We’ve all been stuck in boring conversations, whether at work or at a family gathering. From the guy at the bar who talks about exotic beetles to your in-laws who don’t let you finish a sentence, one-sided conversations can be draining.
Keeping a conversation going is easy if you have some small anecdotes to tell and questions to ask.
1. Keep it short
Keeping a conversation interesting takes practice. But the good news is that there are endless opportunities to practice. You can chat up the customer support agents at your favorite online retailer, or you can ask questions of the mechanic down the street.
One of the best ways to keep a conversation going is to ask open-ended questions. This will allow the person you’re talking to to talk about their own experiences and interests. For example, you could ask them about the last book they read or movie they watched. You can also try to get them interested in new things by talking about things that you enjoy as well.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
A lot of people shy away from asking questions because they worry about looking foolish or offending the person they are talking with. But the truth is that asking questions can help you keep a conversation going and make you look more intelligent.
There are a few things that you shouldn’t ask in a conversation (personal finance, politics, and religion), but asking general questions like “How do you spend your free time?” and “What is the best thing about your job” can help keep the conversation going.
It also helps to show genuine interest in the person you are talking with. People love to talk about themselves and when you show a real interest, they will be more likely to open up.
3. Be curious
Curiosity is a powerful tool. It can help us see the world in new ways and find solutions to complex problems. Curiosity is also a key factor in effective communication.
Avoid overdone topics like, “How are you?” or “What are you doing tonight?” Instead, try to ask questions that are more engaging.
For example, you can ask about her favorite hobbies or her plans for the future. This shows that you are interested in her and are willing to learn more about her. It will also make her feel more comfortable talking to you.
4. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable
People are more interesting when they’re vulnerable. Sharing a little bit of yourself, even the weird quirks or embarrassing mistakes, makes you more relatable and engaging.
Sometimes a conversation can just flatline and you might feel trapped in it. You might start to feel like you’re yelling into the void. You might start looking for a friend to come save you from the conversation.
It is important to know that you can politely enlist a friend to help you get out of the boring conversation without making yourself look like a jerk. You can simply give them the “save me” look.
5. Don’t be afraid to say no
It’s difficult to say no, especially when we don’t want to sound rude. However, agreeing to things we don’t really want to do just because it seems easier in the moment is a bad habit that can leave us feeling overwhelmed & stressed.
Besides being more respectful, saying no is also healthier. It allows for more space and time in our lives for the unexpected surprises that life brings to us.
If you’re nervous about being able to smoothly say no, practice on small things first. It can be as simple as declining a telemarketer or an upsell at the store.
6. Don’t be afraid to say yes
Saying yes is not always easy. It can sometimes feel like you’re saying no to something that could have a positive long-term effect and instead choosing something that might hurt you or someone else.
But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t say yes. In fact, it’s important that you do.
This is because saying yes opens you up to new opportunities and challenges. It can also be a great way to improve your skills. For example, if someone asks you to give them a presentation, you could say yes.
7. Don’t be afraid to end the conversation
When a conversation gets dull, it is perfectly natural to run out of things to say. This doesn’t mean the conversation is dead, it just means that you need to find a way to break out of the cycle and bring the topic back to life.
The best way to do this is by using your body language. For example, you can back away from the person or start to turn your face in a different direction. You can also use small cues like yawning to indicate that you are ready for the conversation to end.