I have a dinner with friends from university and I don't know what to talk about with them or how to participate in the conversations they are having. I feel that I can't just say what comes to my mind because I feel that it is something weird. I am worried that if I say something they will think that I am weird but on the other hand I think that when they notice that I don't talk they will think that I am weird and it makes me very anxious.

The dinner is with my boyfriend that I am comfortable with, but not so much with the rest of them. I want to feel part of the group but I don't know how.

  • As written this is a rather broad question that seems to focus more on your fear of being weird than any particular interpersonal skill. Can you be more specific about the challenges that you face when talking socially with strangers?
    – sphennings
    Jul 22, 2018 at 20:12
  • Welcome to IPS. That sounds like a good problem to ask about here, but we need more specifics. For example, you can provide more example problems: "how do i talk about X (my hobby) with complete strangers" or "how to start casual conversation with people i just met" Jul 22, 2018 at 23:05

2 Answers 2


This answer is ment as an addition to mutt's anser, which I think is really good. Mutt's answer is a good strategy for how to talk to people, but it could also be useful to have strategies for how to be quiet.

Basically, I would say that there are two very different ways of being quiet in social situations: the "uninterested quiet" and the "interested quiet". By uninterested quiet I mean that you behave in a way that signals that you don't really want to be there, for example by playing with your phone or not listening to the conversations. This behaviour is likely to be percieved as rude or socially awkward.

By "interested quiet" I mean that you behave in a way that signals that you enjoy the company and conversations. You can do this by following the conversations: look att the one who is talking, laugh, smile, sigh, etc. when appropriate. If you want to you can add comments, but you don't need to. The important thing is that you show that you enjoy the situation. This way people is likely to enjoy your company, even if you're quiet, because you've shown them you enjoy theirs.


Learn to ask questions that other people are interested in. Pay attention to details about others and ask them about themselves. This shows interest and concern for others, you clearly are engaging in conversation, and it keeps the conversation on a level others are comfortable with.

This will leave others feeling good about the interaction even if you don’t say much. Anyone who truly wants to get to know you will return the favor and ask you questions as well, otherwise they will be happy at the opportunity to talk about themselves to someone who is interested.

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