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THIS is what discourages me from actually talking to people!


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If you receive an unfriendly look from people you have to work with, then how can you use your conversational skills to keep them from disliking you? I'm sure that part of it is my fault, but it's theirs as well.


First of all, I work for a large bookstore, and we just opened up a new store a month ago. They hired a large work force to unpack boxes and shelve books in different areas. (fiction, reference, kids)


Whenever I was sent to help out various groups, I typically got unfriendly looks primarily from the women. And what's even more surprising is that some of the guys were unfriendly as well! They would remain silent, or if I asked a question to start some conversation, there would be a few small answers and then silence. I had to wonder what was the problem.


Fast forward to today. People know each other a little bit better, but I feel that I have been socially blocked from participating in conversations with them. Any suggestions? I cannot simply "leave people alone" because you're supposed to form alliances with people at work.

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Make it personal.


Small conversations about someone's life outside of work goes miles. Learn names and use them. The more you use someone's name, the more that person feels that you have genuine interest about their life and well-being. Ask about their life outside of work, if they have children, etc. Follow up with people and let them know you care.


The easiest way to make friends is to genuinly care about them. Give consideration to all walks of life and you'll find yourself with lots of friends.

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The key to small talk is the 90/10 rule. When you first approach a stranger, whether for a pick-up or for friendship, he won't warm up to you immediately. Instead, you must warm him up. You do this by talking 90% of the time during the first 3 minutes of the conversation. For instance, you can offer an anecdote about a friend who stole a girl from another guy. Then, you should offer your own views on this situation, e.g. strong disapproval. Thereafter, you should ask the stranger about his views.


This is related to the "go first" rule. You can lead people into different moods by going there first yourself. E.g. If you want people to be happy, act happy first. In the above case, you lead people into a talkative mood by being talkative first.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Don't answer unfriendly behavior with similar unfriendly behavior! Say hi! with a smile to people, and be polite. Believe me, I have been in your shoes, and it was a bit of a challenge. I was the youngest and most educated person in my first job after uni, and the first month or so, the long time co-workers would generally ignore my existence. I just kept saying hello, I got coffees for everyone, then started more small talk, etc. In the end I was on good terms with nearly everyone.

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subscribed. I have the same problem with people in my school. I've tried to get past it, but can only manage to do it when around friends who are more sociable than me who might start talking to someone and I join the conversation and find that the person that the day before gave me what looked like stink-eye is actually alright. I've never really been able to do it on my own, though... I end up giving the stink-eye back, instead, which is bad...

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Usually saying something stupid that makes an ass outta myself helps break the tension... a little humor goes a long way. Also as others had said be interested in the people. I firmly believe there is some bond that you can connect to with every person. Here its a bond about relationships. Work it's a bond about work. Life there are plenty of things... I usually keep firing till I see them take interest in something...

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