Making conversation…so much can go wrong. There is so much uncertainty, especially when it’s a conversation with someone you have just met! The fear of social rejection is totally normal, but there are ways you can conquer it.
Feel the fear and do it anyway. Now, that sounds terrifying. Often when we are making conversation it’s overwhelming – we are overthinking. As stressful as it feels, sometimes it is best to ignore your feeling and strike up conversation anyway. It will build you confidence, and help you slowly overcome the fear.
Ask questions. Asking questions can shift the attention away from you and on to the other person. This will give you a chance to breathe. Hot tip: questions that start with “how” and “why” will require the other person to give a longer response, which means you’ll have more info to ask them more questions on.
Don’t be afraid to be you. This sounds a little cheesy, but people always enjoy a real conversation. Don’t stick to the boring “Where do you live?” type questions (at least not for the whole conversation). Ask them questions or make statements that you find interesting. For example, “I can’t believe the bus driver wears that hat every day”. People get bored of being polite, make their day interesting.
Compliment them. I know this so uncomfortable, but compliments don’t have to be creepy. Compliments also shift the focus onto the other person. It can just be something small and innocent like: “I really like your jumper. My dad used to where one like that back in the day”.
Focus on what you have in common. If you do a bit of digging, you are bound to find something you have in common. It could be small, like you a have mutual friend, but focus on that.
Speak to people you don’t know. This is terrifying, I know, but the more you practice it the better you’ll get at it. And sure, some conversations might be awkward as hell, but just keep trying. Confidence is something that worked on.
Don’t let the awkwardness get you down. Striking up a conversation is always going to be awkward at the start, especially if you don’t know the person. They might be suspicious of you at first, but eventually, they will just realise you are being friendly. Push through until you get to that point!
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