I have this "friend" named Patrick. I met him backpacking in Taiwan and he's a perfectly friendly guy. He's nice, has an interesting sense of humor, australian (so he has the accent thing), and he gets my star wars references. Why would this guy get his OWN blog entry. Because meeting and getting to know Patrick cemented the way I meet/talk to people when I travel...
When my gal pals and I met him he came across as mysterious. He wouldn't tell us his full job description, he didn't like to say too many details about his life, and he didn't talk too much about his trip. He liked to ask us questions, instead. I was not put off by this. Some in my travel party, thought it was strange that a boy would not want to talk about himself. We had crazy theories: Spy, On holiday with his mistress, mail order brides, hustling his way through taiwan.... The list goes on, none of the ideas were close to what he really did but they kept us entertained on the flight back to hong kong!
He and I exchanged cards over a breakfast in Taipei. (Hey if a guys going to give you his full name he can't be a total creep!) We facebooked and emailed over the next few months and Patrick SLOWLY but SURELY gave up the goods on his life. We talk now occasionally and my girls that I went on the trip are surprised we kept in contact.
My favorite part of travelling is meeting people. Patrick has been the person I've had to work the HARDEST to get to know, and sure he has a dry sense of humor (but I like that). Some cultures don't believe in talking to random strangers and making new friends on vacations. I'm so glad I'm not one of these cultures. I like making new friends in every new country and city I visit. I'm planning on doing Europe at christmas, so I plan on making atleast 6 new friends.
So, the moral of this story is... Don't count the quiet, mysterious person out that's staying at your hostel. Don't count out the person who's staying there with their mom/dad. Exchange info, get to know them, share experiences online together that you didn't get to in person. The great thing about this internet thing we have is that it can connect us in ways we never could before. If you don't put yourself out there, you'll never make new friends and perhaps miss out on some really awesome people.