If you struggle with awkward conversations with someone new, Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich has some great tips to help you unfreeze and overcome your social anxiety. Sethi breaks down these awkward moments to their basics, and it's especially helpful for someone whose mind goes blank when talking to people (or who says weird things at inappropriate times).
His core strategy might sound odd — and he shares it almost condescendingly — but the idea isn't bad: write down your main talking points in advance, and revisit them after each such awkward conversation. Look for spots that caused weird reactions from the people you were talking to, and adjust accordingly. Over time, it will seem like you are a natural at talking to people.
Here's Sethi's cheat sheet for the video:
- My best strategy for overcoming anxiousness and having something to talk about (so you'll have good conversation and people will think you're interesting) (1:22)
- A system to come up with questions that will pull people into conversation with you (3:02)
- The skill you can practice that, once you master it, will make people believe you were "born" confident and eloquent (3:52)
- How to go from socially dysfunctional to competent and confident (4:13)
You can quickly skip to any of those for the part that interests you, but the whole video is actually worth watching.
"Help! My mind 'goes blank' when I talk to people" [I Will Teach You To Be Rich]