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Ann's Tips for Meeting New People
January '06

One of the skills that I’ve developed through ministry with InterVarsity is an ability to invite real conversation with strangers. This skill is crucial, especially as InterVarsity staff are constantly trying to get to know new students and seek out new leaders for the chapter. My current student leaders are often intimidated by meeting for coffee with new people — “what will we talk about?” I came up with a list of favorite questions and tips for getting to know new people. It is catered specifically for meeting with college students, but you can easily modify it so that it would fit in a church context, a party setting, or even a family gathering. I hope you find this helpful!

Meeting to Chat at the beginning of the year

Hopefully, you will meet several people over coffee or a Coke to chat. Most likely, these people are trying to find a way to connect with others at DePaul, and they are seeking God in one way or another. Here is a list of questions you can think about asking them.

Rule of thumb #1: People love to talk about themselves! Just ask and be a good listener.

  • How has your transition to DePaul been so far? classes? roommates? meeting friends?
  • What was your experience like in high school? (Or, if a transfer student, at their other school?)
  • What do you like or not like so far about DePaul? What are you planning on studying?
  • Are you close to your family? Do you miss them? (Or, if commuting and living with family:) How is commuting going?)
  • Did you grow up with a religious background? What has your spiritual journey been like?
  • (If they have been to an InterVarsity meeting:) How have the InterVarsity meetings been for you? Do they feel familiar, or does it feel a bit foreign?

Rule of thumb #2: Cultivate curiosity. Think about who this person is: what would you like to know about them? If they mention something interesting, ask them about it.

Rule of thumb #3: Put yourself in their shoes. Remember what it was like to be a freshman, to not know anyone, to be in a new place. You are an ambassador of God to this person — be a welcoming, loving presence to them.

Rule of thumb #4: Invite them to something. Everyone likes a personal invitation. Invite them to go with you to the next IV meeting, or social event, or out to lunch with some other friends.

Questions for potential leaders (later in the year)

Before you meet with a student who could potentially be a leader, do two things: 1) pray for them and for the meeting, 2) think about who they are and how you could cater the following questions to their life — or add some questions.

  • How has this year at DePaul been for you so far? What have you liked/disliked about school, classes, social life? Roommate relationships? If living at home, how is that going?
  • What is your relationship like with your parents? How has it changed since high school?
  • How are you doing with friendships? Do you feel like you have a good network of friends? If not, what kinds of obstacles are you encountering?
  • How has your faith in God changed this year? Do you feel like you’ve grown, stagnated? What are some things you are glad about in your faith? What are some things you’d like to change?
  • How has your faith affected your life at school? Do you find it easy to be integrated — living a Christian life in all situations? Or is it challenging with some friends, classes, etc? Do your non-Christian friends know you are a Christian? Do you find it easy to talk about your faith with people, or does it feel difficult or awkward? Are there ways you would like to grow in having your faith integrated in your whole life?
  • What have you enjoyed about InterVarsity so far? What about InterVarsity do you wish would be different?
  • Are there gifts or skills or passions that you would like to use to serve God while you are at DePaul? Or are there areas you would like to grow in? (For example, passion for community service, a desire to grow in prayer, etc.)
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