Not sure if this is the right place to ask this question, but here we go. In my college I like talking to people and making connections. I think I am an extrovert. Sometimes when I talk with other students I like to say “hey, how are you?” with a big smile. A lot of people just respond with a smile and they don’t reply back. Yesterday I asked two people how their vacations went, they barely said anything and just smiled a little bit. They didn’t ask me how my vacations went.

I live in the northern part of Italy. I don’t know these students very well. We go to the same classes and we sit almost next to each other, we know each other's names and have said exchanged greetings like 'hi' a few times. I don’t hang out with them outside of class. This happens quite often with the same people (pretty much every time). These people are very outgoing with the group they hang out with. But they kind of shy away when they leave third group.

I’d like to know how to get to know these people, so how to do so when they don’t respond to greetings the way I would expect them to?

  • Hi Cesare! It might be worthwhile adding a bit more context, such as more on who you were talking to, how often it happens, how well you know the other people, what country/culture this is happening in, etc. It could be possible it's less to do with you being loud and more them being less willing to chat.
    – user8671
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 7:51
  • Hello, I am not sure what you mean by "Too loud" and I am also unsure what you are asking for. Can you specify what exactly do you need help with? Is it How can you approach people better, How can you get included in a certain group of people? or something else. The more specific you are the better.
    – Ontamu
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 7:53
  • @Ontamu Thanks, I’ve updated my question. I hope it’s specific enough.
    – Cesare
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 7:55
  • 1
    @Cesare, you did but unfortunately you asked something very opinion based and also "What should I do?". Both are considered not on topic for the site. You can take a look at the help center for some guidance on how to form your question so it fits the site and people can help you
    – Ontamu
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 7:57
  • 1
    Yes, exactly. We both know are names @Tinkeringbell, I don’t think we’ve introduced each other formally though. I think we’ve just exchanged hi multiple times and names
    – Cesare
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 11:30

4 Answers 4


It is pretty common that people considers everyone from outside their friends circle as strangers. As such, it may be uncommon to have small talk/interactions with strangers that go beyond necessary communication. It may also be that you are too forward and they feel oppressed even if your intentions are kind.

It seems that in your situation, you should first try to befriend those people by referring to what you have in common (since you are going to the same class, you can start discussing it), rather than go with random "hello, how are you?".

  • 1
    Hi Nat! The original question of 'am I being too loud' was put on-hold and edited. The question is now asking 'how to get to know people better, when they don't respond to my greetings like I'd expect them to?'. Your second paragraph seems to already answer this, but could you elaborate it? Explain why asking about stuff they have in common is a good idea and should work? For example, the best answers are written from experience, have you had succes with this, how did you do it?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 11:41
  • 1
    As it is, your answer is very close to saying 'try this', which aren't great answers as they don't explain how or why to do what you're suggesting, and it may be deleted because of it if the question is reopened.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 11:42
  • Thanks @Tinkeringbell for helping to improve this question.
    – Cesare
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 18:05

As a mostly introverted person, i do not know the names of colleagues i have had courses with for over two years and i am okay with it. For you it may be the most natural thing to ask someone how the vacation went, for someone not as outgoing as you it is a bit blunt, like asking you out of the blue "how is your love life?".

Now to the getting to know them part of your question:

Start slowly, you can jump in with the topic of your lecture, the weather, it does not really matter, just nothing personal and do not expect a long answer. Smiling is a good sign, even if their answer is not as you expect it.


Ask them for a favor. Since you're in class together, ask for their help on an easy question in class. For example, a due date on an assignment or a topic brought up previously in class. Most people like to help other people. It makes them feel good. Do this a few times. Thank them profusely.

Then after a question on class, start introducing little conversational gambits based on what you happen to have overheard them say to their friends. Don't be obvious that you've been eavedropping, that's creepy. Just if you've heard them talking about a football game they've seen ask about one of the players on the team. Something like that. Or talk about the weather, the professor, the town. Something safe that everyone has an opinion on. Or compliment them on something.

What you're doing is helping break down the conversational barriers that exist between strangers. For many people it's hard to jump from pleasantries to conversation with a stranger because they don't know them. Allow them to get to know you.

On the other hand, if they reject your conversational advances, they're not going to be friends. Look for other people.


Is there any particular reason why you want a friendship with these specific people?

If not, I would say, move and try to befriend others. Friendly overtures are simply not going to work on everyone. Maybe they don't want to socialize where they go to school, maybe they're too busy to socialize--who knows?

If you do badly want to get to know these specific people, then you may want to observe who they are friendly with, and see if you can get a more formal introduction. I know that I'm not very comfortable with strangers who try to talk to me, even if those strangers have something in common with me, like work or a class. So you may need to make a connection through someone who is not a stranger to them.

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