Advertising
Advertising

How to Keep a Conversation Going and Never Run Out of Things to Say

How to Keep a Conversation Going and Never Run Out of Things to Say

One of the BIGGEST problems you may face when trying to meet new friends is the awkward silence. Encountering this situation is so uncomfortable that it can even force you to avoid meeting new people in the first place, but there is a way to get around it.

In the past, I I struggled with this so much that I thought it could never be solved. I even thought it had to do with my DNA or something… but I proved myself wrong when I learned how to solve it.

Not knowing how to keep a conversation going can harm your social life, but if you know how to keep those words flowing, you can meet, talk to, and get to know pretty much anyone you like—creating great possibilities for friendship, fun and shared activities that you would otherwise have missed out on.

Why You Run out of Things to Say

After studying this in depth, I found patterns of behavior that can keep you from making great conversation with people. One of these common behaviors is the habit of filtering—holding back from saying something until you’ve “checked” with yourself to make sure that what you’re about to say is cool, impressive, smart, and interesting.

What does that do to your conversation ability? It kills it!

Advertising

Another problem is not learning to get in the mood for conversation. If you spent a whole day working or studying analytical or logical subjects, and you don’t know how to switch from that, then it can take a lot of time to warm up and start interacting with people socially.

You can overcome this simply by learning a few new skills, such as the ones listed below. Once you do that, you’ll be able to talk to new people, and make friends, much more easily.

How to Keep Conversations Going

Let’s get you started with a couple of basic,  yet solid techniques on how to be a great conversationalist:

Technique #1 No Filtering

    This is the reflex that allows you to say whatever goes on in your mind. No filtering, no checking with yourself  “would I sound cool if I say this?”. None of that.

    Advertising

    The best way to practice this is to start doing it with people you kind of know—do you dare to try it? It’s fun to realize that you’re allowed to say whatever is on your mind, and no-one is going to judge you for it.

    As long as you don’t say anything that could land you in jail, you’re okay! People don’t care too much about how “awesome” what you’re saying is, because they’re too focused on how THEY are coming across. Get it? If so, let’s move on…

    Technique #2 “Interesting, tell me more!”

      This works 99% of the time. It’s a surefire technique, and it works especially well for beginners. People love to know that you’re interested in what they have to say, so if you show some interest, they’ll hang around and want to talk to you even more.

      All of the “oh! that’s interesting…”, “Hmm, I’ve never heard of that”, “Hmm, cool!”expressions are reactionary bits of conversation that prove to the other person that you’re really listening, and that’s very flattering to them.

      Advertising

      Technique #3 Stories from everywhere

        Everyone knows that stories juice-up conversations, but most people only talk about stories their own lives. You don’t have to draw from your own experience when speaking with someone: you can use stories from anywhere, from stories that happened to people you know, to those you came across via the radio,TV, magazines, etc.

        How can you integrate the stories into your conversation? The key is to first realize that you can use them. You’ve already heard them, and the more interesting or weird they are, the harder they are to forget, so you’re all good.

        Your brain doesn’t lose them. When someone mentions something related to any of them, just tell the story, even if it’s not from your life. It can be any silly story, short or long, interesting, or totally awkward—just use it!

        People love talking to people who can just share stuff openly like that. These techniques should get you started, but if you want to take it to an advanced level—to the point where you can just have fun when talking to anyone, meet the right people you want in your life, and be able to make friends with them fast—then I recommend that you take a little time to learn more about how conversations work.

        Advertising

        If you do that, you’ll make conversations far more interesting, with natural ease, avoiding all awkward silences that might prevent you from meeting the right friends that you would love to have around.

        The Bottom Line

        Now that you know the tricks to keep a conversation going, the next thing you should do it apply one of these tricks the next time you talk with someone.

        Don’t overwhelm yourself trying to use all these tricks at the same time, get used to one of these first. When you can master one of the tricks, you’ll feel more confident to apply the other techniques in your upcoming conversations too!

        If you’re looking for tips on how to start a conversation try the FORM technique!

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        More by this author

        Paul Sanders

        A communication expert who tries to help people improve their social skills and make friends anywhere.

        How To Be More Social If You Are an Introvert How to Keep a Conversation Going and Never Run Out of Things to Say What to Do When You Have No Friends and Feel Lonely 7 Tips How to Make Friends During College 5 Reasons Why Your Social Life Isn’t Improving, And What To Do About It

        Trending in Communication

        1 What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It) 2 How to Get Unstuck in Life and Live a More Fulfilling Life 3 What Will Happen When You Surround Yourself With Positive People? 4 How to Surround Yourself With Positive People 5 15 Ways to Boost Your Motivation for Success

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on March 30, 2020

        What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

        What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

        Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

        You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

        This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

        What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

        According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

        Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

        There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

        How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

        When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

        Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

        Advertising

        1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

        One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

        The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

        Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

        2. Be Honest

        A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

        If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

        On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

        Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

        3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

        Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

        Advertising

        If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

        4. Succeed at Something

        When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

        Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

        5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

        Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

        Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

        If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

        If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

        Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

        Advertising

        6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

        Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

        You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

        On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

        You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

        7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

        Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

        Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

        Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

        When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

        Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

        Advertising

        In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

        Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

        It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

        Final Thoughts

        When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

        The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

        Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

        Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

        Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

        More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

        Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
        [2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
        [3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
        [4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
        [5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
        [6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
        [7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
        [8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

        Read Next