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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.”

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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.

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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!”

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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.”

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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

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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