Yesterday was Riley’s last soccer practice. It was also the first day I really had any interaction with the other parents, thanks to the coach’s idea to have the adults get out on the field and play against the kids during the last half hour. The clusterfucked Calvinball-esque game that ensued was more than a little embarrassing (my soccer skills are … well, pretty much nonexistent) and hilarious and actually pretty fun, and it was the perfect sort of social icebreaker than I could have used, oh, several weeks ago.

But I can’t rely on someone else to help me over the parental small-talk molehill I’ve turned into a mental mountain and baseball’s coming up and this is just the start of years of kid activities and you guys, I’m just so goddamned bad at talking with people and I don’t know why I’m like this but I am and it’s not normally a big deal but sometimes it is. Like when you’re sitting on a bench with a group of other parents and everyone is chatting except you, and it makes you start to dread going to your kid’s soccer practice as though it were a twice-weekly root canal and it’s ridiculous and it sucks.

Here is the bench. Here are the adults talking amongst themselves in a friendly manner. Not pictured: me, silent and awkward and occasionally snapping photos of Riley or sticking my nose in a book but mostly just feeling incredibly self-conscious and wishing the earth would open up and swallow me whole.

field

Ah, I’m so tired of being shy. I’m lonely and I have no social life and I hate feeling this way during activities that should be perfectly normal and I hate the self-defeating brainloop it causes and I hate the creeping certainty that everyone thinks I’m a standoffish asshole when the reality is that I’m pathetically eager to connect, I just can’t get past the first step.

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Tamara
9 years ago

I hope some un-shy parents will weigh in here because, um, I have so much awkwardness when it comes to meeting other parents when I’m out with my 10 month old. Moms will attempt to make small talk and I freeze up and don’t know what to say and then over compensate and can’t shut up and it’s so awful. A book needs to be written for shy adults trying to break into the parental social scene, like, yesterday.

Kristi
Kristi
9 years ago

I feel the same way! If you manage to solve this problem, please share your secrets. I find it hard to ramble about myself but find others have no issue with this. And I also wonder if others just have this burning desire to talk to everyone and I just don’t have this? I do want to connect but have a hard time with small talk.

Hilary
9 years ago

Oh, I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way! I’ve never met you — just know you from your blog, Twitter, etc — but I’ve often thought, “She would be a great friend.” You are funny and honest and smart with wide-ranging interests. I’m medium shy, meaning I need someone else to start the conversation, but once it gets going, I’m usually ok. But listen, everyone finds these interactions awkward. Everyone is looking for someone to break the ice. Could you try to maybe talk about the person’s kid? People love that. Or instead of sharing your hilarious and insightful observations with the Internet, share them with the fellow soccer parents? It’s really hard. But I’m sure there’s someone out there who would absolutely love to be friends with you.

Audrey
9 years ago

I’m the same way — sooo bad at small talk and connecting with new people, and yet so lonely. I would love to have more parent friends, but it’s so hard to reach out and establish that connection. If you (or your readers) figure out a way to overcome this, please let us know.

Christie
9 years ago

My kids are 8 and 10. I feel like I finally, maybe, just this year have gotten slightly better at the parental small talk. But I still dread it…

Mama Ritchie
Mama Ritchie
9 years ago

Well, try not to beat yourself up. Today I had a lengthy conversation at C’s school with who I thought was the gym teacher. I was all, “hey, I got you a gift for Tescher Appreciation Week!” And he was looking at me confused and said, “Do you think I’m a teacher? I’m a parent. I’ve been picking up my kid at the same door as you all year.” Oops. So see? Sometimes it’s better to NOT talk to other people.

Michelle
Michelle
9 years ago

I feel the same way a lot of the time. I can actually make small talk ok, what I can never seem to do is take the next step. I meet moms all the time who I think are so much like me, and I think, “wow, we could really be great friends” and then…nothing comes of it, ever. I always convince myself that everyone already has friends, no one is looking for a new one. I am terribly self-conscious of taking that first step so here I am, no social life outside my family. It hurts to not have friends, and I envy those who seem to make new ones so easily. I so feel your pain.

Kim
Kim
9 years ago

Ugh. Sooo there with you. I have to force myself to go to things for my son so often just because I don’t want to be awkward in front of other people (again… still). I have to do the self-talk about how it’s an important event for my son, blah blah blah. I confess to totally staring at nothing on my phone just to pretend I’m not simultaneously wishing someone would talk to me and that no one will.

