On the first day I started learning Spanish, I was a little nervous about it. It didn't take me too long to get familiarized and accustomed to it. I identified with people who spoke it constantly after a while. I gathered that some Spanish speakers were a bit homesick when they were in the states and the use of Spanish made them feel more at home. So I make it a point to practice Spanish with them when I get a chance. One example is that I email in Spanish with someone who has beautiful memories of her homeland of Puerto Rico and says she misses it immensely. I use Spanish with her as an outsider to make her feel at home and also to discuss issues of common interests. She said it helps her to be able to talk about it. Using Spanish itself must be a source of comfort, because she is very new to the English language.
I also have been asked by two people to help them learn Spanish in general and to also learn words for objects and words they can use conversationally. They feel at home with Spanish when they use it conversationally. I use email to communicate with them, and their manner is relaxed when it comes to interacting and using Spanish. I think Spanish may be a scary language to learners, but people feel comfortable with it in due time. One of the learners wants to be able to use it as a work place, so I provided an article suggesting a hundred words in Spanish to have under your belt and also the site for translation www.spanishdict.com This site not only gives you the audio for words you type in for the translation but a video of the translation as well. She has said the people she interacts with laugh at her mistakes in a friendly manner and are patient with her.
I notice in an objective way that Spanish speaking people are not always greeted by outsiders mainly, because they are speaking in Spanish or because they are Spanish. I decided to introduce myself to a Spanish speaker when I noticed that she passed by frequently speaking in Spanish on the phone. I told her that I had learned Spanish academically and never had a chance to practice it conversationally. She obliged and now greets me in return from time to time as she passes by. I eventually plan to develop a friendship with her after some time, because I don't want to rush the process of getting acquainted. It helps if the person lives or works nearby when you want to strike up a friendship.
I have also greeted Spanish owners of local businesses. I have noticed that the neighborhood has several Spanish businesses, and I practice my Spanish with them when I see them by chance or am being a customer. That helps the flow of the work day to go by in a positive direction and makes you feel as if you are interacting with the world around you instead of being closed in all the time. I find people who use Spanish to be very accommodating and personable. If you are feeling as if you are new to using Spanish, know that in time you feel as if you can actually wield it and feel comfortable and at home with Spanish. Just start greeting a few people at first and see where it develops. A tip is to greet people during the holidays, because people use greetings heavily during the season.