What tips can you offer me?
Most Helpful Girl
Figure out what sparks their lights and push that button. It could be getting their sense of humor, hitting on a topic they know well and like to talk about, there is something that make every person more comfortable, its just a matter of paying attention and finding it.
Being assertive yourself helps a lot in this- people like people who at least seem confident. This is one of those things you just have to force yourself to do until you're comfortable with it. Figure out how to take whatever your personality is around your friends and make a public version.
Something that helps me is to think of what the other person feels like and how I'd like someone to approach me in that situation and doing it myself. If it suddenly got awkwardly quiet, what am I wishing the other person would do (or that I could do)
People aren't that scary once you think about how they tend to fret more about how they're behaving than they are of other people.