Feeling nervous around a guy you like is a common experience. However, your anxiety could lead to plenty of awkward silences. If you’re overly concerned with seeming foolish in front of your friend, making small talk will seem like an overwhelming challenge. Still, overcoming that challenge is necessary if you hope to make a stronger connection with him. Using conversation strategies can help you not only connect with your friend but with everyone around you.
Be an Online Detective
Since your crush is your friend, you probably already know a bit about his interests. However, learning more about your friend via social networking can help you plan conversation topics beforehand, according to professor of psychology Susan Whitbourne in her Psychology Today article, "Ten Tips to Talk about Anything with Anyone." Assume the role of an online detective and learn more about his favorite bands, movies, books and TV shows. You might find that you have more in common than you originally thought, which can help alleviate some of your awkwardness as you focus on your commonalities more than how much you like him when you are talking to him.
Open Yourself to Conversation
One of the first steps to making conversation is to open yourself up to small talk, according to Indiana University Southeast in an article titled “How to Make Successful Small Talk: The Key to Connecting, Not Just Conversing.” When an awkward silence arises, simply make a comment about your surroundings or the weather. For example, you can point out how stormy the sky looks or how the autumn leaves are changing colors. The goal isn't to say something of particular significance, but rather to express your willingness to talk. Otherwise, your friend might mistake your quietude for disinterest or even rejection.
Ask Him Questions
If your prepared topics slip your mind, or if you run out of them, pose a few questions for your friend. This is when your online detective work comes in handy, because now you can ask him for more details on his interests. Bring up topics that you can relate to, or ones that you are genuinely interested in. For example, if you both like the same band, ask him about his favorite songs. While listening, use empathic reflecting skills, suggests Whitbourne. This involves paraphrasing what the speaker said, indicating that you are following along and engaged in the conversation.
Answer His Questions
At some point during the conversation, he’ll probably ask you a few questions, too. Make it your goal to avoid one-word answers. Instead, answer the question in full, and elaborate if necessary. For example, if he asks what your favorite song is, don’t just name one song, list a few and give your reasons why you like them. Don't spend too much time talking about one item, such as a single song, unless your friend has something to add. Dominating the conversation by keeping it focused on a single point is a poor conversation habit, warns Indiana University Southeast. Instead, pay attention to the flow of the conversation so that each of you has a chance to talk and so you can both get to know each other better.