In many social settings, I have observed two types of people: those of us who are floating the crowd like a social butterfly and those of us still in our cocoons. Now there is nothing wrong with being either type of person, but when you're looking to meet new people there is only ONE effective approach.
Show us who YOU are!
Don't lose yourself trying to impress other people, just be YOU and be CONFIDENT. Your confidence in who you are is your ultimate key to attracting people who will like you for you. I know you're wondering "What exactly does it mean to have confidence in who I am? Like, what does that even look like?!" Well, understand that everything that you like is a representation of who you are in itself. When you can connect with other people through things that you genuinely enjoy, THAT'S being confident in who you are! That communicates to people, "This is who I am and I am proud of who I am". THAT'S who people want to be friends with, THAT'S wifey or hubby material!
Be confident, but be humble...
You having confidence in yourself should never come off as arrogance or as an attempt to intimidate other people. You can have pride in who you are without putting other people down for who they have chosen to become. Each and every person on this Earth has their own unique background and experiences that shape their personality and perception of the world. You may not always agree with everyone or believe what they believe in and THAT'S OKAY! How far would we really be able to progress if everyone was in fact the same? There could never be a thought or idea that one hasn't already conceived and problem solving would be limited to what we all already know. With that being said, another essential aspect of stepping outside of your comfort zone and meeting new people is being open-minded.
How could you know what you don't like if you've never tried it?
Because you don't know every person in the world you have no idea what to expect. That's why it's best to have NO expectations! Expecting someone to act or think in a way that suites you is a violation to their experience in this new encounter, as well as yours. You can only know so much about a person without them telling you anything, so be open to listening so that you wont have to wonder who they are later. Not only does this leave the encounter open to so many possibilities, but it also ensures that no one is left disappointed because the other person was not who you thought they were or vice versa. Keeping an open-minded leaves your lap open for things you never even knew you wanted. You don't want to let your potential best friend or soul mate get away over a little bad judgement.
This does NOT pardon first impressions...
And the person that you present upon the first encounter with someone new sets the foundation for the relationship. If you have intentions of being friends don't be an asshole! I don't care what anyone tells you NO ONE likes an asshole. If you have greater intentions of potentially dating someone or getting to know them more intimately, DON'T TALK ABOUT YOUR EX!!! The key to making first impressions is always being considerate, and NO ONE cares about how much of a jerk your ex was. Putting yourself in another person's shoes allows you to see the experience from their shoes.
When maneuvering new social environments and choosing to step out of your box understand that it's not a race. This is a process solely intended to improve your experience and that of others around you. You can take it slow and simply choose to talk to or introduce yourself to one or two people on your own terms. Even taking the risk of going to social events alone is a challenge worth taking! Meeting new people is all about how you put yourself out there to be seen! You're already a star, LET THEM SEE YOU SHINE!