Advice Forum: How To Talk To Cool People

Photograph by Marlin Helene


So, there are so many lovely girls in my year level that I would love to know better, but the only problem is, when I start to consider approaching them or come into their presence, I start to feel quite insecure and nervous and don’t end up saying anything. I’ve noticed that this only happens to people I admire which is really irritating as I am generally a really easy going person and one to easily make a connection. Any tips on approaching cool people?


Hello, lovely reader!

Just try picturing them naked!

No no, don’t do that. I’m kidding, I’m kidding! I don’t think that ever really works.

A good strategy for approaching people you admire is finding mutual interests. Do you have something in common that you could bring up in class? Do you know what books, movies, or sports they enjoy? You could always sit next to them one day, and say something like, “Hey, I read [book] on the weekend and I’ve been dying to discuss it… I think I heard that you’ve read it before?”.

Compliments are also a good way to start, and can be an easy way to launch into a conversation. If you genuinely like their clothing, their jewellery, or their makeup, why not tell them so, and ask follow-up questions to explore their interests and get to know each other?

If stuck for ideas, you can mention whatever else takes your fancy—your assignments, your teachers, or—dare I say it—even the weather. Most people respond well to genuine friendliness, interest, and kindness. If they don’t, they’re probably not worth getting to know anyway.

It’s so lovely that you can see some positive traits in yourself. I’m sure that you have the ability to talk to the girls you would like to get to know—perhaps something else is getting in the way! I wonder what it is about the “cool people” that is making you feel insecure and nervous. When you consider approaching them, perhaps you could ask yourself, What thoughts are running through my head?

It’s pretty normal to have some negative thoughts when it comes to chatting to people we really admire. I know I’ve blurted out some odd comments when I’ve met authors at signings and that sort of thing. Some of the thoughts I’ve had sound like: I’m not as cool as them. They think I’m ridiculous. They’re judging me. I can never say the right thing. Then these thoughts make me feel nervous, and I can’t think straight, and end up saying something strange—or nothing at all.

Does that sound familiar? Is your brain sabotaging you? I would recommend acknowledging these thoughts and responding with some positive ones, such as I am cool! I’m kind and interesting and great to talk to. Why wouldn’t they like to talk to me?

Good luck,

Elise Braun


Elise Braun

Elise Braun is a Melbourne-based feminist, postgraduate student, health researcher, and writer. She dabbles in painting, photography, sewing, and cooking.

Twitter: @EliseRBraun

Marlin Helene

Marlin is an 18-year-old student from Northern Germany and she looks forward to finishing her final exams this summer so she can finally do what she really wants to do. Marlin loves nature and tries to protect it as much as she can. She’s also in love with analog cameras and photography. Follow her on Flickr.

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