The Shy Person’s Guide to Turning Strangers into Friends

Prioritize comfort over worrying about displaying bullet-proof confidence

Michael Thompson
SIMPLE

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I saw an American couple struggling with their bags while juggling their two young kids as my family and I were walking to a secluded beach in Menorca, Spain. After saying hello and offering to carry their cooler, our families spent the rest of the day together. Since I’d been to the island a few times before to visit my wife’s sister, later that night I sent the man the ultimate guide for how to maximize their week.

“This is amazing!” he replied. “If you don’t write, you should think about it.” I then followed the man’s signature to learn he was a senior editor at GQ. Shortly thereafter, I started sharing my stories. Seven years later, I’m still at it.

Growing up as a shy kid with a debilitating stutter, I was petrified to strike up conversations with new people. The story above is just one example of why I do it anyway. Making the effort to turn strangers into friends makes life a helluva lot more interesting. Learning other people’s stories will always be the most effective way to better write your own.

When it comes to building connections, lifting your head and identifying ways to lend a hand is always a solid place to start. Here are four more…

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Michael Thompson
SIMPLE

Co-creator of two cool kids • Storytelling Coach •.Fast Co., Insider, Forbes • Free storytelling guide here: https://bit.ly/3h1KZeT