I am a male freshman in university, and don't have many friends as my modules are mostly taught in a flipped classroom fashion.

There is a module I'm taking right now and since I have been struggling academically for awhile now, I am always the last of my tutorial group to vacate the venue due to the huge amount of questions I have regarding the material.

There is this particular guy who always comes early but is from the next tutorial group that shares the same tutor. We have met a few times as the seating arrangement in class is pretty much fixed and he is always waiting for me to pack up. He has started a conversation a few times like "How do you find this module?" and I kept making my conversations short, firstly because I should get going in my situation, secondly because I do not really know this guy as a friend or even an acquaintance, thirdly it's because I'm an introvert who often finds continuing usual conversations difficult, much more for awkward ones with strangers. We didn't even exchange names but he always talks as if we know each other. The only commonality we share is perhaps having the same tutor and having the same seat, in different time slots.

In the event of such similar encounters, what would be the appropriate action?

  • This site is for questions where you already know to some degree the outcome and people can help you how to get there. What an outcome of a situation should be is up to you to decide and we can't answer that for you. Maybe think about what you would like the outcome to be e.g. befriend the person, be left alone etc. – Hakaishin Oct 17 '18 at 10:21

Do you feel uncomfortable with this smalltalk?

You don't like it

Then keep saying trivial things like "yes I like it" and leave, you have a reason to leave and noone can feel insulted if you don't keep talking.

You like it

I am someone who also can't create interesting smalltalk out of nowhere. There is no sense in trying to do smalltalk like a pro if you don't feel like one. Listen to some smalltalk that people do, a lot could simply be left unsaid without any harm to the world :-)
I see perfect conditions in this situation for you to talk to this person because

  • You have a common subject. If you discuss questions after class when he comes in, he can share this conversation. "Do you have the same class now?" or "What do you think?" easily involves him.
  • As you should leave and he starts his new class, there is not endless time left. There is no pressure for you to keep a conversation going on and on... If you run out of words, say "ok see you next time" and leave.

If somewhen you feel like talking more to him and he really shares the same class then ask if he has more time to continue.
Find a defined subject to talk, for example what you started to talk when time cut you off. Perhaps you can explain things to each other about class that one of you didn't understand.
If your schedule allows find a short break after which you have to leave again, this provides a reason to "escape" and reduces awkward moments for you. Then you will see how things evolve.

Never forget: if this doesn't lead to a new "friedship" - that's life, not your fault. Then things are the same as they are now - not worse.

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