How to Make Friends When You’re Anxious

I just moved to a new city and I barely know anyone here. Needless to say I am anxious; more anxious than I usually am! Living in a new place is truly starting over for me and my family. I have a lot of anxiety being here with all this change, but I am pushing myself through it. Anxiety isn’t going to mysteriously disappear just because I want it to. But, I can work with the anxiety as opposed to fighting it. Knowing what I know about anxiety helps me to keep going and try to make friends the best that I can. Here are some questions to get to know someone that I find helpful.

1. Where are you from?

This is a good opener because it informs you about what the person’s life experiences were like before you met them. Maybe they’re from the same town that you currently both live in or perhaps they’ve moved from another location that they can tell you about. Either way you’re getting more information. Then you can talk about where you’re from and exchange personal stories.

2. What do you do?

Everyone has a different job, whether it’s working in a office, driving a truck or being a parent. Stay-at-home parents are doing an extremely hard job, for the record. Knowing about someone’s job is also provides insight into who they are. You can tell a lot about a person when they reveal their job and whether they like it or not. If they hate their job or are changing careers, that’s also a good conversation starter.

3. What astrological sign are you?

I personally believe in astrology, but maybe you don’t. Sometimes I say “this is kind of a funny question but what sign are you?” This alleviates the weirdness about asking about signs. You can tell some things about a person when they reveal their sign. For example, I’m a Libra and I get excited when I meet other Libras.

4. Do you drink coffee?

I like to know this because I do drink coffee and it’s a part of my personality. But maybe the other person is really into tea. Either way, you’re going to find out more about their outward persona.When you find out, you can plan an outing to a place that serves delicious hot beverages, even if they don’t drink coffee.

5. Do you have any pets?

The answer to this lets you know whether you’re dealing with an animal person or not. I love cats and dogs, but you don’t know what the other person’s take on animals is. Even if they’re not a fan of animals, that’s not a deal breaker. Some people like plants better than animals. This can be a topic for discussion. Let’s embrace our differences and talk about them. Plants need love too.

These are some ice breaker questions that could lead to in depth follow ups. You don’t need to lead with the deeper inquiries, that will come with time as you learn more and more about your new friend.

A version of this post was previously published on huffpost.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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