Here's the Secret to Talking to New People and Making Friends—According to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
April 22 was Take Your Child to Work Day, and to commemorate, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken took to YouTube to answer questions from State Department kids all over the world.
You may not know this, but the U.S. State Department is made up of thousands of families all over the globe, including lots of kids with family who serve the United States in different roles.
"We want you to learn what diplomacy is and why it matters," Secretary Blinken explains in the video. From allowing us to find out more about cultures around the world to teaching diplomacy skills that help us in our relationships with others, diplomacy is a critical ability that isn't just important on a national level. In fact, we all use diplomacy pretty much every day.
In the video, Secretary Blinken fields questions from kids here in the U.S. as well as from Benin, Trinidad and Tobago and England on everything from meeting Grover from Sesame Street to Secretary Blinken's biggest motivators, how the government is protecting animals and the environment from climate change and how many people immigrate to the U.S. every year. But our very favorite question came from a girl named Clara Zelle James, who just returned to her home in Washington, D.C. from overseas this summer.
"Overseas, I met lots of new kids and adults and had lots of new experiences," Clara explains in the video. "Sometimes, it was easy to meet new people, but other times, I couldn't think of anything to say. I know you meet lots of new people—like important world leaders—and I wonder if this has ever happened to you? If it has, what do you do?"
Secretary Blinken has a great response to Clara's question—in part because he had a similar experience, moving to Paris when he was just 9.
"In that situation, instead of worrying about what I'm going to say, I usually ask people about themselves," he advises. "What are their favorite movies, favorite book or TV show or food? What are their hobbies? Things like that. And almost always, the conversation gets easier and easier from there. When you're really interested in other people, it shows—and it's a good start to a new friendship."
That's some advice we can all learn from—and another handy diplomacy tip courtesy of Secretary Blinken. You can watch the full video on YouTube below.
Want to make your own friendships even better? Click HERE for our favorite movies about friendship that you'll want to share with your bestie.