OK, going for coffee certainly has its strong points when it comes to getting to know someone as a friend, but it certainly has its restraints as well.
So, what kinds of invitations can bring women together and truly allow their personalities to shine? After all, that is what we really are interested in doing - getting to know each other’s personalities better - right?
Here are a few recommendations for invitations to get to know her better.
1) Do something that takes the edge off:
I know it sounds silly – but ask her to go bowling with you and some other friends (both hers and yours). What better way to diminish restraint than to roll a few gutter balls among friends? The ever-so-stylish footwear adds to the character of anyone brave enough to display them in all their glory. This activity, and apparel, doesn’t allow much room for taking one’s self too seriously and can turn even the stiffest personality to laughter.
I have noticed there is a comradery built almost instantaneously when bowling. Any toss resulting in even minor success, and the tumble of pins on that echoing wood floor, seem to encourage jovial celebration. When the screen shows a big fat nothing after a side-winding slide across the plane of play, the fact that tossing a ball down a straight line is not for the faint of heart is equally shared among all in attendance.
If you have ever been a member of a bowling league, or if you currently are, I implore you to disclose this information the minute said invitation is extended. The disclosure should be coupled with the option to change the activity choice. I don’t know about you, but limited are the people I know that actually go bowling to gain success in mastery. I may make sport of it, but… I don't know if I could manage the contest.
Again, very few people are able to take themselves too seriously at a bowling alley. And… if your new friend takes a turn towards the competitive, this is probably a part of her personality you should learn right from the start.
2) Mindfully choose places that help start dialogue:
If you go on a lunch date, choose to eat somewhere neither of you has eaten before. Choose a restaurant that will be a new experience, either because of the atmosphere or the food.
Sometimes I have a hard time starting conversation, especially sitting across from someone at a table. Therefore, I end up sitting awkwardly, shifting from side to side and arranging my silver wear, in an effort to pull from the depths of my being some kind of exchange.
Mindfully choosing a surrounding that is new and exciting can lend a catalyst to conversation.
Commenting on the atmosphere, or the lack thereof, the menu choices, or the location, can lead to a greater depth of discussion. A dive atmosphere can spur memories of college experiences. Asian cuisine can breathe remembrance of the spice of a vacation. Observation of the smells, sounds, and characters ingrained in a place can be all that is needed to bring people together.
Allow yourself the gift of getting the ball rolling through the use of a new and interesting setting.
3) Lead with an activity that engages the heart and the senses:
If you are feeling a creative connection with the person you want to get to know, engage your creativity in a choice of invitation.
Make a plan to support local artists by going to a local music performance or play, an art show, a new boutique grand opening, or a poetry reading. These engagements can inspire connection and conversation that go beyond the superficial.
Sitting in an auditorium listening to the layers of sound a live orchestra presents can move people in ways no other experience can. The same can be said for hearing the voice of an author laboring with emotion to share his very own soulful words to a small cafe filled with treasured local company. Inspiration and contemplation are elemental side effects of enjoying such creativity.
Allow these kinds of engagements to open up avenues of expression, organic and vitalizing. It is amazing what a person shows of themselves when they are inspired by creative energy.
4) Get a breath of fresh air:
Enjoy the great outdoors. Invite your soon-to-be-friend to amble along a country trial, through a city park, or down the river walk.
I choose the word “amble” purposefully here because I live in a place where hiking in the mountains is something we really enjoy. This can be a bit of a balance, though.
If you take me hiking straight up a mountain, I will successfully complete the task. You can bet my out-of-shape self won’t hear much of what you have to say, however, over my screaming lungs. I, also, won’t have the air left to add in my two cents (and you know I have at least two cents you want to hear).
Ambling makes for greater connection and a greater ability to share the natural wonder through which you pass. Take in the sounds of the water rippling underneath the bridge you are crossing. Dare to take off your shoes and dampen your feet. Gasp at the splendor and brilliance of a sunrise over the treetops.
Once you know one another better, and have fewer words to share, race up that mountain all you would like. But, today, just amble.
5) Make the time count:
Watch a movie with a friend you have known for years, not one you are trying to know better. Don’t arrive at a movie, meet her there, watch the movie, and then exchange pleasantries and goodbyes.
Aside from learning whether she likes extra butter on her popcorn, and whether she is willing to share a package of licorice, you really don’t gain any greater an understanding of who she is by this time together.
Make your time meaningful in the pursuit of a connection. You can learn more about a complete stranger in 15 minutes at an airport than you can a friend during a two-hour movie.
Spending time in one's company is not the same as getting to know someone. Make sure the plans you make allow the space to relate to one another. If you apply these five simple strategies when planning time with a new friend you might just grow something true and limitless.
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