Ashley
9 years ago

Hi I’m Ashley and I was anti-social. I went from 100% shy to being moved the HELL away from my comfort zone into another county… I found that part of it is do unto others.. I think of how I would want to be approached. I don’t like to find out that someone is being nice to me only long enough to get away from me, so I figured out if I go slightly overboard of acceptable first contact, I will weed out the people that are more anti-social and less prone to give a crap. It helps with the sports. My oldest is in softball and it’s always “First year?” “Where’d she play last year” “Cool Helmet” or “Cool ‘something'” I have become way more social with having kids. But I always tend to have someone approach me first. I used to have a really unapproachable stance. My husband almost didn’t talk to me when we met because he said I was walking around like I didn’t a man, I didn’t need ANYBODY! well, I did do that, I just didn’t know it at the time. SO I made sure I stopped. It’s amazing how much approachable I am to other social adept people. My husband made me sociable. He started it. Cause I wanted him so bad, so I just rolled up on him and said “Hi, I’m Ashley. You have a girlfriend?” It was like 3rd grade, only at college. And then I started going for what I wanted more. Good luck!! The first step is to anything is always admitting you have a problem…

Julie
Julie
9 years ago

I feel exactly the same way – except I don’t yet have children. I interact with my colleagues at work just fine, but I avoid any type of social gathering (retirement parties, team-building events or just going out for a beer after work). I have zero friends outside of work. It’s just my husband, myself, and our cat. I’m content with our quiet life, but do yearn for the joy of friendship. Camping, traveling, barbecues, sporting events etc. would all be so much more fun with friends! I’ve convinced myself that it’ll be easier once we have kids. Once I see fellow moms and dads at the park, at a birthday party (or at a soccer game), I’ll be able to relate to them and strike up a conversation. However… that may not be the case!

Nicole
Nicole
9 years ago

Oh I am so with you. I am horrible at small talk, I always seem to make it awkward. And then if I don’t talk, I’m perceived as snobby. I’d love to figure it out someday as my oldest is 6 and is diving into all these extracurricular activities as well!

Liz
Liz
9 years ago

I’m not terribly shy, but I *am* insecure, so I assume that if I’m trying to talk to someone who isn’t responding enthusiastically that must mean I am boring or dorky. So I am no help.

Lauren E. E.
Lauren E. E.
9 years ago

Trying to connect with new people is hard. My worst nightmare is arriving at a party where I only know the host, who is busy trying to talk to everyone. It’s so awkward trying to talk to strangers. I think my main tricks are making compliments and asking questions. “Your shoes are so cute! Where did you get them?” “Your kid is so good at foot work! How long has he been playing?” Questions put the focus on the other person and make you seem interested. And usually, if they’re polite, they’ll ask you something back. And then you’re in a conversation. You might also do something like bring a big container of homemade cookies and just offer them to the other parents. Or drag a cooler of cold drinks over for everyone. People will then probably approach you and try to start the conversation. I feel for you. Taking first steps sometimes feels like jumping off the edge of a cliff.

Lisa
Lisa
9 years ago

I am not the most social person out there, but I’m not paralyzed at the thought of small talk, either. If I feel like chatting, I tend to avoid the clusters of people deep in conversation. I will seek out people sitting alone and say some random thing: “which one is yours?” “Where does he goes to school?” Etc.

It’s easier at the beginning of the season, and when they’re this young, because by the end of the season, you’re kind of an asshole to be just now asking the kid’s name. And when they’re a little older, the sports parents start to know each other & cluster up.

But I probably WON’T approach someone who’s got her face in her phone or a book. ‘Cause she’s giving off all kinds of warning signs. And why would I interrupt someone who found something more interesting to do than talk to me?

Katherine
Katherine
9 years ago

Honestly, I think most people feel the same way you do–even the ones who look like they don’t. A few unsolicited tips:
1. Find a model you can emulate. Doesn’t have to be someone you know or even a real person. Just has to be a character you can observe somewhere (book, TV, movie, etc.). How does that character do it? Body language? Words? Attitude?
2. Then practice playing that character. Do it in a safe place first–playact with the boys if you want to. Dylan is shy, right? Involve him too and let him know you’re working on the same people skills.
3. Then join the group at the ballfield as if you’re carrying a personalized invitation from them in your back pocket. What that gives you is confidence to walk up with a smile on your face and a “hi, how’s it going?” on your lips. Use what you’ve learned from studying the characters you’ve observed. Be curious about people. Ask questions about general stuff. “Oh, I love your shoes, where’d you get those?” or something equally harmless. And, unless someone reacts like you just looked up their skirt, just assume that you’re doing fine and they’re feeling just as awkward as you. Also, you won’t connect well with everyone you talk to. That’s okay, and it doesn’t mean you’re a dork. Not every person on the planet is destined to be a friend or even an acquaintance. Just move on to the next person. You can do it. (“All you have to do is twyyyyyy.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_m-7jLDPf8)

