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The fear of getting rejected, the fear of getting judged, the fear of being ignored, and the fear of getting embarrassed. When your mind imagines a future event and believes you have a good chance of getting hurt mentally, emotionally, or physically it will trigger strong urges in you to avoid taking action.

Think about this way: if you got kicked out of your community way back then, you were left on your own…out in the wilderness…no shelter, no food, no resources. So fear is the anticipation of pain.

1. Create the space.

And when your brain imagines you out socializing, and it scans for potential threats…embarrassment, judgment, ridicule, scorn…well, it can quickly put you into a state of high anxiety. The problem is…you and I could go out and get rejected, ignored, or judged thousands of times a day. We would still have food, shelter, and resources. In the Time article, Broken Hearts Hurt Like Broken Bones , Maia Szalavitz gathered research pointing to physical pain and social pain mapping to the same regions of our brain. Just do what you want. As Szalavitz discovered, to our brains, getting rejected is the equivalent of getting shot in the chest.

The fear of walking up and starting a conversation with someone new is a very real phenomenon with potential consequences baked right into our thinking.

My biggest fear was always getting laughed at when I walked up to someone new. For whatever reason, the absolute worst case scenario was me opening my mouth, getting insulted, and then walking away with them laughing at me. So whenever I would try to work up the courage to get myself out there, this little movie would play in my mind.

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I would see the other person looking at me like I was an idiot, making fun of me, and then laughing hysterically as I stumbled away. Instead of trying to figure out how to meet someone, strike up a conversation with them, avoid saying anything stupid, avoid embarrassing myself, and try to keep the conversation flowing….

Because the whole process of starting conversations and keeping them going was so overwhelming, I decided to attack it in pieces instead. But before I could work up the confidence to get out there, the fear came right back. I could still see myself doing something as simple as introducing myself and getting rejected. Of course I could.

It might be scary to open up about things that really matter to us — and some people prefer not to engage on such an intimate level. I often think of the dramatic scenes in movies and books when the protagonists, often on their deathbeds or hanging off the side of a cliff, finally reveal their truest feelings. These five tips can help each of us enrich our relationships by having conversations from the heart.

People feel comfortable in different settings, so consider where this person will be most at ease. Maybe a walk in nature lends itself to a deeper discussion. Perhaps the neighborhood coffee shop or your own living room feels more inviting.

A Real Conversation - or Falling in Love - in 36 Questions or Less -

Preparing a meal alongside your new sister-in-law may ease any sense of formality that could get in the way of a good talk. Sometimes we need to talk about other people. But one of the easiest ways to avoid discussing our lives, our hearts, and our values is to focus on people who are not present. So how do you shift from sharing the news or gossip about other people to actually talking with your conversation partner?

Redirect your attention to the experiences and emotions of those who are present. We can talk about our favorite subjects all day: gardening or football, theology or furniture making, politics or rodeos.

7 Practical Tips on How to Start a Conversation

We can conceal ourselves behind our pet topics, too, never delving deeper into why and how such things might touch our lives in meaningful ways. How are you doing with that? Note: Google Assistant will access the information of the person who starts the conversation. Get an answer from an expert on the Google Home Help Forum.

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