Socialization is both like playing a game of chess and russian roulette. You think carefully, making only calculated moves. You have rehearsed your lines a few times already and you are sure they're perfect. Conscious of every minor change in facial expression and checking for cues hidden in the other person's body language you try to think of responses that are just right. But in just one moment, with one wrong word, or faulty sentence, the trigger can be pulled and the bullet is released. Now this certainly isn't the case for everyone. For many people socialization is a walk in the park. Talking comes naturally and conversing with other human beings, strangers and friends, is a simple task for them. Lucky them.
Whenever I speak with other people, no matter how short the exchange of words is, I make sure to smile and appear happy. I have an odd fear of scaring the person off and seeming unfriendly. While trying to remain conscious of how pleasant I look, the next step is to be responsive and to convey interest. The problem starts as soon as the other person finishes speaking. "What do I say? Are they done or are they about to expound on what they just said? Am I talking too much? Am I not talking enough? Should I reciprocate the question they just asked me?" and so many other questions surface in my head over the span of say 5 seconds. So with all this going on accompanied by the subtle yet constant feeling of nervousness, I try desperately to think of more things to say, but often to no avail as nothing seems interesting, important, or just worth mentioning. It's not that I don't want to talk, it's just that smiling and nodding are all I can manage at times. If only other people could see that.The same goes for starting conversations in the first place. The only reason I haven't spoken up on my own is because of a fear of coming across as annoying or bothersome to others. Plus, it will take me who knows how long to finally decide on the perfect line to kick off the conversation. And even once I do finally rehearse those lines over to myself I still have to work up the courage to actually execute the action. Trust me, it can be a process at times.
All of this changes though when talking to friends or very familiar faces. When I'm around people I'm close to, talking is as easy as reciting the alphabet. Plenty of ideas, topics, interests and comments come to mind then, so why can't they when I'm trying to communicate with someone new? Those who suffer from chronic shyness (no that is not a real disease) also struggle with letting their personality shine through to others. Because we have to feel comfortable with a person first people usually lose interest in you before they even get to know you. It takes time to get to truly know the shy. Trust me, that quiet boy who never says more than three words at a time has a wide range of interests and tons of interesting stories to share.If you took the time to speak to him and let him open up to you, you'd be surprised to find that he is not as rude or boring as you originally assumed.