How To Start A Conversation
You’re sitting in the canteen, picking at the corners of your sandwich as you spy a student you know sit near you. They’re on their own, you know they have friends and if you start talking to them, you may have a chance to join in their conversations they make with their friends when they come over. But first you need to actually get over these irritating nerves you feel and start chatting to them.
You take a deep breath, trying to press down those butterflies and open your mouth. But then you seem to forget how to speak. You suddenly wish you were somewhere else. Anywhere else. You want to give up and hide far away in the corner.
But you won’t be a victim to that sort of behaviour anymore. You will get over your nerves and start chatting to this person.
Starting a conversation to even one person can seem like the most monstrous thing in the world when you’re shy. Your parents tell you it’s easy, that once you start chatting to them you’ll suddenly be the best of friends. While making friends doesn’t quite work like that, starting a conversation with one person is simple once you know how too.
How to start a conversation:
1) Calm your nerves
Allow yourself to accept and experience all the symptoms of shyness you’re feeling (for example, red cheeks, butterflies, etc.) before taking some deep breaths and calming down.Don’t waste too much time on this step however, it’s very easy to get caught up like this that shy people tend to not talk at all.
You’ve probably heard this tip a lot, but it really does a difference. Although it’s quite prejudice, most teenagers will rather talk to a person who’s smiling than one who’s sweating and looking like they’re ready to run at a moment’s notice. It’s extremely difficult to keep smiling when you feel horrible, but the more times you do this, the more easier it’ll be.
3) Greet them
Although this may seem obvious, shy teens can often forget this little necessity when starting out. A simple ‘Hi’ or ‘How are you/What’s up?/Alright?’ etc. will go a long way. Depending on your culture, teens may not actually tell you how they are feeling and merely say hi back, which is perfectly fine.
4) Speak loudly
This is something most shy teens tend to forget and find very hard to do. A good way to conquer this is to practise at home. Try different pitches of speaking and notice what your body is doing as you speak louder. Are you speaking more from your diaphragm, does your throat feel a certain way?, etc.
5) Check if they can hear you
There’s two ways to do this. One way is the obvious ‘What?’ question they keep asking and then change the subject when they can’t hear you. The second way, however, is to search for body clues. Check to see if their eyebrows are narrowing ever so slightly or if their gaze looks a tiny bit out of focus. It’s difficult to spot these, but with enough practise you can spot them.
Starting a conversation with others is hard, but like I always say, it gets easier with practise. Also, once you actually start a conversation with someone, it makes the process of conversing a lot easier. Your nerves aren’t as bad once you get into the flow of it and in time you’ll see yourself starting conversations naturally.
Photo by Leland Francisco