself to new people for the first time. Because all situations and people are different, remember to use and adjust these ideas for your situation.
A smile can make others feel like they want to talk to you. This is a very important. Sometimes your smile can make a first impression even before you open your mouth. Although most of us are taught to not judge a book by its cover, If you are not smiling, (and I mean genuinely smiling) It can have a negative effect on your entire conversation. And that is what an introduction typically is, a conversation.
2. Make eye contact
I know from experience how hard this one can be for most. The importance of this suggestion is that it tells the person you are speaking to that you are listening to what they are saying and not just “politely nodding”.
Another small tip I have learned, is when looking others in the eye, take note of their eye color. This will help you more easily recall their name, as now you have a reference to go by.
(example: Patrice, your neighbor with the beautiful green eyes!!)
3. Be aware of body language
Take note of not only the body language of the person you are talking to, but also your own. If it helps, you can try to emulate what you are seeing. If your neighbors look relaxed, it will make you feel more relaxed and able to have a more genuine experience. Remember that doing things like crossing your arms, make you seem more closed off, to both situations and information. Your neighbor may not want to engage in conversation if you look as though you don’t want to either.
4. Exchange names
This may seem like the most obvious thing on the planet, but it is worth mentioning. I have actually had conversations with strangers, where I did not ask their name. These were my horrible one sided conversations,where these potential friends that I had great common ground with, stayed just that, strangers. And if you don’t ask their name, you only have half the information you need for the eye contact idea to work. Just remember, you can’t know a name you forgot to ask for.
5. Search for common ground in conversation
Rarely will you find another person that you have absolutely nothing in common with. Even if your introducing yourself to someone who has English as a second language. We all read, watch television, have hobbies, hopes, and dreams. Think about the things that you enjoy doing. Did you recently watch a great episode of your favorite show? Have you read a great book? Those are both good topics for discussion, and can also lead you to common ground.
Common ground can come up organically in conversation, or can be brought up because you noticed something that Caught your eye. Complementing turquoise earrings can lead you to the fact that her husband makes jewelry and she collects and polishes stones. And you just happen to have a rock tumbler In your RV!!!!
OK, that example was a bit of a reach, but I’m trying to illustrate to you how organic common ground can come about. And now you have something specifically in common with the neighbor you just met.
I do not want you to get hung up on common ground. Some really great friendship started out with very little in common. Don’t let the lack of stop you from getting to know the people next door.
6. Ask questions
Asking questions will help the conversation grow. You will be able to learn new things and have opportunities to add pieces of information about yourself as well. Asking about the other person will also take the spotlight off of you. This will make any of our introvert readers very happy.
I am sure that everyone has had that conversation where you leave with an overload of information about the other person, but you didn’t have an opportunity to tell them about yourself. Did you leave that experience with less than a positive memory? When a conversation is one sided, it is hard to make a great impression, an impression where they will want to engage
in more conversations with you. Your goal is to make a good memory, so that if after that day you made a friend, you both will have fond memories about the first time you met.
That being said, when I met a great friend of mine, I know I did not make a great first Impression. But after getting to know me, we became great friends. This goes back to not “Judging a book by it’s cover”. Although I was unable to make our first meeting great, it was memorable for other reasons, and we got a great friendship out of it.
7. Offer a handshake
I think this is me being very safe. You can usually feel out your individual situation. I often will offer people I meet a handshake. It is so universal and acceptable. There are options of hugs and the ever polite hand wave.
The obvious are the reasons to stick to a handshake. What if the other person does not like being touched. You may have been able to pick up on this in conversation and with observing others as they interact with your neighbor. So a hug is obviously not the way to go. On the other hand, while your saying your goodbyes, if they are so emboldened and reach in for the hug, you now have the option to reciprocate.
I have read in articles that in some countries, like China, for instance. A firm handshake when meeting someone new is considered to be impolite. As opposed to a business meeting where it is searched for. Remember, this is not a business meeting. It is a chance to make new acquainted and meet the people you will be living next to for the duration of your stay.
8. Close the conversation
I want to say that this can be as simple as walking away. It is not, and Let’s face it, that is just plain rude. Closing the conversation with phrasing like “See you later”,”Talk to you tomorrow”, or “I’ll catch you later” invites more conversation at a later time. Using your neighbors name will make it more personal and genuine. Let’s Look at these same three examples when names are applied:
“See you later, Diane.”,
“Talk to you tomorrow, Phil.”,
and “I’ll catch you later, Jacob.”
Usually, the reply will be not only similar, but now they have an opportunity to use your name again, and will be more likely to remember it on your next encounter.
In conclusion, I hope these eight ideas help you to introduce yourself and possibly make great new friends in the RV community. You never know how things will turn out until you take your first step and try.
Do you have other ways that have helped you when introducing yourself? Leave a comment down below and if this article helped you can share our content with others.