Lindsey
9 years ago

Gah. Come sit by me!! I get this ALL THE TIME … I am unfriendly and aloof … when really I am just nervous and awkward. I wish I had a helpful suggestion. I don’t. I can merely tell you I’m right there with you. xox

Erica
9 years ago

I am so surprised to hear this! I have been reading your blog for a while, maybe since 2009? And I didn’t pick up on this part of you. I always think you are so eloquent and such a fun and cool person. I would be IRL friends with you in an instant! I feel awkward talking to people sometimes too … I usually start with just one person and then build from there. I hope you reach out to people at these things because it will make it more fun!

Elleana
Elleana
9 years ago

Oh, me, too. Me, too. One of my biggest regrets is that I let fear dictate how often I took my kids to classes/events, which means they hardly ever did anything. Kudos to you for taking your children and suffering through. Maybe by next season the faces will be more familiar and you will feel more like you belong.

parodie
parodie
9 years ago

Sympathy! I read an advice blog (Captain Awkward: http://captainawkward.com/) and they frequently talk about approaching strangers/making friends/etc for the socially anxious and awkward. People here have given you good tips too. One tip I really liked from CA was to think of each social experience (e.g. a ball game) as a game you play against yourself. Give yourself points – e.g. 5 points for smiling at a stranger, 10pts for a simple comment on the weather, 20 pts for a back-and-forth exchange (“love your kids shoes! Where do you find stuff like that? Riley grows out of his stuff so fast…”), and give yourself permission to check out (read a book/ignore others) and get yourself some reward once you reach a goal (e.g. 50 or 100pts).

Of course, that kind of personal incentive will only work for some people. But really, the key thing to remember is that this is hard. No one knows how to do it perfectly. AND this is a skill you can learn/improve, like running or whatever.

Jen D.
Jen D.
9 years ago

I am the same way, too. I am THE WORST at small talk, everything either comes out in a rush of awkward words followed by an awkward heh heh, or I just look like a deer in the headlights. Mostly I just keep my head down and don’t talk. Most people think I’m a snob until they get to know me and I open up my awesome self. Sigh. No kids yet, but my mom was the same way at my brothers’ sporting events/practices. Would it be weird to bake or make something to share with the other parents as an ice breaker? Also, just asking a lot of questions and getting them to go on about themselves can help. Sorry you have to suffer the painful awkwardness! Such is me in the lunch room at work every day.

Evelynne
9 years ago

Is your problem that you don’t know what to say? Or do you worry about how you will perceived if you start talking?

If it’s the former: Google “how to make small talk.” People have broken it down to a science so you don’t have to. This was one of the first things I turned up and it had some great suggestions, especially the small-talk chains: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/08/22/how-to-make-small-talk/

I was super shy in high school because I didn’t know what to say. When I got to college I watched what chatty people were doing and saying and started copying what they did. Mostly I asked questions and made them talk. Within a month my inner social butterfly had fully emerged and I haven’t been shy since. I get rusty sometimes if I haven’t socialized in a while, but not shy.

If you’re worried about how what you say is percieved, you can cheat by not doing too much talking at first. Watch and listen for the motormouth in the group. If you can catch them and say just enough to get them started, you won’t have to talk much but you’ll be part of the group, and seem more approachable. And maybe the equivalent of me in that group will come over and start asking you questions. :)

Meg
Meg
9 years ago

Do you get that thing where once someone DOES approach you and starts a pleasant conversation, and they’re nice and fun to talk to and you actually like them- you can’t stop that bitter voice in your head that says, “oh, NOW. Just forget it.” ??? Maybe you know what I mean… Socially awkward loneliness is a sucking vortex and I kind of don’t see myself ever getting completely out of it.

NancyB
NancyB
9 years ago

OMG I am so terrible at small talk!! And I feel so dumb in social gatherings because my husband is a social butterfly but he can’t and I don’t expect him to stick by me!
Sometimes I would find other people alone and talk to them but when they leave it think its because I’m so boring!
I was just thinking about this the other day as to why my conversational skills are so bad – and I’m 53!

