Some people seemingly just have a natural, innate ability to put everyone who interacts with them at ease. And while you might be just a little bit jealous of that characteristic, you too can get to a place where you're making people more comfortable around you, even if you think you just don't have that personality trait. Yes, your demeanor, mood, manners, and more can all potentially influence how approachable or easy to talk to you might come across to someone, but if you say any of these surprising things, you can put anyone at ease, so sometimes the things you say are just as important as your tone, smile, and body language.
"In the absence of information, it is human nature to fill in the gaps," Dr. Laura Linebarger, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and the co-founder of Resolute Recovery, LLC, tells Romper in an email exchange. "We make up our own stories about what is happening between us and other people all the time. The problem with this is that unless we check our facts, we're usually inaccurate. This can lead to false conclusions, misunderstandings, and self-filled prophesies. In my own life and with my clients, I encourage what I call 'saying the obvious.' There are many things that run through our brains that we think are evident about a given situation or even about how we're thinking or feeling. Each person has a different way of thinking, pulls on attention, and uses their personal history to make sense of things. When we say what we think is obvious, we're adding to the shared reality between us and another person, making it more accurate. We're more likely to be understood and get our needs met."
Some of the more surprising things you say, too, can help people better relate to one another and, as a result, can help put people at ease, just like stating the obvious can. If that's your aim, trying these questions and conversation starters could be a good way to start and are something different than questions about work or where you're from. They can also put people at ease, in some cases, because they put your empathy on full display. From what to say when you meet someone to how to help someone, saying these sorts of things will help them feel like they can talk to you.