What advice would you give in making new friends? As an introverted person, I find it difficult to open up to new people and am always unsure of how to start a conversation without being awkward. I feel like asking questions on hobbies and ice breakers can sometimes be uncomfortable and lead to forced conversations. Any advice on how to start conversations or get closer to people without too much awkwardness?

haha i can relate to this... small talk is tiring ("the weather is so nice today" "what are you studying?" "cool! i'm studying X Y Z"). as a fellow introvert, i hate to tell you this, but awkward conversations are inevitable. you're not going to immediately click with everyone, and it's unrealistic to have that expectation because people come from different backgrounds. some people may not be comfortable yet opening up to others, too. perhaps they were trained to keep their feelings to themselves, perhaps they have a hard time trusting people, perhaps they're awkward too and are learning how to make friends—the list is endless, and their previous experiences may have shaped them and their personality in a profound way. ice breakers and small talk are necessary, but personally i find random details about a person fascinating. isn't it cool to know where they're from? or what they find fun? or why they do what they do? those details actually reveal a lot more than you think about someone, and who knows, you may find a commonality.

re: how to start conversations. sometimes you just need to stop overthinking and go for it. trust yourself. i tend to get in my head a lot, and i realized that was one of my biggest barriers (among several other reasons). but if you want more practical advice: grab a meal with them if you're more into one-on-one, attend events and set a concrete goal (e.g. "i'm going to talk to two/three/five people there"), prepare questions beforehand, be persistent in following up, and don't be afraid to be authentic. it's scary to put yourself out there, but the good ones will stay with you. and for some of my closest friends today, we didn't start out with sparks. our first conversations were awkward. and i guess you should ask yourself along the way what kind of person you want to be and who you want to be friends with. you're a sum of those closest to you, for better or for worse. and sometimes you can't control the way(s) your friendships form. it all takes time.

and if some people don't want to talk to you, screw them! (yes, rude people exist.) there's so many fish in the sea. and we're all learning how to make and keep friendships, myself included, so you're not alone in this.

best of luck :) always here to listen and offer more tips. i can go on more about friendships, but don't want the post to get too long. let me know how your experience goes please!

Hopeful Horse, 2/22/2020 1:05pm