NancyB
NancyB
9 years ago

Oh! And at my son’s sporting ends I always had a book – just in case!

Lisa
Lisa
9 years ago

I have the same issues and it’s so awful. I think somebody already mentioned this, but focus on the other person. Asking questions always works for me to get the conversation going. And pretty much all parents are happy to talk abut their kids, so ask questions about them. It may feel forced and disingenuous at first, but eventually you will begin a real conversation and it feels more natural.

Gigi
9 years ago

Piping up as another shy parent…it is hard. But I found as mine got older-which forced me to be more “out there”-the easier it was to meet other parents. The problem I have now is that he’s flown the coop (college) and how in the hell do you meet new people if you don’t have a kid to force you into it?

Mary
Mary
9 years ago

A guy I used to work with was the best I ever met at striking up conversations with strangers, everybody just loved him after two minutes. I asked him his secret, and he said, everybody has a story they want to tell me. My job is to find out what it is and let them tell it. He asked questions until he got people talking about themselves, and then he just sat and listened. Everybody likes to talk about themselves. Most of them will never notice you just smiled and nodded and listened.

LB
LB
9 years ago

Oh Linda! My heart aches for you. I can relate to this SO Hard and could write a novel on it. And I might just do so in your comments section :). I am the same way and I have been told many times that I come across as aloof and standoffish at first which is so frustrating because I am actually just shy and as you put it pathetically eager for connection.

I have improved and gotten better at this over the years though and here are a few things I do:

– psych myself up in social situations and tell myself with my inner dialogue that i am interesting, kind and worthy of friendship. Sounds cheesy but it helps. And for the record this is so true about you. I only know you from your writing but I can tell you are all of these things. I would love to be friends with you.

-try not to take rejection personally. I still have some painful social interactions which are a train wreck and make me want to go home and cry. I inevitably get rejected on occasion when I try to connect sometimes and when this happens instead of taking it as a personal failing and that there is something wrong with me, I make a conscious effort to reframe it in my mind (ie. that person is too busy,having a bad day, already has an established friend group, we aren’t compatible,etc).

– just do it. I find the more I reach out and try and connect, the better I get at it and the more positive responses I get and it gets easier and easier. It will never be easy and come naturally to me but ultimately it has been worth it for the friendships that have resulted. I also assume that other people are as eager to connect as I am and a lot of the time, they are. Practice, practice, keep at it and you’ll make progress.

It’s hard and it’s scary and the situations you described are some of the hardest for me (ie. group settings where other people seem to be getting along famously). I also think it’s particularly hard in this stage of life as everyone is way to busy with parenting, careers, keeping the household running, trying to devote time to a marriage, have balance, etc.

I know how isolating this feels but take it from me, it does get easier with practice.

Kdub
Kdub
9 years ago

Me too!

Jodi
Jodi
9 years ago

It’s crazy that the majority of the comments here are “me too’s” yet we all feel like the only one at the field that feels this way. I wonder how many other moms are sitting at my son’s games feeling the same way. Too bad we don’t all live in the same town – we’d make one bad ass group of friends!

Seriously, though, I’d love to hear if anyone has any tips on how to take the small talk to the next level. Like how/when is it not creepy to suggest exchanging phone numbers? And good lord, what would I talk about if another mom actually called me?! Oh, it’s so stressful! Do these people you meet later in life actually turn into real friends? I can’t imagine.

laurs
laurs
9 years ago

Another me too here. I have been making a point of trying harder. What I have been trying is to position myself to the person that appears to be the most shy/set apart in case they are like me. It’s so hard sometimes! You’re definitely not alone!

Angela
Angela
9 years ago

Oh, this is so familiar. I also have a hard time talking to strangers in groups; I am awkward and self-conscious and over analyze everything. But what I find is that in almost every group there’s something you all have in common. When you have that, there’s where the small talk begins. At soccer practice, you all have kids about the same age, all playing the same sport. “Wow, your kid plays great! has he been playing long?” At my last job, everyone had tickets for the same production. “Have you seen this show before?” I will never be a natural conversationalist like some people, but I find if I think of topics in advance, it’s easier to bring them up. I dunno. I think it’s something one learns to manage rather than enjoy, you know? And then at some point you find the person in the room who sniggers over some vaguely porny centerpiece or something and there’s your new friend,

FWIW, having met you in person, I know that you are hilarious and smart and delightful to talk to. And I know that in Eugene somewhere are other people who like zombies and movies and laughing at porny centerpieces too. You’ll find them.

