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Old 12-28-2010
black-wings's Avatar
Intermediate User

hi im nick. havent posted on here lately. anyways, the title really says it all. i now that my lack of socializing as a kid has a big role in it but now that i wanna talk, i get weird looks like im from another planet. how can i be a better conversationalist cuz i do have a lot to say and alot to offer but my shyness and anxiety gets in the way alot. help!!!!
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Old 12-28-2010

I'd also like to know if anyone has tips. I'm a terrible conversationalist. I over-think even if I make a great point, it comes out awkward.

I think my SA would be tolerable if I could at least have decent conversations with people.
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Old 12-28-2010
LazyHermitCrab's Avatar
Elite User

Talking online is a step, but really without talking in real life it's hard to keep up a conversation, because you don't get the time to think about it in your head without it becoming awkward. Also if you don't speak clearly then you have to repeat it which gets annoying. But communication can always be improved. You could sign up for Toastmasters :S Some experienced with speech and some not
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Old 12-29-2010
Jeepster's Avatar
Newbie User

Perhaps I can help - when it comes to friendly conversation, luckily I am not shy at all. I've never given out advice like this before though, so if it sounds stupid I apologize!

For people you have never met before, don't forget to introduce yourself/ask their name. That way if you see them again it won't be awkward!

Although George Costanza does this in one Seinfeld episode and gets ridiculed by Jerry, think of good things to say beforehand. For example, I am going to a new year's party this weekend (!!terrifying!!) and am planning on asking everyone how their Christmas was, if they got anything cool, what day they're going back to uni, etc. Even my social-butterfly sister does this. And hell, I rehearse entire conversations in my head!

Talk about things you and the other person may have in common. Or talk about something in the environment, even just something like "It's really gross outside today!"

Sometimes I'm tongue-tied around friends, in which case I literally just say, "I don't know what to talk about." With a stranger this might be weird, but my friends always smile when I say this.

Don't feel bad if it doesn't work out. Often it's the other person who's a bad conversationalist! If they don't seem interested: they're having a bad day, they're a ****, or they're worse at small talk than you. Seriously.

Wow, sorry to rant so much! Hope this helps a bit, I'm definitely no expert on the subject but I like to help out
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Old 12-29-2010
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Hey Jeepster - that's some good, solid advice. Even opening with something like the weather, which is like the small talk I generally can't stand, is a gateway to more interesting dialogue. I guess it depends on how you phrase it and associating it with something either deeper or more entertaining to talk about.

Times like this I wish we could 'favorite' individual posts like on another forum I'm with...
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Old 01-03-2011

You're right, I think this is the biggest problem for shy people. A lot of people say oh well, shyness is just having nerves around other people, but why do we get nervous? I think a large part of it is that we have trouble making conversation and this is what causes a type of performance anxiety whenever we're with people. I think this issue is so important that I've put some videos on youtube on conversation. Just search for username TimothyArends.

What you want to do is start out by showing interest in the other person. This takes the form of asking a question. Now, this sounds easier than it actually is. It can be hard to think up questions that aren't nosy and will get the other person talking at the same time. It might not hurt to think of a few questions you could ask in various situations in advance.

Next, you want to listen very carefully to what the other person is saying. This will provide you with "free information" that you can use to keep the conversation going. Everything the other person says provides you with some free information as long as it's not "Uh, I don't know" or "I guess so" or something like that.

Now I'm not one of those who subscribes to the theory that all you have to do is get the other person talking to have a wonderful conversation. I do think you should be able to share of yourself as well, so when the other person reveals something about themselves you should think about how it relates to you and you elaborate on that. For example, if they say they love volleyball you can mention how your cousin played volleyball. Etc.

Conversation can be challenging for shy people because you can go in any direction with conversation. It's not like "just follow steps 1 2 3 4." Every conversation is different.
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