Advertising
Advertising

How To Start A Conversation With Anyone Without Awkward Silence

How To Start A Conversation With Anyone Without Awkward Silence

“That’s a fine looking chandelier over there, and wow…. how did they even get that huge octopus ornament into the club?”

I’m never too good around my wife’s new friends or colleagues, especially when she’s just ditched me for the restrooms. More often than not, I tend to seem busy in thought because that’s just me. Draw the “Awkward” curtains, it’s time to sit around in silence for a while. But maybe I could try to start a conversation? Maybe not. But what do I say?

“Hey, you come here often?”

“No.”

Advertising

Awkward much?

So just before you decide to commit mental suicide like I did multiple times when my wife left me alone with her friends, consider applying the art of drowning out the awkward silence. Simply just repeat these three words in your head until you’re left alone, “I’m not here… I’m not here… I’m not here”. You’ll magically disappear like a fade-out scene and never get to hear from anyone from that night again!

But if you’re looking to break the ice with lesser transgression, check out these tips and tricks to avoid the awkward silence:

1. The Art of Observation

One of the best techniques to break the ice with people you’ve just met is to simply observe before you speak. And by observe, we do not mean ogling, especially at parts unknown. That’s creepy.

Advertising

Observations that could turn into potential ice breaking questions could be that eye catching top they are wearing, the new mobile phone they’re pressing into their ear or that dapper hairstyle they’re carrying. You can then change these observations into questions such as, “That top is nice, where did you get it from?”, “How’s the new mobile phone that you’re using? I’m thinking of changing my phone” or “Where did you get your haircut from, I’m looking for a new stylist.”

2. The Conversation Ratio

Rule of thumb: two-thirds of the conversation should be about the person you’re speaking to and one-third about yourself. Why? So that the conversation doesn’t turn from ice breaker to “how to shut down a narcissist”. To be clear, the goal is to never impress during the first impression but to get them to impress you instead.

Dr. Jeremy Nicholson, writer at Psychology Today, says that most people go wrong when they try to impress too much, which ends up in getting themselves judged instead of evaluated. By sticking to the two-third rule, ask them anything that could make it seem like you are evaluating them instead and have them prove themselves to you during most of the conversation.

3. The Praise

Praise is a tricky technique because most extroverts love it, but most introverts can see through it. So before praising someone, you have to first find out whether they’re extroverted or introverted. According to Psychologist Laurie Helgoe, author of Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength, introverts see no meaning in small talk which is nothing more than a barrier between people and real interactions. If you’re talking to one, you can probably figure it out as soon as you say, “Wow, I really love your hair!”

Advertising

When praising, it’s good to stick to behavior, accomplishments or clothing because praising someone’s size, shape, weight or looks can go both ways.

4. Look For Differences, Not Similarities

Because we’re all wired to look out for similarities in other people, since we started reading Agony Aunt articles – “it’s best that you sit down with him to end things on a good note because you both have nothing in common” – we tend to neglect the beauty of differences that can make a conversation deeper with more understanding of each other.

Furthermore, being hellbent on looking for similarities can lead us to feeling frustrated so it’s always good to keep an open mind to be accepting and to build meaningful conversations around those differences.

5. Conversation Combo Moves

Success in breaking the ice all comes down to being able to bust a string of combo moves then delivering the final finishing move to make your listener submit by saying, “I really like talking to you.”

Advertising

All you have to do to create a combo move is to know which buttons to push, and by that, we mean using topics that are relatively easy to digest, and expanding on them as you go along. Topics can be their favorite restaurant to go to or their favorite sport to watch, and they shouldn’t be “what do you think about Donald Trump’s policies for immigration?” Topics that require a certain level of general knowledge should be avoided at all costs.

Do not let topics slip away so easily. For example, if their favorite restaurant is on Mckenzie Street, you can probably ask whether they live around the area and if they do, you can ask about how long have they lived there or maybe what else is around there in case you would like to visit someday.

Yes, You Can Break The Ice With Anyone!

Even if you’re an introvert, breaking the ice with anyone just takes practice and a lot of trial and error. Just remember that for a first impression, you shouldn’t be judged by trying too hard to impress, but be qualified just by being yourself. Keep an open mind, and we hope that you’ll stop pretending to look at chandeliers and octopus ornaments just to avoid an awkward silence.

Featured photo credit: How smart dining will add fun via youtube.com

More by this author

Lim Kairen

Content Writer

If You Want To Be Successful In Life, You Shouldn’t Say These 7 Phrases Easily Here Is What Your Farts Reveal About Your Digestive Health Everyone Is Talented In Their Own Way: The 9 Types Of Intelligence You Should Know Psychologists Explain How Boring Buildings Are Harmful To Our Mental Health Upgrade Your Water: 6 Things To Add To Water For Better Digestive Health

Trending in Communication

1 12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now 2 How to Use the 5 Minute Journal to Invest in Your Happiness 3 What’s the Purpose of Life? A Guide to Live with Meaning 4 Why Happiness is a Choice (And a Smart One to Make) 5 How to Survive a Midlife Crisis (The Definitive Guide for Men)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

Advertising

Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

Advertising

Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

Advertising

7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

Advertising

Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next