I watch a lot of videos on youtube and one video I watch a few months ago was talking about engaging with people around you. I know a lot of us walk around in a complete daze, eyes forever fixed on our smartphones and we don't really look at what is going on around us. We could miss history being made or your soul mate could walk past and you wouldn't even know it.
What I like about one particular video that I saw was that the guy on the video said that he would go into the local convenience store everyday and because of that he struck up quite a good friendship with the guy behind the counter, James I think the guy behind the counter was called.
They would talk to each other and basically shoot the s**t.
This morning I was at a convenience store in which I have been going to a couple of times a week for the last couple of months. I usually go at the same time and I have seen another foreign guy there engaging with the woman behind the counter. It is quite impressive and it is quite nice to see. Sometimes with service people and in Japan in particular the service can be quite robotic, so it is nice to see two people engaging with no scripts and the are just literally passing the time of day.
I find this difficult to do, even to look people in the eye sometimes. I know that when I go to the convenience store that is the least that I should do.
For shy people I think that it starts with eye contact and then you say a greeting and then you mention something. You observe something about them and then the conversation starts.
For me practicing eye contact, I will walk along the street and if I see someone that I find attractive I will look at them in the eye, smile and see who is the first one to break eye contact. If she does, it always gives me a little boost in confidence.
I think with practicing greetings it might be just saying hello or even saying thank you. Don't do as I do and grunt thank you so that the only person who can hear it is myself. Say it loud and proud.
With the observation, that takes a bit more guts but I assure you it works and it can get you in conversation with most people.
"That's a nice watch. Where did you get it?"
"That's an interesting coloured bag. What colour would you call that?"
These are just a couple of examples that you could use.
So rather than doing what this guy is doing:
You can do what this guy is doing and look at people in the eye. Maybe he should have smiled but he is looking at you which is the main thing.
Next he will say something and before you know it, you are in a conversation that is a million times better than looking at a screen and trying to type fast enough.
Get out there and say hello. Give them something that is extremely precious, give them your time.