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I am 34. I've only started challenging my social anxiety and becoming interested in relationships in the past few years.

About a 2 years ago, I got tired of feeling left out all the time at work so I made a decision to start talking to people. I would brainstorm. One day, I asked my coworker, "Are you in the mood for ice cream, too?" cause I'd noticed a bunch of our orders included ice cream. She gave me weird look, but answered me. Long story short, I look back on last year, and I don't like how it always felt like I was forcing things. It felt like people were tolerating me rather than enjoying talking to me.

Now there's someone at work who I think is kinda cool, but I'll say "Morning" and then not say **** for the next 6 hours to him. I don't have anything to say. I don't notice the boring(imo) things that my coworkers make small talk about.

My therapist kinda agrees with me that it's okay if I'm quiet one day and then another day want to talk. She also agrees that it might make both of us uncomfortable if I force things like last year.

My therapist also said small talk is a means to an end. Like if I wanna eventually find out someone is into video games just like me or whatever, the unpleasant small talk comes first. And that's the part I am stuck on.

Honestly, there's nothing I wanna say. Except for the constant stream of social anxiety thoughts. I also don't have much going on, I go straight home most times, don't get along with my family, I want to get a better job but have barely taken any action.

Anyone have any insight?

And I have to admit sometimes my lack of talking feels like creative block but I don't even know how to begin to address that. My conversations are very linear, I don't joke around, I don't use sarcasm.
 

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I've had times were small talk has lead nowhere and other times where I've gotten friendships out of the small talk.

Maybe practice small talk with your therapist so you can feel more confident conversing at work. There's a variety of conversation starters (weather, movies, current events, something that happened at the job, music, etc.) Just see if you can role play different scenarios.
 

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No, but I'm getting better at approaching people and filling in awkward silences with something (anything). I have a similar creative block as you do and I just can't think of things to say a lot of the time.

I find it easier now to say "hello, my name is X! I'm pleased to meet you" when confronted with strangers, or to try and fill an awkward initial silence with some sort of lame thing everybody says like "how was your weekend?". Absolute basics but things I would be too shy to do before. It does feel sometimes like I'm being tolerated rather than enjoyed, like you say. But people seem to like it when I intervene and rescue them from awkward silences by saying something, even if it is just a lame thing like "going anywhere nice on holiday?" or who knows what. I'm getting on better with people at work anyway.

There are lists of conversation starters on the internet which I have used in the past to give me some idea of things to make smalltalk about. That helps a bit with the creative block.
 

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Assuming you have friends, every friendship you had started this way. I'm in a similar position with my coworker. We are both women in our mid 20s who are sharing an office so it's a very ideal situation for me to make a friend, but I don't know how to move the relationship out of the workplace.

Usually we would start by talking about work as a lot of us are on the same projects. This actually makes forcing things kind of easy. One of us might talk about what we did over the weekend. I talked a bit about the video games I played in hopes we could game together, but she doesn't game. Eventually we found a common interest in the gym and drawing, so we can talk about that. Asking how someone's weekend was is a pretty basic and general question, but it is a way to find out if you have common interests and you can share a bit about yourself without having to force anything

Part of the reason i was so quiet in formal settings like work was because I really didn't know what was socially appropriate to talk about. But neither does anyone else, that's why they make boring comments about the weather. They want to talk about something more interesting but they have to find a way to make it to that. If you just start out with some wacky comment (like I do around my friends) you will come off as weird
 
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