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I recently started working in a midsize company as a software development intern. I really like the company and I really like the work.

The trouble I have is building relationships with people in the company in a non-work context. I find it hard to carry conversations and talk with people about non work stuff. There's frequent awkward silences when I'm around. I've taken to avoiding people at work because I feel I'll embarrass myself.

What I would like to do is start taking baby steps towards being more genuine with people in work and trying to be friendlier and more open. What's clear to me is that I need more of a life outside of the office to help feed into this but its not something that I have the time or energy for right now. Basically work is the only outlet I have to meeting people, and I feel like everyone there thinks I'm aloof and unfriendly.

I often feel I have nothing to talk about with people. I have suffered from anxiety and depression in the past and been to a counsellor about it. At the moment my family is also in a crisis due to a sibling's mental health problems that is not really appropriate to talk about with co-workers. I also have to do college projects in my spare time after work for the duration of my internship which are quite demanding. I don't have any friends / social life / SO either in my life right now. When I do talk to people it is usually just about what we're immediately doing work which is very un-engaging and quite boring for them and me.

I was wondering if anyone had any tips for getting on better with my co-workers, given my situation? I just want to learn to shoot the shit with people but I feel like just talking about work all the time is not enough. Is there any simple things I could start doing to remedy this, or should I just wait until my life clears up a bit? I guess I should start reading the news more, having stuff prepared to talk about might be one thing? Thanks.

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If you can't think of a topic to talk about yourself, ask your coworkers about their lives. Ask them about their hobbies and interests, listen to what they have to say and follow up accordingly. This way, you can get a conversation going, and, since people generally like to talk about their hobbies, will get them to open up to you as well.

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Make a conscious effort to become sincere and more sociable with people in your everyday life. It's difficult but its something we must learn to do if we wish to grow. I bombed a crucial interview the other day for this very reason.

Practice with friends, when u go out for gas, at every available opportunity.

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