There’s this friend I have who asked me how I manage to start and maintain a good conversation with people, even with those who usually refrain from talking to people. Now, here I am, writing another post as I think of the answers to the given question.
To make this easier, I’ll use a different approach. I’ll divide them into three groups, namely, DO’s, DON’Ts, and a list of certain traits a person may or may not have that will really help in becoming a conversationalist.
(Take note: This is my blog. My post. My opinion. If you can’t take my opinion nicely, there’s the ‘close tab’ button up there. Use it. I don’t need your pathetic insults.)
Now that that’s taken care of, let us proceed.
1. Do know what type of relationship you want to build with the person you want to talk to. You don’t want to make him feel used after making it seem like you just want to be friends, then, after a few weeks or months of getting to know each other, you suddenly drop the bomb and confess your love for him. Now, I’m not telling you to drop the bomb as soon as you two have exchanged Hi’s and Hello’s. Just give little hints here and there, especially if you’re a guy (since you’re the one who usually starts the relationship).
2. Do make sure you know who you’re talking to. Know his favorite show, favorite band, favorite celebrity, favorite song, favorite movie, favorite book, favorite food, favorite color, and other things that he really likes. No, it’s not being a stalker; it’s being a person who knows what to talk about. ‘Cause hey, you—especially you girls—do it to get to know your favorite celebrities, right? I don’t think this thing’s very different. And, if it makes any difference, just call it ‘research.’
3. Do make sure you pay attention to what he’s saying. What’s the point in talking to someone if you’re not going to listen, right?
4. Do be open for opinions. You don’t have to agree with everything he says, but, please, don’t always start a debate whenever he says something with which you disagree.
5. Do know your similarities. Being compatible with the person you’re talking to plays a big role in engaging in great conversations with people. When you know your similarities, you can easily come up with a decent topic and you will both have a good time talking about the things you really like.
6. Do be brave enough to give compliments. Compliments—though some people pretend to shove them away for some reasons—, if given sincerely, make a person feel good. They boost a person’s confidence and keep them from being insecure. If a person feels good when he’s with you, then you won’t have to pull him by the hair, and tie his neck to a tree with a leash just to spend some time with him, ’cause he’ll be the one who’ll start conversations with you.
7. Do use humor. Nothing breaks the ice in communication faster than a little tasteful humor. Try incorporating your natural wit into conversations. Tell a cute story, but keep it brief. And make sure he’s still listening to you while you’re at it.
8. Do smile from time to time while speaking. Nothing lightens up a conversation like a genuinely warm smile.
9. Do ask open-ended questions, not close-ended ones. Open ended questions require an explanation, closed ended questions require a “yes” or “no” answer. Not only does this give a longer conversation (so you won’t have to think of another nice topic again), it also makes your conversation very enjoyable and not boring.
10. Do include other people (e.g. your friends and his friends) in your conversation. It helps keep the atmosphere cool. This also tells him that you care about the people around you. Plus, if you’re talking to a person of the opposite gender, this’ll keep people from teasing you two.
11. Do learn to leave the conversation. It’s always better to be the first one to leave, especially if you don’t want to look like a sick puppy desperate for someone to talk to.
12. Do be expressive. Smile, use your hands to gesture, and vary your vocal tonality. At the end of playful phrases, inflect your voice upward. Exaggerate and be absurd at times. I repeat, at times. You don’t want him to think you’re too immature to be taken seriously, right?
13. Do be proud—or, at least, contented—of yourself, of who you are. How can you expect others to appreciate you if you can’t appreciate yourself?
14. Do be mindful of the things you say and/or do to a person. Make sure he’s comfortable with you before you start pointing out his flaws out loud and laughing at his mistakes. He might get offended…in a very, very bad way.
15. Do be sensitive. Oh, how people hate talking to people who can’t take a hint! Seriously, do you want to be slapped first before getting the message? Be aware of what he’s feeling. Communication isn’t just verbal; actually, a very big part of it is nonverbal. Body language? It matters a lot.
16. Do be brave enough to open up and be vulnerable to other people. Hiding behind barriers won’t get you anywhere.
17. Do be patient when you’re still starting up your relationship. Getting to know each other and earning someone’s trust takes time and patience.
18. Do be updated with what’s ‘in’ at the moment. This isn’t a must, but you will definitely have a better chance of enjoying a conversation with him if you know what most people are talking about. You won’t seem like a guy who sped his whole life under a rock.
19. Do relax and be random. Be unpredictable and fun to be with. Many people love hanging out with people who never fail to make them smile and laugh, and being random and cheerful really help do the job. What makes being random quite difficult is being natural and unique even when you’re random. You shouldn’t lose your sense of individuality. Be spontaneous. You can be random in your own little way.
20. Do enjoy. Why give this much effort when you don’t like what you’re getting?
1. Don’t be too clingy. Yes, you talk a lot now, but still, acting like an obsessed stalker is surely going to creep almost everyone out.
2. Don’t talk too much. He probably wants to talk, too.
3. Don’t change who you are, and don’t try to change who he is, too. Changing other people is fine, but not when it’s forced. Sure, you develop a new understanding of the world and other things because of your conversations, but don’t expect it to happen so quickly. Let it happen naturally, and you’ll be just fine.
4. Don’t keep everything planned and/or scripted. It practically ruins everything. And, if you keep that up, sooner or later, he will notice this and will feel like you’re gripping on his neck, forcing him to do what you want him to.
5. Don’t force yourself to make eye contact if you’re not comfortable with it. It might make the situation a little awkward, especially if you’re not that close yet.
6. Don’t try to be someone else. If he likes punk rock and you like classical music, you don’t have to pretend to like punk rock. A few times of copying his likes and dislikes might slip, but he’s gonna catch you doing it sooner or later, and he might think you’re a fake.
7. Don’t assume that you already know a person completely. You might be extremely shocked when you find out that the girl who’s always wearing nerdy glasses and long skirts can party even harder than you.
8. Don’t make your world revolve around him or your conversations. You have your own life, too.
9. Don’t assume that he’s pushing you away when he tells you that he’s busy, or does something similar to that. Remember: He might be telling the truth.
10. Don’t just talk about yourself all the time. Ask him about him—how his day went, what happened in school, what he thinks about the TV show you both watch, or why he likes his favorite game.
1. Expressive – A person who knows how to express himself is easy and interesting to talk to.
2. Confident – A confident person knows that he is worth listening to, that he is worth talking to. If you don’t think people should listen to you, how can you expect other people to think you’re worth talking to?
3. Humorous – If a person gets someone to laugh—or, at least, smile—, he’s already broken down the first layer of that person’s defense. A humorous person can easily make other people comfortable with them.
4. Sensitive – A sensitive person is good at nonverbal communication. He doesn’t need a person to tell him what that person feels; he’s already figured it out.
5. Patient – Getting to know someone and earning his trust takes time and patience.
6. Trustworthy – Earning a person’s trust isn’t as easy as it is for other people. Someone who doesn’t go back on his word and keeps his promises easily earns a person’s trust.
7. Polite – Do I still need to explain this?
8. Spontaneous – A spontaneous person, one who acts the way his mind tells him to, can express himself efficiently.
9. Adaptive – The world won’t change for the people. People adapt to the world. In our extremely uncertain world, adaptability and flexibility are good attributes to possess.
10. Updated – What are you two going to talk about if you don’t know what’s happening in this time and age? An updated person can easily find a conversation topic that both of them can talk about.
That’s about it. I hope I helped (and answered the question I was given).