Kodi Arfer / Wisterwood

So, I'm sort of not adjusting the best ever, socially speaking, in college.

Topic List
#001 | PaperSpock |
Short version:

I have little trouble talking to people for specific purposes, but am unable to socialize.

Long version:

This has always been a bit of a problem, its just been hitting me harder now that I live alone. I moved up to the University of Iowa this fall, and I live in an apartment. I only know a few people here, and they'd all count as acquaintances, though I'd admit I'm a bit stricter than most in calling a person a friend. I haven't made any new friends, or really learned much of anyone's names.

My problem is that I don't know how to initiate conversation with people I don't know. And if I did, I'm really not totally sure how I would keep it going naturally. Class discussions go naturally enough for me. Heck, even in a lecture of around 500 people, I'm one of the people who answers questions from time to time.

But as much as I want it, the prospect of a casual conversation is paralyzing. There's a few people I wouldn't mind talking to, but I really have no clue how to initiate a conversation and have it flow well. I mean, for starters, I wouldn't even know where to begin... "Hey there person I recognize but don't really know, how about we have a conversation?"

And at this point in the semester, I'm not sure what they're going to think if I randomly start talking to them... Won't it seem strange? I'm just really not sure how to fix this problem. Well, obviously I know it involves talking to people, but for me, that's a bit like saying recording the human genome just needs some test tubes and few fancy machines.
Fame is but a slow decay.
-Theodore Tilton
#002 | Kodiologist |
Me giving advice on how to socialize is both figuratively and literally the blind leading the sighted. That said, I've felt most comfortable embracing my own awkwardness and trying to be funny. I don't think it's a terrible idea to actually say "Hey there, person I recognize but don't really know, how about we have a conversation?", in a sufficiently jokey manner. Or perhaps "Excuse me, kind stranger, I'm new to these strange lands and have few acquaintances; perhaps you would care to socialize?" Whatever. Be spontaneous. If you just act friendly and warm, people will be more likely to find any dorkiness on your part endearing instead of repulsive. If they clearly don't want anything to do with you, just cut your losses and leave them alone.

Before approaching someone, it might make sense to have a few topics of conversation in case they're happy talking but don't have anything particular to say. Things that are relevant to both of you (like the content of whatever class you're both in) or extremely open-ended questions ("So what's your philosophy of life? How ought a person to live, in your opinion?") or amusing personal anecdotes are good choices.

As for keeping a conversation flowing, the best advice I can give is to listen to what the other fellow's saying and mention any opinions or anecdotes you have that are related. A healthy casual conversation has in general the same structure as a casual train of thought: free association is all that links the nodes together. Don't be afraid of being too tangential: if you're not seriously discussing anything, nothing is too tangential.

As I say these things, I realize that I may've gone in the past few months from being a recluse to a nuisance. I can only say that, so far as I can tell, the people I've met recently have never reacted negatively to me and often positively. So maybe there's something to this after all.

Change your signature once a month for optimal health, and don't forget to backslash your backslashes.
#003 | willis5225 |
I'm sure Kodi knows the name of the thing that makes you assume people are scrutinizing you more closely than they are. Anyway, people aren't scrutinizing you as closely as you think, which I can say with confidence because everyone worries about that.

Anyway, conversations are easy and organic once you get started. Just lead in with some observation about something you have in common: about class, or some aspect of school life, or some person. If you run into someone in the laundry room, talk about laundry. If you're eating, talk about food. Eventually, you'll just be talking about stuff.

A good strategy for having stuff to talk about is to join activities. You'll have a built-in set of referents. Even if it's a few months in, they'll still welcome you with open arms.

N.B. One of my best friends in the world is a weird, awkward guy who came up to a group of us in the cafeteria one day and said "hey let's be friends."
Willis, it seems like every other time you post, I need to look up a word that's in the OED or Urban Dictionary but not both.
#004 | HeyDude |
So, the thing is that you're asking PMS. All of us are capable now, I think, but we all probably came from less-than-socially-capable backgrounds, which is why we joined PMS. We're dorks.

I find that normal people say a lot of inane things and all that they really mean is "I'm being friendly". If I'm waiting for the microwave in my work kitchen to beep so I can take away my lunch, and somebody else comes in, they might say "excuse me" even if I'm just barely in their way, or they might say "did you see the Tigers last night?" or something like that. I think just talking, no matter what you say, pretty much eliminates the surliness people will associate with you if you never talk to them. "Hi, how's it going" works pretty unfailingly.

Don't expect every encounter to be a conversation. If you're going to sit down for lunch with somebody, then yeah, but if you're passing somebody in the hall, or if you're going to be in their world for less than 60 seconds, you could probably just smile and say "hi, how are you" and be fine.
#005 | LinkPrime1 |
...Spoc, aren't you a junior? I mean...
I thOught We were Around the Same age, yoU know? I mean, College can be stressfull, I for one KnowS...

...Okay, maybe I'm trying too hard.

Iowa Sucks.


Just like...I dunno, be more open? I'm generally a laid-back, antisocial kind of guy (still am at parties), but lately I've been a lot more outgoing. Part of it was just me forcing myself to say hey to someone I recognized. Eventually, it just became second nature...kinda like saying thank you.

Gotta have the drive to do it my friend, only then will it be possible.
Well, there is a new accent of n00b language. It's called: Vet LUEser goes Foreign!-MegaSpy22
Those must be the pants of the gods!-Digitalpython
#006 | BUM |
Try having two drinks beforehand. That's not really serious advice. But also it is. Two won't make you drunk, but will loosen your inhibitions- you have the best of both worlds: sensibility and easy-goingness. Chances are you're overthinking it- the more you think the worse it is.

That being said, that's not really my advice, because you shouldn't turn to alcohol to solve problems. But you could learn something from it- it is not wholly without virtue.
#007 | willis5225 |
Technically, that's the advice of Odin the Allfather.
Willis, it seems like every other time you post, I need to look up a word that's in the OED or Urban Dictionary but not both.
#008 | BUM |
Now I'm intrigued.
#009 | willis5225 |
Haldit maðr á keri
drekki þó at hófi mjöð
mæli þarft eða þegi
ókynnis þess
var þik engi maðr
at þú gangir snemma at sofa
-Havamal 19

(It's basic etiquette to pass the mead, don't be a dick about it. Anyway, no one'll call you out if you party a little bit and then go to bed soon after)
Willis, it seems like every other time you post, I need to look up a word that's in the OED or Urban Dictionary but not both.
#010 | Kodiologist |
Pass the mead horns? But I wanted to… havamal.

octopuses : octopi : octopodes :: address : URL : URI
#011 | willis5225 |
Willis, it seems like every other time you post, I need to look up a word that's in the OED or Urban Dictionary but not both.
#012 | HeyDude |
Quotation of post #011 by willis5225

10/10 would laugh again