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Old 02-26-2008, 11:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Icebreakers?

You ever go out with a friend and your friend brings along one of their friends. Now fast forward and say you're all eating at a restaurant for example, but it could be anywhere, and the mutual friend leaves to use the bathroom. Now it's just you two sitting there. Anyone know some good ice breakers to start a convo, besides how did you meet him/her?

One of my problems is that I can't think of anything to say so I just sit there feeling like an idiot and you get the awkward silence until the mutual friend comes back. So any good pointers would help thanks!
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Icebreakers?

Being here in Arizona, I tend to always ask "Where are you from?" Or "Where did you grow up?" It's always a good way to start, as nearly everyone here is from somewhere else.

You could also say, "How long have you known so and so (Your mutual friend who went to the bathroom)" or ask where and how they met if you don't already know.
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Old 02-26-2008, 11:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Icebreakers?

I've had this happen. With 3 people you don't have to carry the conversation 100%, you can just make the occasional comment. But you still have to show you are part of the group (you can't look like a silent bump on a log). But when 1 person leaves you feel like you are more on the spot and anxiety sets in as you feel like every second that goes by without you saying something at least mildy interesting is further proof of how socially incompetent you are. The other person can be just as quiet as you but you assume it is due to his being bored or uncomfortable with you alone. Then your friend comes back from the bathroom and you are relieved of some of the stress but have to deal with the damage to your ego.
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Old 02-26-2008, 12:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Icebreakers?

mmmhmmm I tend to follow interesting, off-the-beat news. My favorite is http://www.livescience.com but MSNBC news and USA Today always have random, funny stories.
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Old 02-26-2008, 12:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Icebreakers?

You pretty much hit the nail on the head Kevco. Thanks for the tips guys.
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Old 02-26-2008, 12:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Icebreakers?

I would go with the "where are you from?","or what kind of work do you do?"
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Old 02-26-2008, 01:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Icebreakers?

Oh I hate that kind of situation. I usually wait for the other person to start talking, if they don't I try to make a comment about the place or weather.
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Old 02-29-2008, 10:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Icebreakers?

Just ask questions, usually a conversation can be formed from a well placed question or two. Use the day, time and things around you to help think of questions. For example, if it's near the end of the day, ask if they have any plans after work or whatever. If it's Friday, ask if they have any plans for the weekend. If it's Monday, ask if they did anything interesting over the weekend. You get the idea.
If someone thinks you're a bit nosey, which they won't if your questions are just gentle small talk, I tend to go with the 'I just think you're interesting' line, which seems to go over pretty well, at least with the ladies.

Generally, I tend to keep a small bank of stories in my head which are almost guaranteed to be interesting or funny that I can drop into conversations or use to start them. If you vaguely keep up with the news or read some half interesting websites then you should be able to get your own bank of stories.

I also carry around a moleskine notebook which I use to save funny/interesting thoughts, write down ideas, jokes, and other things that I may want to use socially. At first your conversations might feel slightly robotic and unnatural, but gradually as you get more confident with that person or with yourself everything will be a bit more fluid, at least thats how it seems with me.

One big problem that I find social anxiety causes is the over analysis and obsessive thinking that hinders normal sociability. If you focus too much on something then it is hard to appear natural and normal, causing you to focus on it more and a horrible cycle ensues. Therefore I find that if you start off being methodical by memorising stories, carrying a notebook with social stuff in, asking lots of questions etc, eventually you will become more confident and stop focusing so much on the conversation, with enough time and practice conversations will start flowing and you will become less and less anxious. Sorry if this post has become a rambling mess of incoherency, but I have been thinking and applying a lot of these techniques lately and I really think they help.

Although I am still very much under the titanium grip of SA, I think I can atleast hold a reasonably comfortable conversation with most people and I think I am definitely improving thanks to these steps. I'm not exactly sure how I will beat this thing, but these are pretty much my first steps towards ridding myself of anxiety. By 2010 I plan on being a stone cold psychopath who is impervious to all anxiety. I will eat through criticism and anxiety like most people eat cornflakes.

I will kill social anxiety.
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