Occasionally you just click with somebody. I’m not talking about clicking in the romantic sense – I’m talking about that feeling you get when you meet someone you instinctively feel could end up becoming a friend. The fellow single dad at your kid’s baseball game, the hilarious woman in your yoga class, the couple you chatted with at the dog park…you felt a connection that made you wish you could hang out with that person more.
And then what? Nothing. You never ran into him or her again. Opportunity lost.
The number one mistake people make in such situations is that they don’t close the deal. They don’t “make the ask.” If you don’t exchange contact information before you part, you run a significant risk of never seeing that person again. You might think that you’ll see that hilarious woman in next week’s yoga class, but in fact she normally goes on Wednesdays, not Tuesdays when you go. That one Tuesday when you met was a fluke.
The only way to ensure that you can meet again is to engage in “fifteen seconds of awkward” and ask for the other person’s contact information. You can ask for a business card, you can ask if the person is on Facebook so that you can send a friend request, or you can ask for a cell phone number or e-mail address. What you ask for isn’t important – what matters is that you obtain some method of reconnecting.
I’ll admit, most people hate this step. It can be uncomfortable even for extroverts. But if you don’t know how to reach someone, how do you invite them to a party or even just arrange to meet for coffee?
One way or another, you need to make the ask. Here are a few phrases to play around with until you find something that works for you:
- I’ve enjoyed chatting with you. Do you have a card?
- Are you on Facebook? Mind if I send you a friend request so we can keep in touch?
- This was fun, but I’ve got to get going. Should we exchange numbers so we can do it again some time?
As many times as I’ve done this, I can’t remember anyone refusing. Sometimes the person didn’t have a business card or a Facebook account and didn’t seem eager to offer a phone number or e-mail address instead, so I dropped it, but I almost always received a positive response. That said, if even the remote possibility of hearing “no” to any of the above fills you with dread, then take it down a notch:
- I’ve enjoyed chatting with you – would love to do it again some time. Here’s my card in case you want to meet up.
That isn’t my preferred method, since it puts the other person in the driver’s seat, but it can be a good stepping stone for some people.
Which method of obtaining pre-friend contact information works best for you?