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Dear Sofia … March Edition

Dear Sofia, 

How can I start conversations with people when it’s stressful for me?

Sincerely, Scared to Socialize 


Dear Scared to Socialize, 

As a pretty introverted person myself, I understand what you’re going through. However, as much as it can be stressful, it is a mandatory skill you will use throughout your life. The best advice I have is to start small. Start a light conversation with someone you sit close to in class. Ask them about whatever you’re currently working on or about something unrelated, like how their weekend was. Small talk can be difficult for introverted people, but something less than a full conversation, like a short question or compliment, can be a great way to get used to talking to new people. Try not to overthink what they say and let the conversation flow naturally. 

Try to be friendly and approachable! If you smile and appear confident, people are more likely to come up to talk to you, consequently saving you from having to approach them. Confidence may not come naturally, but the more you have these small conversations, the easier it will be. Push yourself to talk to someone if they come up to you. While they’re speaking, listen attentively and calmly. Remember not to over-analyze what they say.  

Another way to socialize in a lower-stress environment is clubs! Joining extracurriculars is a great way to make friends. Often, these are collaborative so socializing will happen naturally. Whether it be the Science Olympiad, Mock Trial, or a sports team, teamwork and communication is crucial. The good news is that all the people in that club (for the most part) are there because they want to be. You automatically have a shared passion and a subsequent conversation starter. 

This last tip may not apply to everyone, but if you already have any extroverted friends, spend more time with them. It may seem weird, but naturally, they will bring you out of your shell. If they invite you to events or activities outside your comfort zone, push yourself to go with them. Not only will it help you get used to new experiences and people, but you will have a familiar face with you. 

Being able to socialize confidently is not something you can just learn in a day. Though it might be uncomfortable, putting yourself in situations requiring you to talk with others is the best way to acquire this skill. If you try these strategies, I think you’ll be able to gain confidence and realize that meeting new people isn’t as scary as you once thought!

Good luck!


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