Do strangers strike up conversation with you? - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Do strangers strike up conversation with you?

Iím in a transitional part of my life where over one month ago I left a job. I have not had the motivation, confidence or emotional wellness to try to find work again. I did have an opportunity to interview for one job that I applied for a few weeks ago but changed my mind and did not go because at that point it had been weeks since I had human interaction and did not want my first interaction to be in a job interview.

My question is whether it is typical for everyday people you encounter outside to never try initiate a conversation with you? Or is it just something about me? People usually meet other people through work or school, but do people ever meet friends just going about their day? The only people that interact with me are ones that ask for directions or money. I feel like I notice everyone around me but I am invisible to them unless they need something from me, or if I am in their way.

I donít hide out in my room and spend a good amount of time out in the city. Parks, libraries, coffee shops, malls, farmers markets, commercial districts... Yet months can pass and I donít meet anyone. Going to a meet-up is something Iíve considered to break the isolation but it would be too uncomfortable.

Is it up to me to approach people if I want to break the isolation?

Even though I am self conscious when interacting, I am not closed off and do try to emit a pleasant energy to people. I guess Iím just trying to confirm that thereís something different about me which people donít want to interact with and that normal people regularly meet and interact with other people all the time.
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post #2 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 08:23 PM
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I don't really hang around strangers but sometimes people ask for directions or I'll make a joke of I see a dog do something funny and they'll reply and give a little laugh.
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post #3 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 01:41 AM
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I think that's pretty normal. It kind of sucks to be around people and still feel isolated, but i think most people are just minding their own business and it's pretty rare to start a conversation with a stranger with no specific reason for it.

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post #4 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 03:14 PM
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Very rarely, but when someone does then I'm not happy about it, because it is not on right time, or just something that I not gonna like being said... I don't prefer to talk with strangers in general, except it is needed and not just some pointless blahs...

Even shy people can be sassy sometimes...
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post #5 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 03:16 PM
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Every single time I walk to the shop someone asks me if I want to buy drugs and it's always a different person lol does that count? Sometimes people will talk to me if I'm in a queue or something and a lot of random people ask why I look so sad lol. When I was in a psychiatric hospital people would always try and talk to me but I was super anxious.
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post #6 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 05:24 PM
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My Two-Cents

I don't actively go out seeking interaction with other people.

However, I have had people converse with me out of the blue and I usually find it annoying because I don't like petty small-talk (especially with strangers).

That being said, I don't "hide out" in my room 'cause that's the only thing to do. If I could, I'd be going out pretty often. The fact is, I don't need to go out nor can I afford to go out every day.

The only option I see when it comes to "breaking the silence" is initiating a conversation yourself or attending something where you're likely to find someone to talk to you.

To ease your mind: I personally don't have strangers coming up to me at random every single day. It will occasionally happen every now and then but it's not a pattern nor is it all the same.

ďThough I have always made it my practice to be pleasant to everybody, I have not once actually experienced friendship. I have only the most painful recollections of my various acquaintances ..."
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post #7 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 05:31 PM
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I'm probably in the minority in that I'm an introvert and I love small talk with people.

The only thing is I suck at it and people don't seem to approach me.

From what I gather, it depends on the area you are. Some places have surprisingly very friendly people (like the South). Others are more cold and distant and it takes a while for you to get to know them (like in some major cities).

I would try volunteering part time some place. That way you're comfortably working on something external, but have a chance to chat people up.
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post #8 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 10:11 PM
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Yeah this happens sometimes but only at school and work. Random people might start talking to me, idk why. Not that I'm against it, but it's not like I look friendly or anything
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post #9 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 11:15 PM
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I think location is a big part of it, people might be merely likely to strike up a convo with a stranger in certain regions or in small towns or cities whereas in big cities people tend to keep to themselves because you just never know who might be a crazy so itís a sort of safety precaution.

Personally I donít go out of my way to make small talk unless Iím working cash at work. I also donít find strangers randomly chatting me up either
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post #10 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 11:22 PM
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no, no one does. i give off closed off vibes. i avoid people. no one at work talks to me, no one i live with talks to me. i am pretty much a ghost, and i do it on purpose.

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post #11 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 11:32 PM
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People do this to me quite a bit. I think it's because I often walk around with a sort of half-smile on my face. This guy did it again today at the library - he started talking while he was still behind me and I couldn't even see him - he was telling me the movie I was looking at was quite a good one. I have a feeling he might have been gay though - so that's a bit different.
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post #12 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 12:37 AM
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Not really. People don't really do that where I'm from.

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post #13 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 12:43 AM
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post #14 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 02:23 AM
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No, people almost never talk to me. I recently had a drunk guy harass me, but he wasn't talking coherently. And then I think he tried to run me over. (True story. Though I'm not sure he was the one driving.)

When my anxiety wasn't as bad, and I was much younger, I was like you. I spent hours every day in coffee shops, libraries, bookstores, and generally out walking the streets, surrounded by people. I did that for about 10 years. I've always been friendly, and smile at people (mostly to assure them that I Come In Peace) and I don't recall a single person ever approaching me for conversation (with certain exceptions*). The only people who said anything at all were the people running the checkout.

Those exceptions being: drunk people harassing me; panhandlers asking for change; and people trying to buy weed off me (I've never even bought it myself, but I guess I 'look' like someone who'd get stoned). Also: the one time the police questioned me because they thought I was a suspect in a crime.

Based on my experience, you will die of old age before someone will do the approaching for you. So I recommend you find a way to do it yourself.

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post #15 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 02:28 AM
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Not really. Occasionally the checkout people will comment on the stuff we buy. Which is rather strange.

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post #16 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 03:32 AM
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I was thinking about this, cause it happens with me alot.ppl always say i look angry or unapprochable...and i feel like im quite the opposite. So i think it all depends on your body language and how you present yourself.

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post #17 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses ⒽⓤⒼ♥

I guess I should not expect any meaningful meetings with people when I go outside since it seems like itís pretty standard that people donít spontaneously talk to unknown people.

I remember when I had my first job 6 years ago and previous to working Iíd been socially isolated for months and months, then suddenly I was wearing a uniform and people were coming up to me and I was having to interact with them.

Iím not in school or working so Iím not in a situation where I could easily meet people. Back when I was in high school I was dealing with so much stuff mentally that even opportunities to socialize I turned down. I am so much more open to socializing now and wish I had help with anxiety/depression back then so I could have made friends; I didnít know Iíd be this alone at my current age.

The best way I have found to get to meet people is staying at hostels when traveling. Being in a dorm with several other people (esp single/non-grouped people who are also traveling) people WILL talk to you and even form friendships. I think if people lived more communally we would have more reason to interact with one another.
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post #18 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 03:37 AM
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No. I give off an intimidating vibe.
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post #19 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 05:21 AM
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post #20 of 38 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 06:53 AM
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Yes. Sometimes at traffic lights, carpark, etc.

Sometimes women, men are concerned and ask if ok. Or mention something on their mind.

Just the way it is here with that behaviour (friendly people).

Sometimes seems like some women are flirting.

Do have some bad eggs, but get that anywhere in the world.
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