• Making Friends

Having a hard time relating one-on-one

Published: August 5, 2015 | By | 1 Reply Continue Reading
A teenager is comfortable speaking in public but not one-on-one.



I am a 15-year-old girl from India. I am in 11th grade right now. I don’t have friends and it’s very hard for me to make friends because I am quite shy. I can speak in front of a thousand people comfortably but having a one-on-one conversation with someone is hard for me.

I live with my parents and two younger sisters. Its my passion to bake and write but I’m approaching my studies in chemical engineering (my parents want me to do that).

I sometimes find a person that I feel I might be great friends with but I don’t do anything about it. I am a bit nerdy and very good at public speaking and writing.

I have never written like this to anyone, so I’m sorry if my description is not really good. I always feel very lonely. Please help.

Signed, Chandra


Hi Chandra,

I’m really sorry to hear you’re feeling lonely. I bet a lot of your classmates admire you, and admire you because of your ease in speaking publicly. So many teens and adults are afraid to give speeches or reports.

Have you thought of using your talents to join the debate team or drama club, which would be good avenues for meeting new friends? Since you like writing, the school newspaper or literary club might be another opportunity for you.

Sometimes shy people are mistaken for being snobbish, rather than self-conscious. Here are some tips for letting people know you’re friendly and open:

  • Make eye contact
  • Smile
  • Say hello and goodbye
  • Ask questions to show interest (e.g. what did you do last weekend?)
  • Compliment (e.g. I like your shoes, where did you get them?)
  • Invite interaction (Do you want to study for the English test together?)

I bet a lot of your classmates are shy and would love you to talk to them. If you try talking to one or two people each day, you’ll figure out who is interested in befriending you.

Focus on the person you’re talking to, not your insecurities. You can take the pressure off yourself by keeping your expectations realistic. Remember that you’re practicing being friendly, not making a best friend. Friendships start with conversations.

Hope this helps.

Signed, Amy Feld

*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.

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  1. Tara says:

    I like Amy F’s advice. Shared activities (debate, drama club) is a great way to make friends and have one to one conversation because there is already a common bond. I also feel comfortable talking in public and find it hard in a one to one setting. I’m not saying this is how you feel. Amy F brings up what my issue was. I often focused on how I felt rather than what the other person was saying and then responding in a way that helped stimulate dialogue and then into meaningful conversation. It is a difficult one to break and it takes practice, I have found. I have to push my thoughts out and really focus on the other person. With this also came the fact that not everyone I spoke to one to one was going to be my friend. There was a trial and error to it and also moving through the ‘rejection’ of it not ‘clicking’ with another I had wanted to click with. With practice, it will happen because I have found that others can feel lonely (at any stage in their lives) and that people want meaningful friendships. I wish you luck and it is a courageous act to reach out ask for help.

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