From making friends in a new city to approaching people on the tube, we asked Karamo from ‘Queer Eye’ to tackle your relationship woes
If I see someone I fancy on the tube, how should I approach them?
‘Think about the anxiety that you have about the fear of rejection. Most of the time, someone else has that same anxiety as well. It’s all about checking your own anxiety so when you approach them you’re not giving off that nervous energy. Give yourself a little pep talk in your head saying, you know what, this person’s feeling the same thing I’m feeling. Also, don’t be afraid of a “no”. If they say no, it’s not anything to do with you, it just means you weren’t meant for each other. A lot of the time that fear of the “no” is what stops you. Walk over and always start with a hello, my name is… and go on to a nice compliment.’
I’ve recently moved to London and I find it hard to meet people in a big city. How can I make new friends?
‘Making friends is something that we’ve all wanted since we were children. It’s going to school and not wanting to be the only one who doesn’t have friends to play with. Tap into those feelings. The easiest way to make a friend is to know three things for yourself that are your interests. For me, I always pick out the fact that I love bomber jackets. So if I see someone in a bomber jacket, we can immediately have a conversation and that can be the lead-in. Making friends is all about asking questions. A lot of times we start talking a lot because we’re nervous, but remember that most of the time people want to talk as well. So if you start off the conversation with “how are you?”, “what do you like to do?” – those how/what/where questions – that’s going to allow someone to talk.’
I’m a gay man who’s out to my friends but afraid to tell my parents because they’re quite conservative. How can I tell them?
‘I understand that feeling. I have a lot of conservative family members. I actually don’t use the term “coming out”. It’s something personal. I don’t hate on anyone else who does use that term. But I think that a change in language can change your perspective. The term I use is “letting people in”. It’s like if someone comes to your home and you say “come on in” and they don’t want to, you’re in your home, you’ll shut the door. You might feel sad that they didn’t want to come into your house, but you’re still home. And there will be people that want to come in. Understand that you have the power, you’re letting them into your life – you’re not coming out to them. You’re letting them in to this beautiful part of yourself. I think that’s an important shift in the mentality of people.’
I’ve just turned 30 and my parents won’t stop talking about wanting grandchildren. The pressure is getting to me. How do I tell them to back off without hurting them?
‘You tell them to back off. I think in life, people want to rush our journeys and it’s one of the most disrespectful things. One of the healthiest things we can do is be honest about where we are. My granny used to say, “never be afraid of growing slowly only of standing still” meaning, for me, that kids may be something that I want ten years or 20 years from now, but don’t rush my process. Allow me to take all the steps that I want to take and go at my own pace. It’s so important. Sometimes you have to be direct with people. And also understand that your parents aren’t coming from a malicious place. Acknowledge that. Say to them that I acknowledge that your generation may have had kids at 30, but for me it’s not that way. I respect where you are, but please respect where I am. And back off!’
I’ve just moved to London and I’m finding it a bit overwhelming. What should I do?
‘Write down a list of what you feel overwhelmed about. If it stays in your head, it builds up. Sometimes just seeing it in front of you in a list form makes you think, “oh, I can achieve this”. Try to tackle one thing every week or every month. So if your one anxiety is meeting new people, say to yourself, okay this month I’m going to meet new people. And prioritise that list in a way that you can have support on the way. So if the big thing is that you don’t want to go out because you’re scared, sometimes having a buddy can be great. So the first thing on your list could be like, to solve my anxiety, I’m going to make a friend. Then from there, find a similar interest – if you have a similar interest then you’re going to feel more comfortable about going out. Once you have a similar interest, now you go out. That’s a digestible way of handling your anxiety so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.’
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