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To ask how on earth you talk with people you don't know

(22 Posts)
Abbbinob Tue 05-Apr-16 09:29:34

so i started a new job 2ish weeks ago, everyone is very nice but i have no idea how to talk to people normally it seems?
i can't seem to make conversations with people, i don't really understand that sort of thing.
and when i do try i come accross as really odd, i think it's my face or my voice im not sure
e.g
Hi abbinob you alright?
me: yeah im good.
then stuck. sometimes i attempt yeah im good, and you? but it sounds deranged.

or, yesterday i went to pick up a box (work in a shop) and one of the guys went "no thats the plinth stuff we've been working on the last hour"
i kind of got really confused at that and just looked like an idiot and he said he was joking, please tell me im not weird and that that doesn't sound like a joke to anyone else? I wasn't offended or anything just confused, but he thought i was offended and said to cheer up and it was all really embarassing

how do you do this i don't want to be the weird quiet one all the time

Abbbinob Tue 05-Apr-16 09:32:17

I keep coming across really stupid and it's embarrassing, im not stupid! but for example i was trying to find a brand of cigarettes for a customer, then someone else working on the tills was like "what are you looking for?" and suddenly i couldn't even remember, i would have been fine to find it myself but then as soon as someone tried to help i get in a muddle and my brain stops and i look like twat of the year

Coconutty Tue 05-Apr-16 09:32:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

acasualobserver Tue 05-Apr-16 09:33:40

Get a dog! (I acknowledge this won't help for the work situation.)

Abbbinob Tue 05-Apr-16 09:39:44

i got fired from a previous job for being so shit at making friends with other staff, i do try, just badly clearly blush

londonrach Tue 05-Apr-16 09:42:18

Easy..talk about the weather...leads to all sorts of subjects...grin nhs worker so have seconds to make a relationship with people to get their confidence. Anyother one..what you doing for xmas, how was your xmas, any holidays planned etc

londonrach Tue 05-Apr-16 09:43:53

Im on how was your easter now before i turn the conversation to the matter the patient is there for?

Earlyday Tue 05-Apr-16 09:44:13

Try cognitive behavioural therapy - it might help with you being so self conscious

I found this book good

www.amazon.co.uk/Feeling-Good-Handbook-David-Burns/dp/0452281326

BrandNewAndImproved Tue 05-Apr-16 09:45:06

I'm the same, I also overshare my life details and ramble on. No one overshares back...

It does help to go on a work night out and get pissed with them. I started a new job last year and didn't make friends until I went on the Christmas night out. I'm still not one of the gang so to speak but that's because I work in a different part away from the rest.

DawnOfTheDoggers Tue 05-Apr-16 09:45:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsLeighHalfpenny Tue 05-Apr-16 09:47:35

Talk about crap. You don't really need to want to know the answer, but it makes the world go round. Eg. "I'm thinking of going to the cinema, what's good? Anyone seen Eddie the Eagle?"

"Did you watch Thirteen last night? Good isn't it?"

"What did you think of Anna Friel's lips on JR the other night?"

Pettywoman Tue 05-Apr-16 09:48:46

I was once like you and had to train myself out of it. You need to ignore your uncomfortable feelings and realise nobody cares for more than a second if you say something stupid. The trick is to carry it off and make a joke of it somehow even just 'oh, I left my brain at home today' or just not to care. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the braver and less awkward you are with others. Nobody really likes small talk or gives a shit about the weather or if you heard The Archers, it's just easy chat until you find a subject you're both interested in.

BeaufortBelle Tue 05-Apr-16 09:56:04

Smile and be polite. "you alright" is a bit closed and invites yes or no. Something like "did you have a good journey in today" elicits more conversation.

He said he was joking, so smile and say "you got me there"

They are only people live, with insecurities as big as yours. Keep smiling and be willing and open and kind.

OneMagnumisneverenough Tue 05-Apr-16 09:58:37

Also, people like people who are good listeners and look genuinely interested in what they are saying, so just learn some filler questions, such as oh really?, and then what? and how did that make you feel etc.

