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3 Tips for Better Small Talk

Self-help writer. I write about becoming one's best self and friend to others.

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One of the most rewarding things in life is having meaningful discussions. There's only one problem: It's really difficult. As an extremely introverted and recovering shy person, I know it takes a lot of work to open up to people and overcome the barrier of communication.

However, I've discovered that following a few simple rules can help you relax and focus on what matters most. Here are four tips for having more meaningful interactions in a distracted world so you may create true relationships.

Avoid Forced Conversations

When I was in college, I had a roommate who traveled with her family every summer. She was kind, witty, and full of life. Her stories were great. She wouldn't stop talking. I frantically attempted to keep up with everything she crammed into my head, which was already sluggish than Internet Explorer with 10 tabs open.

What is the issue? I never asked for her to tell me these stories. Our moods, personalities, and hobbies were all out of sync. Her perspective on these situations triggered me.

What's the best thing to do when drawn into these conversations? Don't try to make a conversation work. Instead, be polite and excuse yourself. Make yourself available for conversations you enjoy.

Here's something I learned far too late: every discussion does not have to be significant. You will not share the same ideals, hobbies, or personality with everyone you meet. This isn't to say that you can't have a productive discourse with someone who holds opposing opinions or viewpoints.

It is to say that conversations are a two-way street. If you let someone control the narrative, at least make sure you enjoy their company.

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No Phones

Conversations are sabotaged by digital devices.

Conversations are intended to take you away from your devices. It makes you aware of the people around you. As a result, you experience real human interaction. You learn more than the face value news that social media provides, but hear stories about other people's lives. And learn that you are not alone in your success or struggle.

Conversations are about the other person. Try to hold off before asking for favors or contact details. If you are feeling good about the chat, suggest meeting to talk again and have them decide to share their contact information.

Even if, you feel awkward and afraid because you do not know anyone, avoid using your device for a long time. Device usage makes you less approachable at networking events. How do I feel when someone uses their phone around me?

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It makes me feel as though I've suddenly lost my significance. I start to believe that what's going on on the screen is more intriguing than what we're saying. It makes me feel like I'm wasting my time.

Many people feel the same.

Put your phone in airplane mode. I understand how difficult it is. One of the most useful skills is paying complete attention to the person with whom you're conversing. It shows you listen and care, and the other person will also want to listen and care about you.

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Swap Stories

Exchange personal stories. Stories give small talk more meaning. Stories are the secret to lasting friendships. When people stop telling us about their lives, relationships break down. The reason? You feel like we don't know the other person anymore.

What is the antidote?

Talk about your feelings. If you do not want to get personal, chat about your morning commute or an event that happened to you at the mall. You can reveal details about yourself while being careful and non-specific. It all depends on your approach.

Hopes, fears, stories, failures, victories help humans form bonds and seem less robotic. When you reveal information about yourself, the other person tends to return the favor.

Vulnerability leads to deeper conversations and relationships. Remember, you're in control. You decide how many details about yourself you are okay revealing.

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Small Talk Can Be Wonderful

I'm still learning the best approach to conversations.

If we met to talk, it won't be the most memorable one ever. But I will always try to give you my full attention and connect over stories. If this effort leads nowhere and I feel the vibe is off, I will let you leave and not force the conversations.

Those are the behaviors most people hope for when speaking to someone. And the good news is making good small talk is a learned skill. So, the best you can do is keep learning and improving.

© 2021 Kandice Fyffe

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