Small Talk

We’re Indian. Which means that even if we don’t know someone, we kind of sort of know them. So when we run into them at social events, we have to make small talk. It’s how we socialize. It’s how we get to know people. And it’s how we make sure that it’s not awkward when we see them again.

I spent a 30 minute ride home with a family friend who I’ve known my whole life in almost complete silence. Her daughters are really good friends of mine so I asked how they were doing. And that was the end of our conversation. We just had nothing to talk about. I couldn’t even think of what to say so I just sat in silence until I reached home.

There are times I will run into people that I have met before and be at a complete loss of what to say to them. Other than the standard “how are you doing” and “what are you up to”, I have nothing to say. I know small talk comes easily to some people but I’m not sure how.

I have a cousin who once told me that she manages to start conversations by just asking people about themselves. She found that people love talking about themselves and this helped her jump start any conversation. Is it that I’m not that interested in people? Or maybe it’s just that I’m too scared to start talking about anything. Maybe I’m worried what’ll people will think of me.

It’s interesting to me that that insecurity is still around. I’m at a place that I’ve established myself. I know who I am. And if I say something that everyone doesn’t like, should I even worry that much about it? I am well aware that everyone might not like me at this stage in life.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve done my job making new friends over my whole life and now, it’s harder. Now, we really have to make an effort to know someone else. Now, we have to try to find common ground that isn’t just provided to us. Before, we made friends of circumstance. We went to school with someone, they lived near us, we were in the same social group outside of school. It takes a lot to pass the insecurity we might have in order to make new friends.

Now, we have to work at it, especially if it’s a situation where you are truly there just to make friends. You have to put yourself out there. You have to find a way to make the small talk so that you can really get to know the people that you meet.

Small talk. Fun, huh?

Social Anxiety

The idea of walking into a room full of strangers and having to talk to them scares the crap out of me. I’m assuming it’s because they might not like me. There are people who can go anywhere and will walk out with a room full of friends. I have one friend who I have gone out with in the past and she will know everyone in the place by the time she leaves. I know someone else that somehow manages to get to know everyone and has no trouble (at least that I can see) talking to anyone at anytime.

I wish I had that ability. I moved recently and while I am still in touch with my friends, I do have make new ones that are geographically closer. I haven’t had to make new friends in years. A lot of the people I have become friends with in the last few years I have met through other friends or through doing activities. I find that much easier than having to make friends without any type of familiarity in the process.

How many of us go through this social anxiety? I’d like to think it’s normal to feel this way. So how do those other people do it? How are they able to just talk to anyone? I honestly have to psych myself up when I know I’m meeting a group of new people for the first time. I have to convince myself that they will like me for me and that the worst that can happen is that I don’t talk to them again. I’m in my early thirties so I really should be over the idea that everyone has to like me.

I wonder where this fear comes from. Is it based on doubts of ourselves? Am I just not sure who I am? Is something else? I was never very popular. I always had my group of friends but I was definitely a nerd. I do feel as though I was judged while growing up for not being “cool”. Maybe this tag has remained with me as I’ve grown up and regardless of what I have done in my life, I will always feel like I’m not quite accepted for who I am.

I also wonder if the people who make it look so easy to just blend into a group also feel the social anxiety. Is it something that everyone go through whenever they step into a new situation? Or are there just people who are completely at ease no matter who they are talking to or any new place they go?

What is the secret to get rid of the social anxiety?

Friendships Come and Go: Just Make Sure the Good Ones Stay

I had a dream last night about a bunch of people I had made friends with in college. It was interesting because I haven’t spoken to those people in years. I have no idea why they appeared in my dreams but it did bring up old memories even within my dreams. It reminded me of why I left that school to join another school back in my home city.

They say blood is thicker than water but when your parents have migrated from a different country, that means that it’s possible that your family might not have ended up in the same place you have. It also means that you have to surround yourself with people that will become your family even if they aren’t related.

I’ve spoken about this in a previous post regarding the people I’ve grown up with. Now I want to talk about it with regards to those people we meet along the way.

When we enter new situations, we have to find people who make us feel at home. We have to find like-minded people who we can depend on, who we can trust, who we grow with. Sometimes, this doesn’t happen.  In those cases, we have to walk away. We can’t put ourselves in a spot where we feel bad about ourselves.

Situations come and go so what we need out of friends change. But no matter what the situation, we should feel like we can really depend on those people that are there at the time. But when we can’t find those people, it makes it hard for us to really thrive in that situation.

The only thing we can do then is change our situation so that we can find those people. As independent as we want to be, we need people that love us around us. For whatever reason, that’s not always possible. It is our job to try to find those people and keep them around us. It’s our job to appreciate them and make sure that we do our best to make sure the friendship lasts. Good people are hard to find and when we do, we shouldn’t take it for granted.

The Need to Be Right

Why is it that we have to be so sure that we know what we are doing all the time? Why is it that we have to always have the final word in a discussion or have to prove that we have all of the correct information? Why do we have this need to be right?

When I was younger, I definitely was like this all of the time. I don’t know if I was trying to prove something about myself or what the deal was. I would argue and fight and make sure everyone knew that I had the best opinion on whatever the situation was. I did learn and grow out of it even though there are times when this part of my personality still comes out. 

I’ve watched other people do this over and over again. There are those who manage to involve themselves in other people’s lives or who will walk away from a good thing just because they believe they are right. I honestly think it’s fine to fight for what you believe in. But why do we have to fight when it’s not something that definitely needs change? I used to fight over which movie actors were the best or what songs were good. I don’t think this is a discussion that needs to be rehashed 100 times to prove that I’m right. 

So what’s the deal then? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we fight uselessly when it’d be just as easy to let things go? Is it our ego? Is it that we have to prove that we are smarter or more knowledgeable to others? Why can’t we accept that we are all human and there is a chance that we might not know everything? 

I think it’s important to accept that there might be value in what someone else thinks and says. It’s important to keep an open mind and realize that we might not know everything. I think there are some fights not worth fighting. Sometimes, letting things go helps us protect ourselves from getting hurt when someone else forces their opinion onto us. Separating yourself takes the emotion out of a situation that might not be worth it. Giving someone else the time to express themselves might teach us something new. 

There are some fights worth fighting and some that are not. Sometimes, our own peace of mind is better than any fight. 

Taking the Risk

Have you ever had something that terrified you beyond belief but it’s something that would not leave your mind? Maybe it’s your mind and guts’ way of telling you that it needs to happen no matter how much it goes against logic. I’ve learned to trust my gut over the years but in reality, I’m still terrified whenever I make a big decision, especially since I know that the effects are way beyond me. 

Everything is a risk. Life is a risk. The only way to know if you can do something is by trying. The worst that can happen is you fail. And as scary as that sounds, it sounds even scarier to me to be in a place where you’re unhappy. 

Amazing things happen when people take risks. Everything innovative in the world was created through a vision and a dream. Knowing that helps when taking risks. Some of the best things that have ever happened to me were born out of leaving a miserable situation. 

I understand familiarity. Usually, that’s the reason I don’t quit things even if it’s for the better. It’s nice to be around consistency and familiarity. It’s nice to know that things are good. As long as they are good. As soon as they stop being good, there is an issue. That’s when change is needed. 

I wonder how many people actually do take the risk and make the change when needed. Do people tend to stay in their current situations because they are scared or do they take the leap and believe everything will be okay?