And again as above, talk about easy stuff and give a little of yourself so others see you as a person and then feel able to ask you stuff about yourself. So Op what do you like/enjoy and we could maybe help you with some ways to introduce that into conversation?

Another good thing is to compliment people on random stuff as it makes them feel good and more warmly towards you. Things such as, that's a lovely top your wearing, How do you get your hair so shiny? It's lovely. What's that lovely smell, is it your perfume/aftershave/fabric conditioner? I've been looking for a new pair of shoes and you always seem to have lovely ones, where do you shop?

HotNatured Tue 05-Apr-16 14:10:58

You are overthinking it. And that is making your flustered, which in turn makes you stumble for something to say. Relax. Everyone is winging it in this life. You are new at your job, you're naturally going to feel a bit low in the food chain. Do you think you have low self esteem?

heron98 Tue 05-Apr-16 14:18:20

No advice, as I am in the same boat.

Every single appraisal I have ever had at work says I need to "talk more" and "be more involved". Don't they see I'm trying! I am just rubbish at small talk. I never know what to say and always avoid going in the kitchen if other colleagues are in there because I just die a bit inside.

JuxtapositionRecords Tue 05-Apr-16 17:04:30

I'm the same as you op, I'm pretty socially awkward at the best of times! But over the years I have got better. Smiling a lot helps (obviously not randomly walking around smiling to yourself like a weirdo), also relaxing - don't overthink stuff and don't rethink awkward things that have happened. Don't force a conversation, lots of people aren't that good with small talk.

That's really shit that you got the sack for not making friends! angry

Itinerary Tue 05-Apr-16 18:32:31

how do you do this i don't want to be the weird quiet one all the time

It's not weird to be quiet. Don't try to be something you're not. Be yourself and people will like the real you.

defineme Tue 05-Apr-16 18:50:41

I conciously work at getting on with people. I ask lots of open questions and look really interested in their answers. I don't really talk about myself much unless they ask. Monday is easy...how was your weekend, wasn't the sunshine lovely/rain crap, did you do anything nice? Friday is easy...any plans for the weekend, don't you just love Friday, it's forecast rain/sun etc. Compliment in a specific way...gorgeous scarf, where's it from, ask specific advice...i have to get a present for ..what would you get? General tv questions. ..have you been watching the tennis/night manager whatever. Holiday plans. Diy advice. Topical news...can be difficult but most people agree Donald Trumps a twat and have an opinion on Europe.
If you have been fired for this, has it come up before? How have you got to know friends and partners?what were you like at school? Is there any situation you are comfortable in that you can transfer skills from?
Is there a possibility you have a specific special need like as that accounts for you missing social cues, being anxious abd so on...because if so there are books written by other people with as that might help.

andintothefire Tue 05-Apr-16 19:10:31

I think a lot of it is learned behaviour rather than something you are inherently good at. Confidence can definitely be taught, along with networking and client interaction techniques. It may even be worth you looking at whether there are courses you could attend? Many businesses offer them to employees but if yours doesn't then there are some short courses that might really build your confidence - not least because they will be full of people who all feel the same as you!

I also think it helps to remember that other people are also often nervous and not judging you anywhere as much as you think they are. If you can come up with a few conversational topics that can be a useful technique. Eg asking what people did at the weekend / what plans they have / talking about films can often reveal that you have much more in common with people than you think!

andintothefire Tue 05-Apr-16 19:14:04

I am not sure if it is allowed to recommend particular courses, but Impact Factory in London is very good (although not particularly cheap). I am sure there are people running similar courses around the UK.

bertsdinner Tue 05-Apr-16 20:34:31

You just sound a bit shy and are probably over thinking it. Im very quiet and can feel really shy and awkward in new situations. I know it's hard but try not to dwell on how you feel. I try not to think about how I come across, what people think ,etc as you just end up thinking negative thoughts and it makes you worse.
Even if you cant think of anything to say, just smile and try and be positive. The more you do it, the better you get.
There's also nothing wrong with being quiet, there are several quiet ones at my work and I've never heard anyone say they were weird,odd etc. So try not to worry.

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