Jane asks :

Hi Lucy,

I seem to go blank whenever I am in company with most other people. I can never think of things to ask or say and then the problem seems to spiral because I get myself worked up over it. Can you suggest anything I can do to overcome this? Many thanks.


Hi Jane,

Agony Aunts on Female First

Agony Aunts on Female First

I would suggest asking more questions to start with, people often like to be asked about themselves. Once they get talking, they may ask you a question in return, but this might just give you some time to settle down and ease into the conversation.

The hardest part of any conversation tends to be breaking the ice, so showing that you are interested and inquisitive about another person implies might just give you the breathing space you need. That said, try not to turn it into an interview and give something back.

In terms of things to talk about starting with something generic like the weather or an observation can also help to get things started. Once someone realises that you want to engage in conversation, then they should help you out if they are in the mood to talk. If they aren't, then try not to take it to heart- they may be shy or not the type of person to engage in small talk- it's not necessarily about you.

With most things- to gain confidence- practice is needed. If you find this particularly difficult sometimes it helps to create conversations where you can- in a work elevator, in a coffee shop with someone in the queue or with someone in a shop if you need help to find something. There are opportunities all over to practice your social skills, so perhaps look out for these and challenge yourself to talk to people more in day to day scenarios and you might find that it becomes second nature and you no longer have to think about it.

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