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Last Updated on October 31, 2018

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!

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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.

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    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.

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      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.

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        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 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 How To Quietly Build A Social Life

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        Last Updated on June 24, 2019

        Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

        Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

        A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

        Social Media Could Lead to Depression

        Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

        Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

        If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

        • low self-esteem,

        • negative self-talk,

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        • a low mood,

        • irritability,

        • a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

        • and social withdrawal.

        If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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        Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

        We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

        Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

        Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

        Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

        Why We Need to Take This Seriously

        Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

        Advice on Social Media Use

        Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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        One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

        Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

        Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

        If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

        Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

        Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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        Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

        Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

        The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

        Reference

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