Video: How to start a conversation | Advice for young people

Video: How to start a conversation

Eimear, Jigsaw volunteer, asks for advice about how to start a conversation in a new situation, for example when starting a new course.

Jigsaw works with many young people who go to a class, society meetings or football training and still feel lonely. This is because they find it really hard to talk to someone. So they’re going, but not connecting. That can be really hard and there’s not a simple fix.

 

When we’ve been lonely for a while, we can start to believe something a bit unhelpful about ourselves and the world.

Conor, Jigsaw Clinician

When we’ve gone through difficult experiences like being bullied, or have had negative relationships, we can start to believe unhelpful things. We can start to believe “no one would want to speak to me” or “I’m not good enough for people to talk to”.

Reinforcing beliefs

If we feel that way about ourselves and the world it affects the way we behave. We can go into a room with the nicest people and still might not make a connection. It can cause us to move with our head down and almost try and make ourselves invisible.

We might go to events and hide out in the corner. Trying to look busy on our phone and hope that nobody sees us and comes to say hello. Does this sound familiar?

Thinking behaviour patterns

At the end of the event we can feel quite hurt and rejected that nobody came and said hello. This thinking/behaviour pattern reinforces the belief we have about ourselves; “I’m not good enough for people and no one will ever want to speak to me.”.

It’s a really hard cycle to break, but it’s not impossible. We didn’t fall into this pattern of feeling bad about ourselves overnight. It happened over time and the road out of it is similar. It starts with small steps.

Check out this TED talk: 7 Ways to Make a Conversation With Anyone