SK
SK
9 years ago

I feel your pain. I have a 10 month old and have been attending a mom/kid exercise class for the last 8 months, and have just in the last month started to make some friends. It’s hard when you see everyone around you chatting away so easily and you have no idea how to join the conversation without being totally awkward.

I read a book a while back called The Introvert Advantage that highlights the differences between introverts and extroverts. It really helped me identify why I’m uncomfortable in unfamiliar/social situations, which was comforting because I realized that a) being introverted is the way I’m wired and not something that I can ever ‘fix’, but I can use techniques to function better in situations if needed and b) there are other people exactly like me (25% of the population, apparently). It also talks about the various ways in which introverts are awesome.

Jen (SaitoAbroad)
Jen (SaitoAbroad)
9 years ago

Everyone’s suggestions are great! Another idea I had was to try and get to practices early, maybe before everyone else and then that way you and the next person to arrive are kind of forced to say hi to each other which in turn opens the door for small talk. And I always find it easier to talk one on one vs. trying to insert yourself into a group of people already chatting. Small talk is the worst, but it’s unavoidable.

You can do this. I know it sucks but at least try, you’re bound to make a friend and at a very minimum feel more comfortable at the practices.

Robyn
Robyn
9 years ago

Another “me too”. I think the reason I feel the same as you do, is because, with friends, I swear, I joke around a lot, I’m not all “PC”, and I’m afraid to offend people with my personality. So, I tone myself down, and then I don’t even know who I am, and why should I have to change myself for people I don’t even really care about. I’m called “aloof”, and “snobby” all the time. I guess I am in a way, because I’m not giving them a chance to show me their true self either. I don’t know what the answer is Linda, but I know for a fact that you have a lot to offer…seriously? Nobody in Eugene reads your blog? You could make a zillion friends if they got to know you through your writing, because we know how you are, and we know what to expect. You could just come out of the gate with funny, “porny centerpiece” remarks, and have us all laughing our asses off!!! Good luck at the games and practices. But one thing someone said above, don’t look at your phone, or read a book, because you come across like you don’t WANT to interact. Smile, and seem open, and someone will approach you for sure!

Carmen
9 years ago

Oh, I am the same way. I’m friendly and can chat back to others IF and ONLY IF they make the first move (and maybe the second). The thought of initiating a conversation with a stranger nearly makes my heart stop.

I’m also quite lonely but I have no idea how to meet people now that I’m not in school anymore. I work in a lab at the university, so all of my co-workers are young grad students so we’re not really in the same stage of life or interested in the same things, really. I’m too shy to talk to the other parents at school dropoff, or even if we do chat a bit, I have no idea how to advance that to being the kind of friends that go for coffee & do stuff together. Being a grownup sort of sucks sometimes.

Sarah
Sarah
9 years ago

I so, so get this. I tend to make my husband do all the “heavy lifting” when it comes to social interaction. That plan quickly falls apart when I have to go somewhere alone.
Having said that, I live in Eugene. I have two boys, eight and six. The youngest is starting Babe Ruth Tee-ball. I feel your pain at sitting on the sidelines.

sooboo
sooboo
9 years ago

I am shy and have social anxiety big time. I married a very outgoing person and I have learned a few tricks from him that helped me break free a bit. Like someone else mentioned, ask questions and give compliments. Instead of the standard what do you do for a living, I ask people what they do for fun. People love to share their hobbies and you learn a lot about a lot about different kinds of things. I also have to admit I carry Rescue Remedy lozenges in my purse and sucking on a couple of those makes me feel less nervous about getting things going. You are so funny, charming and smart, it’s hard to believe this is an issue for you, but as a fellow sufferer I also know it has little to do with how things actually are and more how we perceive them to be.

sara
sara
9 years ago

My grandfather was shy and he got so tired of it he took the Dale Carnegie Shyness class and as hokey as it seems, it changed his life.

My dad is also shy and he usually hides behind his camera at social events. But then people started asking for copies or emails of the pictures and it’s been a great conversation starter.

Compliment their children and go from there… what school are their kids in, how long have they lived there, where do they work, which other sports are their kids in, etc.

