NOTE: This node was originally written in response to another node that was deleted, and intended to be read after the previous, deleted, node. I may have to remove this node in the future. It doesn't make sense without the context of the deleted node. - IWSTF
The art of conversation implies that there is some interest on your part in the other person. Anxieties of the shy are typically centered on the belief that they have to say correct things to others. This is a factual error. Most people are not interested in what you are saying. Most people only want to be given an opportunity to shine in conversation. Good conversation, then, is not the art of saying the correct thing, but asking good questions.
"What are you studying?"
"How did you decide to come here to study?"
"How long have you known your boyfriend/girlfriend?"
"Where did you meet?"
It is hugely liberating to realize that others don't care about you. It is hugely liberating to know that they care mostly about themselves. Most don't get a chance to talk about themselves. When they do, they are grateful to you, the asker of good questions. This knowledge makes it immensely easier to make conversation than many people suspect.
it all gets back to Zen. Become as an empty boat
, and everyone will be your friend.