Many people find that making new connections, especially with those to whom you may be attracted to, can feel overwhelming. However, from adolescents and adults, making these social connections can be vitally important to one’s social and emotional development. Learning how to enjoy talking to boys, or anyone, can help one to foster more fulfilling relationships, and enhance their quality of life. It’s also a learned soft skill that can also have positive implications in the workplace.
Below, we’re covering possible roadblocks to forming meaningful connections and ways to make a conversation with a guy (or anyone else) easier. You may find the tips in this article helpful, especially if your goal is to foster conversational opportunities and understand the role that therapy can play in practicing conversational skills.
Why Talking To Boys Might Be Difficult
For some, being able to talk to a guy may not be a skill they possess due to the fact that they may have limited experience doing so. This can be especially prevalent for those in younger age brackets who may find it hard to stay relaxed while talking to someone they view as a love interest. Dating can be an intimidating prospect for many.
Young people generally are experiencing the world for the first time, and may be lacking certain experience in social contexts that can make communication easier. Some may still be learning the “rules” or social norms of interaction, which can result in misunderstandings during the first conversation you have with someone. This lack of knowledge about societal norms may also lead you to feel awkward which, while normal, can be uncomfortable or discouraging. It can make it difficult to start a conversation, break the ice, and maintain eye contact.
Beyond this, those who identify as woman, man, or nonbinary may have different communication styles. According to a 2016 study, when comparing the conversations surrounding emotional problems of those who identified as women to those who identified as men, it was found that while both genders are relatively equally effective at resolving issues, they resolve them in completely different ways.
Those who identified as women in the study tended to solve their problems through empathetic active listening — offering supportive statements, asking follow-up questions, etcetera — while many guys tended to solve problems through humor and more negative statements. There was no mention of nonbinary people or other genders in the key takeaways of the study (or any other section), so more research is still needed to understand the variation of communication within a broader context.
Beyond communication differences, you may find it difficult to talk to people if you experience social anxiety disorder, which can cause an intense, disruptive and persistent fear of social situations and interactions. Anxiety disorders can change how you interact with the world as a whole, which may directly impact your relationships whether or not you have been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder specifically. This specific type of disorder-related symptom usually isn’t based in reality, but can feel incredibly real — and may cause you to seek out social interactions less or actively avoid them.
How To Chat With A Boy
If you’re looking to talk to someone you have a genuine interest in romantically, or simply make more social connections, here are some things you can do to make the interactions easier with most guys (or people of any gender).
As cliché as the advice may seem, it’s true: the best way to interact with others is to simply be yourself. While it's usually true of any gender, guys love (in many cases) someone who is confident in who they are. This means allowing yourself to express sincere interests and opinions instead of trying to offer those that you believe will appeal to your audience. You’ll also want to try and be comfortable and express positive body language. By being genuine from your first interaction, you can build a more stable long-term relationship, whether that’s a romantic or platonic one.
Remember That He’s Human, Too
In tense situations where we feel uncomfortable, we may forget that the person we’re talking to is a person. Remember that the boy you’re making eye contact with is human, and just like you, he also makes mistakes and is likely to be forgiving if you fumble during your conversation. If you are a girl, thinking of the boy this way can also be helpful in alleviating that sense of otherness that may come from the different communication styles between boys and girls.
This can also help prevent you from putting him up on a pedestal, which can cause your perception of a person to be overinflated. This can manifest in a number of ways, including thinking that they are the smartest person you’ve met or they have the best smile you’ve ever seen. This common fallacy involves subconsciously reducing someone we are attracted to into something less than human or turning them in our minds into a somehow “perfect” archetype of the person we want to see. For example, you might see the boy you like as a knight in shining armor, coming to rescue you from a bad situation. This can make interacting with them difficult, as we may expect ourselves to fall into perfect mythological or literary romance and not only become your partner but also your best friend. Having that may be impossibly high could be a good sign that you’ve formed an idealized version of a person.
You can also reduce pressure by having a conversation starter beforehand. A great conversation starter can help break the ice and take away the feeling that someone you consider a “cute guy” is above you in any way.
By remembering that we’re all human and we all have flaws and weaknesses, you can keep a more realistic version of the boy (or someone of any gender) in your head, start talking, and focus on the conversation in front of you.
Practice Confidence With Positive Self-Talk
An important factor in talking to boys, someone of the opposite sex, or to anyone at all, is building your confidence and self-esteem. Self-esteem involves your general feelings about yourself and your relationship to the world, and can be influenced by a wide range of factors from family and home life to social interactions and professional settings. Having better self-esteem often leads to better mental health. You may worry less about inconsequential things like people staring at you, adapt easier to new social environments, and gain more confidence in your own capabilities. When you love and value yourself, it can be easier to start a conversation with a guy, girl, or anyone else.
There are many ways to build confidence and self-esteem, including the popular method of “fake it ‘til you make it.” Though it may seem counterintuitive, the act of telling yourself to be confident is a small favor that, in some cases, can result in actual confidence shining through. According to Health Direct, practicing positive self-talk (saying to yourself, “I am capable of this” or some similar positive affirmation) can help overcome negative self-esteem issues and improve self-image. It may help you feel more confident over time, even if it seems silly at first.
You can practice positive self-talk by taking some of your free time and using it to recognize how you talk to yourself in your own head. During this time, you can pay attention to and challenge negative thoughts to see if they’re true or exaggerated, offering yourself perspective on challenging situations by considering the likely outcomes and reminding yourself of what you know you are capable of.
Online Therapy Can Help
If you find talking to boys or making small talk during social interactions difficult in general, then online therapy may be able to help. Research has found that online therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy in many cases of self-esteem issues and similar mental health challenges. This form of therapy is more available than traditional therapy and can be easier to maintain as a busy teen or young adult. You may also be able to receive advice you wouldn’t be able to get from an unlicensed “relationship expert.”
BetterHelp can match you with one of the thousands of licensed professionals who specialize in helping people with similar concerns to the ones you face. Using their online platform, you can speak with your therapist through call or chat, and message them 24/7 with concerns without waiting for your next appointment. You can also choose the setting you communicate in, including at home, in your car, and even in a coffee shop. Their scheduling is flexible, and the cost is considerably more affordable than many in-person options.
Talking to boys can be intimidating for a multitude of reasons. You may feel inexperienced, nervous, or worried that you’ll make a mistake. This is perfectly natural and can be helped with confidence exercises, conversation starters, practice, and reminders that everyone is human, even him. If you need more professional help, online therapy can give you the tools you need to build your confidence.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I start a conversation with a boy?
If you want to talk to a guy, girl, or anyone else, try to maintain open and friendly body language and simply start talking as you would to a best friend or someone you’re comfortable with. It can be important to be yourself as you navigate the conversation. Try to find common interests to talk about and see where the conversation leads you.
What to talk with a boy you like?
How to get a boy to like you?
How do you talk to a boy without being awkward?
What to ask a guy?
How to flirt with a guy?
How to know if a guy likes you?
What type of talk impresses a boy?
Do guys like talkative girls?
How do boys fall in love?
How to know if someone likes you?
How do you attract a boy who ignores you?
Why do I feel shy to talk to a boy?
How do you talk to a shy boy?
How do I start a conversation?
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