“Dannielle and Kristin,
I fail miserably at talking to people. :/ I can make connections over the internet and through writing and stuff, and I have some friends, but when I go to meet people I get all nervous and stutter and talk way too fast and don't know what to say. It gets so bad that sometimes I just don't talk at all. Could you two give me some advice?”
- Question submitted by Anonymous
Amen, sister. It took me YEARS to get over my deep-rooted fear of talking to people I didn’t know or only kinda knew. My dad was like ‘you can’t be in this business and not talk to people’ and i was like ‘I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT’ b/c, at the time, i was a teenager and i was ruling the world via my thoughts.
EVENTUALLY, I got my act together and realized he was right. It still took almost 4 years for me to be completely comfortable around strangers. Here’s what I’ve learned…list shit in your head. There are certain questions you can ask anyone that are basically guaranteed to start a convo.
1. Where are you from (i’ve been there, i have a friend from, which neighborhood?)
2. What do you do (job, college major, extra-curriculars)
3. Are you following your dreams (is the job(yrmajor) you have now what you want to do forever?, current vs. future, wheniwaslittleiwantedto…)
4. Mutual Friends
5. You’ve said before…. (something you heard about them or they told you online)
Generally, if the person isn’t a douchers they’ll either ask you the same questions back or leave it really open ended. AND IF THEY DON’T YOU CAN ALWAYS be like ‘where you from, word, i went there once, it was hot there, i prefer breathing to sucking in thick humidity air’ and then they’ll LOL.
ALSO, you can try these things “do you read everyoneisgay.com, have you heard of everyoneisgay.com, did you see the latest webcast on everyoneisgay.com, who do you think is hawter kristin or dannielle from everyoneisgay.com?”
OH ALSO, JSYK MOST PEOPLE ARE WEIRD WHEN FIRST MEETING SLASH TALKING TO SOMEONE, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Srsly yalls. One time I was by myself at an after party for a show and i stood against a wall trying to find someone i knew and no one was there and everyone was having fun and i started to cry and left…soooooo
None of you can see me, but I am giving a standing ovation to Dannielle’s answer. You guys, she LAID THAT SHIT OUT, am I right?!
Since I think that Dannielle’s list is a flipping awesome way to handle the daunting task of starting a conversation or keeping one going, I am not even going to try to tinker with that shit. Cool?
What I will say, though, is that 98% of the time, people feel awkward in conversations when they are with people who they don’t know very well. I am a person who will think of 7,579 things to talk about, and I’ll laugh and make eye contact and remain engaged and people will think, “Man, that Kristin sure is comfortable with people.” The truth is, though, that I am in my head evaluating half the nonsense that is coming out of my mouth, and I have had a bazillion occurrences where I flat out won’t go to a party because I can’t deal with the effort that it takes me to keep everyone happy and laughing.
I am not telling you that because I think that it is a healthy way to live. It isn’t. It is ridiculous, you guys. I am telling you that because it is important to realize that very few people like to make conversation with people who they have just met…it is suuuuper intimidating. The thing that I have been doing for myself is trying to let go of my feeling of responsibility for the interactions that I have. It isn’t just up to YOU, Anonymous, to keep things going and to make the situation comfortable. Say what you want to say when you want to say it, and know that if you and I were talking and you were nervous and quiet, I would be like, “Hey, do you ever play Ms. Pacman? Did you know that the red ghost is the only one programmed to actually chase you,” and you would laugh and I would be like, “Yo, that girl is adorable.”
Some people will get you, and some people won’t, and that isn’t your fault. There are a hundred billion of us out here who love people even if they can’t keep eye contact and are super nervous in public situations. You don’t need to worry about the few who will judge you based on your ability to remain calm in conversation, and, if you find yourself worrying…remember that most of them are totally faking calm anyway.
Also, if you haven’t already read it, go get a copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Go. Like, right now.
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