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 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way 2 How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good 3 15 Simple Things You Can Do to Boost Your Daily Motivation 4 How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often 5 Feeling Super Stressed? Do This Daily Routine Every Day

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on September 18, 2020

        13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        “We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

        “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

        Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

        You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

        Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

        1. Take a step back and evaluate

        When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

        1. What is the problem?
        2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
        3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
        4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
        5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

        Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

        Advertising

        2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

        If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

        At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

        Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

        3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

        Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

        4. Process your thoughts/emotions

        Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

        1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
        2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
        3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
        4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

        5. Acknowledge your thoughts

        Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

        By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

        Advertising

        Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

        6. Give yourself a break

        If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

        7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

        A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

        Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

        After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

        8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

        As Helen Keller once said,

        “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

        Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

        9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

        In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

        1. What’s the situation?
        2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
        3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
        4. Take action on your next steps!

        After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

        10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

        A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

        Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

        For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

        11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

        No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

        Advertising

        12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

        No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

        13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

        There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

        After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

        Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

        Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

        Read Next