Making a resolution to get to know more people in recovery and forge stronger connections is a great way to improve your ability to stay sober. The more you surround yourself with people who are working to live a positive life, the more likely it is that you too will make positive choices that support sobriety.
But how do you make those connections in a way that is authentic? This resolution depends on the choices of others as well as yourself, which can make it a daunting proposition. The good news is that there are things you can do to make it easier to connect with other people, and one of the simplest is to start a conversation.
Easier said than done?
Here are a handful of conversation starters that make it easy to strike up a conversation with a new acquaintance at a meeting, support group, or other sober venue:
- “Isn’t __________ incredible?” If you are standing next to someone and sharing something really great, comment on it. It could be a view you are looking at, a really great meal, or an experience you just shared like hearing someone speak at a meeting. If there is something positive you have in common with someone else, comment on it to break the ice.
- “What’s your opinion on __________?” If you just heard a speaker talk about a particular step, and you are standing outside during a break or after the meeting, you could ask the person’s opinion on what you just heard. Not everyone agrees on everything, so it can spark an honest conversation if the person responds by stating an opinion that you do not agree with or have wondered about yourself.
- “How do you know ___________?” If someone shows up to a meeting with someone you have met before, an easy ice breaker is to ask them how they know that person or ask how the two of them met. It’s the kind of conversation starter that doesn’t stall out because, depending on the answer, it can trigger natural follow-up conversations. For example, if they work together, asking about their job can get all involved sharing about crazy, boring, or funny work experiences.
- “Hey! I’ve seen you here before (at ________ meeting). You like this meeting?” Or something along those lines can help you to start up a conversation with someone who you have seen around for a while but not talked to yet. Ask them about what other meetings they attend. You might hear about one you didn’t know about before or find out more about one you’ve wanted to try.
- “Do you know a good place around here to get coffee?” Going out to coffee after a 12-Step meeting is pretty standard, and if you are trying out a new meeting in a new part of town, you may need a little guidance. Or, if you’re looking for a smoothie place instead or want to grab something to eat, you can ask for that instead.
Are you resolved to build your support network this year? How do you connect with new people you meet?