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Meeting new people

I know it might weird that a youth ambassador is asking for help but I need some advice.

I really want to meet some new people but I am very socailly awkward. I'm not tired of the people I hang out with at the moment but I do want to expand my horizons. I don't like going to parties and anything involving large crowds as they make me skittish. I just can't think of any other way to meet anyone and I know the dangers of meeting up with people online.


Does anyone have any advice on where are good places or events to meet people my age (I'm 16)? Also, what is the best way to start a conversation with them? I am very shy and get really anxious of screwing things up.

Re: Meeting new people

The best and easiest way to meet people is while you are still at school. Most schools and classes will have a get to know you class in them, or a school camp where you can explore your personality and meet other people at your school you might not already know.


The other way to break into new groups at school is to do a class you really like, like art or drama or music, or do some extra curricular activity that your school provides. Like join a sports team. If you aren't very good at sports, or don't like the popular people, then join a sport that isn't as popular. Its easier to get on the team, and the people that play these kinds of sports are usually a bit alternative and independent.


As for knowing what to say, the best advice is not to say too much. Just carefully pick what you would like to contribute to, and don't be afraid to say what you really think or feel. If you try to guess what the other person might like you to say, you aren't doing yourself or the other person any favours. Its better to say one really good thing that they will remember about you and think "that person is great!" rather than saying a whole bunch of stuff and sending them mixed messages.


The other thing about making new friends is to show an interest. Ask them questions about what they like, and if it sounds interesting, keep asking questions. Remember to keep up your end of the conversation.


If you or the other person is always having to come up with a new topic of conversation, then you or the other person might be killing the current topic without knowing it. If it is them doing it, they might be shy too. If it is you killing the conversation, then maybe you are getting a bad vibe from them, and don't really want to be friends.


But yeah, people will ask you what you like. What bands you like, what movies you like, what books you like, what kind of boys you like, what foods you like. If you don't know any of the answers to these questions, then start trying to find out for yourself what you like. FInd out for yourself what you think about some issues or ideas, and then try to talk to people about them.


I know you say you are shy, but having conversations and getting to know people is great fun. Sure you can get hurt emotionally, but thats what life is all about.

Re: Meeting new people

@halcatraz wrote:

Also, what is the best way to start a conversation with them? I am very shy and get really anxious of screwing things up.

I know this feeling of worrying that you might screw things up.


Look at it this way, there are a lot of people out there. If you don't make friends with the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th person you talk to, you'll at least have learned something from each of those interactions to better hone your conversation with the 6th person.


As for starting conversations, what works for me is to start by commenting on something that relates to you both. e.g. "Hey, I wish they'd open the library up already — it's freezing out here!" or "Do you think this teacher/lecturer is pretty boring?" or even "This weather is pretty goddamned nice today, huh? What are we doing stuck inside??"

Alternatively, if you see something about them that you have a question about, just ask: "Hey is that the new iPhone? Is it good?" or "Ooh, a DS! Do you have the new Pokemon?"


… then, once you get a sense they're receptive to conversation (i.e. they acknowledged your question by answering or making an agreeing sound) ask them about themselves or what they're up to. "Hey, so what brings you to this fine local shopping centre today?" or something else relevant to your age group — "Got your licence yet?" — and it should flow smoothly from there.


Try to avoid one-worded answers and try to think of more ways to ask them questions. If you get stuck, ask questions that aren't yes/no. e.g. Instead of "Is that the new Pokemon?" it could be "How are you finding the new Pokemon?"


Re: Meeting new people

This is great advice. These are all things I had to learn, and just do without thinking now. @Lex  is my new hero!

Re: Meeting new people

@Lex Definitely writing that advice down - I love the mention of how even if nothing eventuates from a convesation, you can always learn from it to start other conversations that may lead to a life-long friend Smiley Happy

No human being, however great or powerful, was ever so free as a fish

Re: Meeting new people

Yep I'm not a stellar conversationalist so I'm taking notes from Lex's advice too!

Re: Meeting new people

Y'all are too kind to say such things.


When I was younger I was a really passionate Radiohead fan. A documentary was made about them during their world tour following OK Computer that was called "Meeting People Is Easy".

Despite the likelihood that the name was intended to be very cynical, it really stuck with me, for whatever reason, and it became a little mantra for me at the time. Whenever I felt nervous about talking to someone new, I just reminded myself that "meeting people is easy".


I still failed a lot in those early days but I learned a lot and would never have learned that without the motivation to at least try.