Social situations made less scary

There is something nerve-wracking about being put in a new social situation.

Whether it is the first day of school, the first day at a new job, an interview or meeting a new group of people for the first time, these experiences can make many people struggle with conversation anxiety.

Conversation anxiety is the fear of making small talk with people, especially strangers.

With the new semester beginning here on campus, students, both incoming and returning, may feel nervous about meeting new people.

There’s the possibility of awkward silence and a risk of embarrassment. Many are completely comfortable with making conversation but others tend to avoid small talk at all costs.

Here are a few ways to make the process more bearable.

The easiest way to begin a conversation with someone new is to introduce oneself.

In a classroom setting, this can be done with people nearby and can be followed with clarification about an assignment in class or something the professor has said.


Another tip is to discuss a general topic, something like the weather, current news, movies or music. Make it something that anyone can connect to in some way.

Asking questions about stickers on a water bottle or laptop can also fuel conversations.

The things people choose to display on their items can say a lot about them as a person and gives insight about their interests.

This can also lead to a conversation about common interests, which can potentially lead to a new friend.

One thing that people tend to forget, in regards to small talk, is the way that their body language impacts someone’s first impression of them.

When meeting a new person, it is a good idea to appear friendly and approachable.

Smiling and having your arms at your sides instead of crossed is one way to do this.

If stuck in an uncomfortable social setting, these strategies may become useful and make the conversation less daunting.