Why does being shy keep me from talking to people? I know that I really want to have the ability to start a conversation it’s just I never know what I should say or how I should act when I am around other people.
The question is why do I have trouble talking to people? I have tortured myself thinking of things to say and then I just freeze up when the opportunity presents itself.
It’s not like I am dumb or anything I have lot’s of things to always say once I am given enough time, but for some reason, the words don’t come out each time I am about to start talking.
The frustration is beyond what my brain seems to be capable of understanding and this leaves me with a feeling that I must not actually be meant to make friends. Why can’t I ever figure out what to say?
There are many different reasons why we just don’t find the words even after stressing for hours to find out exactly what words we mean to say. One of which is we forget that practice is important before doing anything else.
Growing up we assume a few things will be taught to us and don’t actually realize when we fall behind on those skills. For whatever reason, we start blaming ourselves because it seems like it’s second nature to everyone else.
The real problem is that we have given up doing things we know we needed to be doing because of discomfort or lack of motivation to do so. When things got to an awkward standstill we would probably feel like running away and likely did that.
For us to gain the proper practice we have to somehow get the mindset of going up to people and not freezing up. Easier said than done when you haven’t even thought about things you can work on.
This article aims to look at the important ways we can start getting more comfortable and stop blaming ourselves for being shy or boring.
How should we go about starting a conversation
Comfort will be a major factor whenever we decide to try and talk to somebody. When we don’t actually practice the idea of being in the conversation we trap ourselves because just saying hi can even be a difficult step.
One way to feel more at ease is to try and treat a person no different then you would if you already knew them. You would then want to find out how they are doing and what they have been up to.
Both of those are questions you can ask right off the bat to anyone regardless of whether you know their name or not. The problem is we can’t always lead off with a question like how are you doing? Because we don’t have the nerve to go up to somebody else.
Talking comes more natural as we get to know things of interest and can share that with the other person. Before we start introducing ourselves we need a way to get that awkward first few minutes out of the way.
This is because the more natural way to introduce yourself comes a little later after you have begun talking.
When you began to be more at ease and can think of more interesting things to say and ask, this will also make the other person become less anxious. Not everyone is shy like us or has nervousness, but understanding that they are just as likely to be uncomfortable should eliminate some of the pressure.
Another important thing to realize is that people won’t’ be evaluating you for the same reasons you are concerned about yourself. It’s not until you both gain that level of this isn’t so bad that you relax.
Saying something during the conversation like by the way I am Eric just fits in much nicer when you’re both at ease. After you have successfully started the conversation now what?
Keep the conversation going with questions
Some of the best ways to find out what you have in common are to ask a few general questions, such as what brought you here today, I am looking to …
You will want to ask things about the situation, whether it’s a comment, question or to understand something in the present environment. It will keep things moving forward and allow for you to gain useful information about the other person.
Be aware that at any time the other person could leave you hanging with short non-helpful answers. i.e what brought you here… nothing, do you like it here… it’s okay, or how long have you been here…. not long.
When this does happen, be ready to say something about yourself and try to keep things going, hopefully, it gives the other person more ideas on what they can add to the conversation as well.
Don’t just automatically leave things because they seem uninterested, they may just not have expected that response from you.
Other areas to keep the conversation alive include
Asking about related events like the one you’re at now, making comments about something the other person is wearing and asking them about something you like involving it.
You can even say something about yourself that you think might interest them, such as, you’re a fan of (anything) do you have any interest in (anything)? Just replace anything with something you really are fond of and see how it goes.
The idea is to try and keep things from becoming stale for too long that way it gets easier to find out more about each other and possibly hit on common interests.
People will loosen up much quicker when you can find a common passion or experience that just flows with other questions and comments.
A few other ways to relieve the chance of silence is to ask for a (blank) some simple task that may
get a yes or no. That way you may find another interest to expand on.
You could even get up the courage to ask about going to do something else, such as lunch or any activity that isn’t too time-consuming.
Just make sure you pay attention in case they seem like they are uncomfortable no reason to push hard.
Wrapping up a conversation that has run its course
People have many reasons why they are wanting to get out of a short or long conversation and what is important is you identify the signs. With practice, you should be able to pick them up easily, but at first, these tips will help with that.
If you see them looking at their watch or something else – It’s usually a good indicator that they aren’t wanting to keep talking and you should be wrapping it up.
This can also be mistaken if they are shy themselves and are just having a rough time keeping eye contact. In either case, don’t keep things uncomfortable for too long if they look uneasy.
When it’s someone just like you that alone can be a conversation, discussing ways you have found to make it more comfortable, just try not to point things out which would make you feel you are being judged.
If they are looking at another person you can ask who that person is, and if they are wanting to go and talk to him/her. This will even help you learn somebody else’s name that you can talk to later on when they are free.
I will make a few graphics that I think should help us all understand some of the best ways to start, continue and end a conversation and keep for quick reference.
What we have learned about conversations
The most important point I want to stress is to practice starting conversations with strangers, acquaintances, friends, and family. This is because nothing is easy at first except when we keep at it we get more comfortable and know what to do the more we do it.
People from all over have just as many reasons to be uncomfortable when trying to talk to us as we do them. So because it’s a two-way street we should all understand and make things as stress-free as possible.
Having fun learning about common interests and not feeling awkward will keep this process going, don’t try to be everything to everyone because we just won’t hit it off with everyone we meet.
Hopefully, this has answered the question, why do I have trouble talking to people. For me it’s always going to be a learning process, we can’t be mind readers after all.
Just keep trying and keep hanging in there, it can take months to feel like your improving and as always I want you to feel free to ask me any questions you have.