Anne
9 years ago

I have no answers, but all of the empathy. I am very much like you.

melanie
melanie
9 years ago

I am exactly the same – even my own HUSBAND has said sometimes that I seem standoffish and cold and like I don’t care about people. It’s really just this debilitating feeling of… I don’t even know, fear? Shyness? Inadequacy? Abject freaking terror of people judging me and finding me lacking???? Ugh. I wish one of us had the answer – but just know you’re not alone AT ALL. :)

Suki
Suki
9 years ago

I don’t have trouble starting conversations, just a tendency to stick my foot in my mouth once I get going :)

This may sound weird, but as a non-shy person, I kind of feel like us non-shy people have a responsibility to use our outgoing nature for good, and attempt to get shyer people into the conversation. I try to notice if someone seems like they are feeling uncomfortable or not being included, and use some of the techniques Swistle recently described in a post about talking to other parents, like asking their opinion on what we’ve been talking about.

I also use the standard b.s. questions (Did you grow up around here? If not, where are you from originally? What do you do for a living/for fun?) to try and find ANYTHING we have AT ALL in common and can use as a jumping-off point for conversation. I’m also big on paying compliments, and feel like it can be a good way to get a read on someone- if they’re bitchy about a compliment, I’m not going to waste too much energy trying to connect with them, because chances are, they’re just a bitch.

Lori
Lori
9 years ago

I dislike meeting new people, but I like having friends. Not a ton of friends, but a few good ones. And, having friends with kids is even better b/c they understand. My advice is to just ask a lot of questions. The only thing people love to talk about more than themselves are their kids. Leading with a compliment is always best. “Your son is so focused when he plays, I wish my son had that dedication. Do you spend a lot of time practicing with him at home?” Also, if you’re reading a book or texting on your phone, people aren’t going to talk to you. Meeting new people is hard. Often you have to spend a lot of time chatting with someone you wouldn’t normally click with before they eventually introduce you to someone who becomes a life long friend. The part that sucks is you just have to make yourself do it, that’s the only way.

Becky
Becky
9 years ago

I am kind of suprised to hear you say that, I think you are so smart and funny and I have always wanted to be your friend :)

Yeah, start out with complimenting their kids and smiling.

Christine
Christine
9 years ago

I am super outgoing and will talk to anyone, but not someone reading a book. It puts off a vibe that you are unapproachable. If you have been going to practices and not talking to people and only reading or taking pics you will need to work a bit harder. As a parent, you always have something to talk about, what school? or which teacher? or what do you do? etc.

My son has been in sports for years and we are now with a team that we adore, all the parents are friendly and social. It is worth it to make the effort. Good luck! I love your blog!

Adrien
Adrien
9 years ago

Linda, I am so exactly like this. I’m fine one-on-one but put me in a group of strangers and I want to curl up and die. Here’s how I cope: Pick one. Pick one person who looks interesting to you and be brave and talk to that person. Once you know one person, it’s easier to feel more included and work your way into the group.

Amity
Amity
9 years ago

Have you ever checked out Meetup.com? It’s an activies website for ANY activity that you could be interested. Like mom’s groups, hiking groups, etc. I got involved with them about 5 years ago, and it has totally boosted my ability to meet new people and strike up conversations. You just sign up for the events that you want to go to, it doesn’t cost anything, and everybody there is there for the purpose of meeting new people/making new friends. I will admit that I was intimidated the first few times, but once I started seeing the same people event-after-event, and making some connections, I LOVED it. Also, it makes it a little less intimidating when you’re there to do an activity, like take a hike or paint some pottery or whatev; the activity is your main focus and the comraderie is secondary. Also, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people that are into the same activites you are.

Pickles & Dimes
9 years ago

True story: I am a total introvert, but I once approached a woman I had never met and initiated a conversation because she looked like you and I thought she would be friendly and fun. (She was.) (Also, I assume you have never been to Minnesota, correct? If you have, then I have possibly met you, and we talked about dogs and that weird 40-year-old guy at the bar who was creepily staring at women while wearing a lettermen’s jacket.) :)

Anyway, it was really nice chatting with a stranger, and I think she was relieved to have someone to talk with as well. I agree with other commenters: Pick one person who seems like they’ll respond to you and start chatting.

Amity
Amity
9 years ago

Also, I want to second someone else’s comment about coming up with a list of usual questions to start with: things like where are you from? what part of town do you live in? what kind of work do you do? etc. I find it generally leads to opening up the conversation to other things, and gets someone comfortable with talking if they have a subject to focus on.

Maggie
Maggie
9 years ago

I painfully relate to this. Too bad if we ever met we’d both be too bad a small talk to actually become friends. And what makes it worse is having a husband who has never met a stranger so he is also part of that crowd that’s all chatty.

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