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It’s hard to get to know people

Hi! I’m a 16-year-old guy, and I’m writing because I find it hard to really get to know people.
I’ve got a lot of friends at church, but they are mostly just friends in a group. We are friends when we’re there, but not otherwise. I do have some good friends at church, but we don’t go to the same school, and they never have time to get together.
I also feel quite embarrassed to be me. I feel that its’s hard to talk to people, or to find things to talk about. I’ve only got one friend who I’m never embarrassed to talk to, and he’s not a Christian although we do have the same hobby, so we can talk about that.
I don’t really know anyone at my school, all the Christians I know go to a Christian school, so I feel a bit left out there too. I don’t know any other Christians at my school.
So my question is really this: how do you talk to people? I suppose it sounds like a strange question, but I find it difficult. I’m also worried about how to find a wife when it comes to that. It feels like I’m never able to make a good connection with people.
I’m not in a rush, but I just want to find out as I’m a bit nervous about it.

Hi 16-year-old guy,

It is very hard to feel that it is difficult to make friends with people, or to talk to people we don’t know so well. It can be hard to find out what we should say, as we don’t know that much about the people, and we don’t even know if we have anything in common.

Getting to know people is about personality, and about how secure you are in yourself, and how extrovert you are. We are all so different!  Some people are quiet and shy, while others are sociable and find it easy to make contact with people and talk with new people. Some people prefer, and talk more, in a group, while others become very quiet in group settings, but they prefer to talk to one or two people at a time.

You have to be willing to give of yourself in order to make friends. You have to dare to open up and let people know the real you. It is a bit of a risk to tell other people about your interests, hobbies and opinions as they might not have anything in common with you. However, closeness to others is all about daring to let others come near you and being able to handle differences.

You said that you have a lot to talk about with your friend because you have common interests. It’s definitely easier to talk to people who are interested in the same things as you are, but it can be just as interesting to talk to people with other interests.  Try to show that you’re interested in the people you’re talking to and try to get to know them while talking to them. If you don’t know what they’re interested in, or if you have anything in common, try to find out by asking them. You can ask them if they’re going to the cinema at the weekend, and which film they’ll see, or ask them if they’re going to a football match, or if they watch football on the TV, which clubs they support, if they play FIFA, or anything else that you are interested in. It’s all about finding out what to ask and then one question can lead to the next, and then you start off a conversation. It is not only one person’s responsibility to lead it, maybe the other person doesn’t know exactly what they should talk about; they’ll be happy if you bring up topics to talk about. That’s a way to make friends and get to know each other better: ask questions, and find out what interests and hobbies you have in common. 

We would encourage you not to leave the situation, even though you find it hard to talk. Take the opportunity to talk a little. Smile, act kindly towards them, and tell yourself that if you are positive and approachable, then they will act in the same way towards you.

It really isn’t necessary to be very talkative, a lot of people like it when people are a bit quieter or shy. The most important thing is that you are relaxed and comfortable with yourself, and with others. If you like yourself, the others will like you too.

When you get nervous or feel bound in a situation, it can often be because negative thoughts bind you. In this case it can be a good idea to find out which thoughts you are actually thinking, so that you can ‘reprogramme’ yourself to think positively. For example, if you think that you’re not good enough, then it will be all the harder to find something to talk about. You will have to work on this, so that you can have faith in yourself. Speak positively to yourself every day; tell yourself that you can do this!

A negative thought can be broken down by using some questions, resulting in the negative thought being exchanged for helpful thoughts. For example: Is there a better way to think? Are there other thoughts that are more probable? Is there another thought that would be more helpful to think?

Perhaps instead of thinking ‘I can‘t do this’, you could think, ‘I know I can do this’, or ‘It’s fine to be a bit quiet and shy’; ‘Everyone doesn’t need to talk a lot’; ‘I’ve got something smart to say’; ‘I’ve got lots of ideas and opinions’; ‘Short conversations can also be good’; ‘I’m also a kind person, so I should let the others get to know me’. Remember, the more you practice, the better you will get at it.

You can also read:

It's hard to know what to say 

To love is to be vulnerable 

Best wishes, boyandgirl.info

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