I am a quiet person. That is not to say that I never speak. On the contrary, when I know someone well, I can carry on enlightening serious conversations with friends. These very same people cannot, however, believe that I am quiet, because I can talk to them. I suppose I could be called a shy extrovert, because I enjoy a good conversation maybe more than anything else. I find nothing more rewarding than to just sit and talk with a friend.

The reason that I do not like to talk with strangers or when I am first talking to someone, is that I want to avoid embarrassment by saying something offensive to that person. That problem is easily avoidable after I know more about a person and their beliefs.

I know I am a quiet introverted person, and I do not need someone else to tell me that. How awkward is it if someone comes up to you and says "You don't talk much." I mean, what is an appropriate answer which avoids embarrassment? I welcome someone who wants to come up and talk to me. How else am I going to get to know you? Just please don't center the conversation around my introversion. We can save that for later.

To talk to a quiet person like myself, you should start the conversation. Keep on talking for a minute, and let me get comfortable with you. After a minute or two, I will probably open up to you. Don't go expecting a radical change. It is a gradual process. Don't rush it. I can almost guarantee that if you give a quiet person time they will open up to you. In a lot of cases we are like an oyster, if you open us up, you are likely to find a pearl inside.

It should be noted that the notable exception to this advice are those people suffering from a serious antisocial personality disorder. They can be dangerous and are best left alone.

NOTE: This node was originally written in response to another node that was deleted, and intended to be read after the previous, deleted, node. I may have to remove this node in the future. It doesn't make sense without the context of the deleted node. - IWSTF

The art of conversation implies that there is some interest on your part in the other person. Anxieties of the shy are typically centered on the belief that they have to say correct things to others. This is a factual error. Most people are not interested in what you are saying. Most people only want to be given an opportunity to shine in conversation. Good conversation, then, is not the art of saying the correct thing, but asking good questions.

"What are you studying?"

"How did you decide to come here to study?"

"How long have you known your boyfriend/girlfriend?"

"Where did you meet?"

It is hugely liberating to realize that others don't care about you. It is hugely liberating to know that they care mostly about themselves. Most don't get a chance to talk about themselves. When they do, they are grateful to you, the asker of good questions. This knowledge makes it immensely easier to make conversation than many people suspect.

it all gets back to Zen. Become as an empty boat, and everyone will be your friend.

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