Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

I’ve been taught in Primary, in church, and in seminary that when we see people who are alone, we should invite them into our group. I would love to be able to do this, but I am just too shy. I don’t know how to approach them. What do I say?

New Era

Many people consider themselves shy, especially when meeting new people. But most people like it when someone makes the effort to approach them when they are alone and invite them to join the group. Knowing these two things can make it easier for you to overcome your fears.

You know the right thing to do. Concentrate on that instead of your fear. Put a smile on your face, ask your friends to come with you, and just walk up to the new person and say hi and introduce yourself. Do it before you think about it too much or you might talk yourself out of it.

Also, don’t wait for someone else to make the first move. Always assume that it’s up to you. You will find it gets easier every time you talk to someone new. The Lord has promised that he will help us in all things. You can make it a matter of prayer. Tell the Lord how you feel and ask for help and comfort. The new person is probably saying a similar prayer, hoping to make friends in this new place. By making the effort to include someone or making him or her feel welcome, you may be the answer to someone’s prayer.

New people may be a little shy at first, but after asking them a few questions like where they came from, what school they go to, or where they live, you can start a conversation. Don’t expect them to be immediately talkative. You can tell them about the ward, the neighborhood, or the town. And your friends will probably join in the conversation and things will become more relaxed.

After that first conversation, be sure to continue to include your new friend in your activities. You may have to be the first to speak or go out of your way to include your new friend for several times. It will take a little time for the new person to feel completely comfortable with everyone.

Talking to a new person may always make your heart race and your palms get damp, but it is the right thing to do. No matter how nervous you get, just remember that the other person probably feels even more frightened and out of place.

If you are wondering what to do or say when trying to help a new person feel included, remember the Golden Rule. If the situation were reversed, how would you want someone to act toward you? What would you like them to say? Wouldn’t you love it if someone were kind to you?

Everyone is important in the eyes of the Lord. To treat each other with kindness and consideration is the attitude of a true believer. In this way, we can do as the Lord asks. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).

Readers

If you feel too shy to approach others, try approaching with a group of people you know. Sit with people you don’t know at activities and get a conversation going. People like to be acknowledged, and when you show kindness to them, they will do the same.

Heidi Pomerleau, 16 Windham, Maine

First of all, greet that person in a friendly and loving way. Tell them about yourself and find out about them. Invite them when you plan activities with your friends so they will feel welcome.

Moshophe Cedric Sekhula, 18 Ga-kgapane, South Africa

Many times while growing up I was the lone person looking in. During those times I longed for someone to invite me to join them in whatever they were doing. Everyone has the need to feel loved and accepted. I never realized this until I was almost finished with high school.

Elder Reed Shewell, 20 Korea Seoul Mission

Whenever I approach new friends I always like to think I’ve known them for a while. It helps me to remember we’re all children of God and they’re my brothers and sisters.

Amanda Bible, 17 Tampa, Florida

Find something positive to say to them, perhaps a compliment or an invitation to sit with you. You can talk about things you have in common. Show love.

Amaron-Lee Arnold, 14 Asheville, North Carolina

Don’t hesitate to begin your approach with a delightful smile; then start by introducing yourself. Take a chance to learn how they feel about the gospel. If possible share your feelings and testimony.

Lovella G. Allorde, 20 Albay, Philippines

I used to be a nonmember before I was invited to investigate the Church. Looking at that [Church] family from afar hurts when you are not part of it. Spare the nonmember’s feelings and ask him into your group.

Jacob H. Hood Elfrida, Arizona

I used to have that problem too. I realized that they are probably just as shy as I am. You could go over and talk to them about almost anything, and I’m sure they would be grateful to you.

Lisa Bjornn, 14 Phoenix, Arizona

If you go to school with this person, say hi in the hall. Or have a casual conversation at church while you’re changing classes.

Tara McFerson, 14 Delaware, Ohio

[photo] Photography by John Luke

[illustration] Christ taught that we are to treat each other kindly. He instructed his disciples that they were to follow a new and greater commandment where they loved one another as he loved them. He also taught what has become known as the Golden Rule, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matt 7:12). (Painting Jesus Washing the Feet of the Apostles by Del Parson.)