Want to become a better conversationalist
My family and I recently moved. Since I am still in school and coming from a place where I had a close circle of friends, it was kind of difficult at first. It didn't take too long for me to get used to the idea and I looked forward to a time to start all over, to re-invent myself. Well, mostly what I wanted to re-invent was my social behavior.
I tend to keep my thoughts to myself, and mostly I have to say I'm not really shy, but just don't know what to say a lot of times. I have to admit, I think it stems from a fear of rejection by society I have. Overall, I think I have managed to overcome that for the most part and I don't think quite so much of what other people will think, but still I have a hard time conversing with people. It probably sounds stupid, but a lot of times it's like my head is completely empty and I can't think of a thing to say!
Sometimes I even prefer just sitting by myself instead of joining a group of people. I still don't know anyone too well in my class, just because I sort of dread the small talk. Sometimes it is ok--for a short period of time. But usually it's like pulling teeth. I just never know what to say. I don't know if you can really help me, but I hate it so much! I just think there has got to be some way for me to become more of a conversationalist. Also, there are so many people at my new school that I want to get to know. The problem is I don't really know how to get to know them. I just need some way I can get involved with them like out of school. (Plus a group of them is guys, and I feel kind of weird asking to hang around them! But they are a lot like the people I used to know and I enjoy being around them).
How can I think of what to say and become more of a conversationalist? How can I get to know people better at my new school and initiate doing something outside of school?
Isn't it difficult moving and leaving everyone, everything and everywhere that is familiar to you? I believe it is a process that requires a lot of time and a lot of being very, very good to yourself especially as you have for the time being lost a lot of your old supports.
The thought of reinventing yourself can be a very exciting one, going to a new place and you can appear to be just whoever you want. Trouble is, it is very hard (impossible) to keep up the appearance of being someone else, and more so it is usually far more successful learning to be the best you that you can be.
I am curious what your "fear of rejection by society" is about. It sounds rather impersonal, like something you read in a book. See if you can be more exact about what this feeling is. I guess you have put it in such terms for yourself because it is too difficult or too upsetting to be more precise about what you fear. If you can learn more about the fear you have a much better chance of resolving it and probably growing to like yourself more in the process.
Are you aware that throughout your letter you refer to groups of people, them and people in plural. No wonder your head goes empty and you don't know what to say. It sounds to me like your anxiety is stopping you from seeing people as individuals so of course you can't speak comfortably to 'them'. It would be like becoming an expert in public speaking!
You say you had a close group of friends before and had people you enjoyed being around. I bet you knew who each one was, and I suggest you make this your starting point, maybe focusing on one or two people you would particularly like to know more about and let them help you from there.
As far as being a better conversationalist goes this is probably the easiest problem of all to solve once you know how. All you have to do is be interested in other people, preferably genuinely interested and for some strange reason you will be perceived as really interesting, often without having said one single thing about yourself. If this helps get you going with making contact with one or two new people it sounds as if you already have a past record of skills in maintaining relationships and being liked and accepted for whom you are where you lived previously.
Take your time and good luck. I am sure it won't take you much longer to start making some new friends and at the same time you will have learnt some valuable lessons to take forward through life with you.
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