Social distancing for months means we have nothing to say.
Sure, many people are still working, but interacting at the office is much different than popping into video calls here and there. There’s less gossip, drama, and conflict going around (which is great!). But that also means that there’s less for us to tell our friends and family.
Sure, we’re doing virtual happy hours, but due to a lack of real-world experiences, we don’t have much to say from one day to the next. I mean, my Monday was the same as my Saturday. I cleaned my house, watched Netflix, and skyped with my family. What about you?
That’s usually the extent of my conversations these days.
When I moved here, I imagined that my first summer in Europe would be packed with travels to Germany, France, and Italy. I was looking forward to attending outdoor festivals. Boating on the canals. Seeing the tulip fields. And so on.
All experiences that would have given me so much ammunition for conversations.
Thinking about this made me realize that the fear of making conversation (as introverts) is directly associated with how much we believe we have to say. If we spend most of our time in our own company and we don’t want to “put ourselves out there” for various reasons, making conversation with someone new will be an ordeal unlike any other.
And by putting ourselves out there, I don’t mean going out to bars and talking to strangers, but going out in the wild and experiencing life outside of our own cocoon. Running into people and observing the world. Those are all things we can bring back into a conversation with someone.
I know sometimes it feels overwhelming to put on jeans and walk out the door when you’d rather cozy up and read a book, but I promise you’re going to do yourself a humongous favor by piling on different experiences in the long run.
Not just for your own sanity (being part of something bigger), but because next time someone talks about a particular topic, you can create distinct associations with things you’ve personally seen or done that are related to it.
You won’t feel as anxious when you meet someone new when you’re networking, or when you’re walking with a friend.
So when all these measures are relaxed, go out with confidence and say yes to events, invitations, and outings (whether on your own or with people). Pile on as many experiences as you can and then go back to your cocoon. Enjoy the best of both worlds knowing that it will help you each time you start a new conversation with someone.
Else if you don’t, you’ll still nothing to say.