Dogs to the rescue: how to break the awkwardness and make new friends

It is very common for awkwardness to creep in when we are coming into a new environment with new people, be it a new workplace, neighborhood, or even first dates. When people have yet to establish a common ground, it is sometimes difficult to open up a conversation as they are basically strangers to each other. Sure, ones may exchange greetings and pleasantries, but that’s usually it.

In context of Asian culture where people are taught to be cautious of strangers, plus the proliferation of smartphones making people more glued to their phones, those factors make it even more difficult to break through the barrier of first contact.

Awkwardness in making new contact usually only lasts for the first few minutes. Once people talk and establishes a common ground, it will dissipates. But then how to pass through that first few minutes of nervousness and awkwardness?

There are of course many ways to break the ice, but here want to discuss one way which I discovered: bring the dogs into the scene!

A dog can act as a glue to draw people together. Those who likes dogs usually wouldn’t resist the drive to pet when they see a cute dog around. This situation builds a more comfortable and familiar situation which promotes conversations. Since people are in closer proximity and have something in common, i.e. liking dogs, they naturally have something to talk to. And by then instead of feeling awkward to start a conversation, it will feel awkward NOT to start a conversation with the people who are together petting or playing with the dog.