We often hear the phrase “find a common-ground” when you’re to initiate a conversation. ‘Social butterflies’ understand this concept very well and can easily put them into practice. However, there are those of us that are unable to grasp this seemingly exclusive skill that only extroverts have. The truth is, finding a common-ground is an acquired skill, and can be developed through practice.
What do we mean by “common-ground”?
People often misunderstand the meaning of “common-ground”; typically drawing a singular and definite line that associates the term with having similar hobbies. Although it’s not necessarily wrong, it doesn’t represent the term very well.
I would describe “ground” in this context as interest. Having similar interests is not necessarily bounded by liking the same Netflix show or supporting the same football team. The interest itself lies in seeking out movies and enjoying football as a sport, may it be as a supporter or a player. These interests can even be as general as having the same attitude or mindset.
The example above demystifies the age-old saying of “opposites attract” in relationships. In reality, it matters less whether you have the same view of a topic. What’s important is that you have that same topic, which is the common-ground that both of you are stepping on. Unfortunately, some of us lose hope and think “there’s no way we can be friends” the moment we realise that the person we approached have conflicting views.
Despite knowing all this, finding a common-ground is still a difficult task in itself. Some of us are more adventurous than others, and that is all dependent on each of our individual personalities. People who are extroverted in nature tend to have more experience with a wider selection of activities that they’ve dabbled in, which is undeniably an advantage when approaching someone, as their chances of finding a common-ground will be higher. However, there are other ways for those of us who are more introverted to connect with others.
The “Introvert Method”
Being somewhat of an introvert myself, I’m not necessarily open to new experiences as much as the next guy. Instead, I’d go on YouTube and watch random informative videos that piqued my interest. This is my way of expanding my general realm of knowledge to be more relatable and recent. If you think that this is too much effort just to make friends, well, you’re right.
I try to learn as much as possible from reading, watching and by being generally be more aware of my surroundings. Wherever you may be right now, there are millions of things that are happening in your surrounding area as you’re reading this article. I try to practice “spatial awareness” as often as possible as I’m doing very mundane everyday tasks, like walking to school or eating my lunch. As I’m walking or chewing, I’d try to narrate what little things are around me. By doing so, you may eventually end up with something that catches your eye. Once you do, one of two things will happen: you learn something new, or you end up with a question. Either ways, you gained invaluable information, which you can bring up in a conversation when you want to establish a common-ground.
It may be quite difficult for you to start off making friends with the limited knowledge you have. However, once you do start making friends, you realise that you learn something new from them as well. By doing so, you’ll be able to expand your horizon even further and will soon find it easier with every friend you make. Soon you’ll have so many friends, your next big problem will be maintaining relationships, but that’s another topic for another day.