I started my morning with a little bar stool conversation. I'm sure for many of us it is hard to engage in a conversation with someone you don't know, especially those who are sharing a quiet area to themselves. Honestly, this is how I find myself meeting the most interesting people. I mean, definitely take the time to read them and make sure they're not rushing or preoccupied with something important, but if they're just settling in, the least we can do as polite human beings is greet the person who'll be sharing the same area as you.
I think we're becoming a very closed society. I don't always want to point towards our phones, but...GAH GET OFF YOUR DAMN PHONE! We miss so much if we're constantly scrolling our screens. Hell, I don't have enough fingers to count the handful of times I have seen people walk into things because they were so glued to their screen. I won't even get started on people using their phones during dinner or sharing drinks out in the city. I've put my phone on certain dings and even specific vibrations to let me know if it's something important. Otherwise, I'll put that baby off to the side. I'm not perfect, but I try to set myself up the best I can to stay away from frequent screen time. This is very difficult being a photographer and a blogger as well, but I do dedicate certain days and times to smash some work out.
My best networking has been approaching people in cafes or even while sitting at a bus stop. You never know who you're going to meet and I encourage you to be kind and bring your head up. You don't need to become BFF's with these strangers, but why not have a delightful moment with whomever you cross paths with. You never know if that's something they needed or something you needed to push you to make a decision, open your mind to knew thoughts, or get you distracted from something that bothered your heart. All in all, it's always a plus (unless you're unlucky and that person is a super creeper).
My "don't disturb me" face is when I have a book in front of it. If I'm trying to read, nuh-uh. I take that into account for other people who are working in books or reading them. Whether it's studying or leisure reading, rule of thumb is they're trying to get something out of it. If they're scrolling through Facebook, pounce my friends. Facebook is boring anyways, so we all know that it's just a bad habit to find something exciting to engage in.
I consider myself an introvert, so by no means am I proclaiming it's easy to approach someone you don't know and chat. I have to take an internal deep breath and push myself to jump in because I don't want to rub off as obnoxious, though I'm already aware that I can be pretty obnoxious. Regardless, every time I have tried I never regret it (even the creepy people - they're kind of entertaining).
I remember one time I was crossing paths with an acupuncturist trying to take a last minute trip to Japan to clear his mind off of things. This older gentleman was also a history teacher, so for a few minutes I got a mini run down on some historical events. I'll most likely never see that person again, but I'm happy that I was able to hear someone's motivation for traveling and passion for knowledge!
If you're shy, test the waters and confront your nervousness if you feel like you're missing out on connecting with others. If not, I can support the hermit life to an extent. We can only gain more experience if we challenge ourselves to step outside the box once in a while.