I don’t understand how people can just go up to others at a social event or in a business setting and just feel comfortable starting conversations. Just the thought of these situations makes me nervous and overwhelmed. I wonder what I’ll talk about, or think that I might go up to the person and just draw a blank and have absolutely nothing to say. On top of it all, I wonder if they won’t like me or find me so boring that they’ll just want to go on to the next person as quickly as possible. I don’t even know how to attempt to feel comfortable when talking to new people.
Often times we have a fear of starting conversations because we assume that we don’t have much in common with strangers, or that others will judge us. Finding things in common can feel like more energy than just sticking with our assumption. The truth is that when we extend ourselves and make the effort to open up and share more, we find that we actually have more in common than we could imagine.
As it relates to the fear of being judged, this often comes from a place of personal judgement. Have you been overly critical of yourself or of others? If so, challenge your self to give the benefit of the doubt when speaking with others. It may actually help you in feeling more at ease when speaking with others.
Some people are more extroverted than others! This helps them in social situations. And makes you feel less than powerful. If you’re introverted, you have to make more of an effort to break out of that shell. Don’t assume that you’re going to fail or do/say something wrong. This is a cognitive distortion that is only harming your—adopt more positive thinking and tell yourself that you’ll be great! And if you make a mistake or do indeed say something “dumb,” give yourself a break. Everyone’s been there.