Making Friends and Great Conversation

by AEA on January 1, 2010

Topics of Conversation

Most people love to have a conversation with others, even if they are an introvert or very shy. However getting the conversation started can be difficult for some. You can always talk about the weather, a game, movies, headline news, family or an unlimited number of other topics. These topics are usually good for some small talk but don’t make for a very lengthy or meaningful conversation.

conversation topicsThe two most important things to remember is to “listen” and that “people love to talk about themselves”. Just remembering these two things and having a great conversation from start to finish will be much easier.

Introduce yourself early in the conversation if there is anyone you do not know.Knowing other people’s names and a little about each person, makes the conversation much easier. Use people’s names during the conversation.

Once you know a little about someone, you can use this to start a conversation by asking something about themselves; their job, hobbies or involved activities. With people you have just met, make small talk first and don’t get too personal.

Some people tend to dominate the conversation, be a little self-centered and feel the need to have the best story. It is much better to listen to what others are saying, this will give you many ways to expand the conversation.Remember what you have learned about the other person and then ask related questions. You need to be genuinely interested in the other person’s view. Don’t change the subject abruptly but try to continue the flow of conversation.

Making Friends through Conversation

Friends and good conversation make for an enjoyable time. There are many benefits when people gather and enjoy each other’s company. People can learn, get help and enjoy each others company through conversation. Here are a few more hints to help:

Introduce yourself – make sure you know the name and a little about each person within the conversation. Be genuinely interested in each person.

Listen – the most important part of any conversation is what you learn from others by listening. Focus and pay attention to the person who is speaking, this will give you some thoughts that you can inject into the conversation later. Keep eye contact with the person speaking and give some signs that you do understand what they are saying.A good conversationalist must be a good listener first.

Ask questions – a good way to keep a conversation going is to ask questions. This also lets the other person know that you are paying attention and are interested. Questions are ways to lean more about the person speaking, not just the topic of conversation.What is the reason you wanted to have a conversation with the person in the first place? If the conversation is about something you know little about, take this opportunity to ask questions and learn.

Be yourself – don’t be afraid to be yourself and accept others for who they are. Don’t show your insecurity by making negative comments about others. If there is someone you just don’t like being around, try to avoid them if you can. If not, be the better person and ignore many of their comments and forget any rivalry

Topics to avoid – be careful when asking personal questions, speaking about politics, religion or any topic that could generate an argument. This is especially true with people who are not good friends.

Summarize – many times if there is a question on what someone has said, repeat back in your own words and ask if you understand what they said correctly. This can be used also if you just don’t have another response but do this on a very limited basis.

Difference of opinions – people have different opinions which are what makes a conversation interesting. However don’t disagree just to disagree. If you do disagree with a certain point but the point is of little importance, ignore it and move on. If you feel that it is important to point out some difference of opinion, do it politely.Differences of opinions help make a conversation interesting but too much disagreeing can make a conversation uncomfortable for others. And agreeing with every point makes for a dull conversation. If you feel the need to explain an opposing viewpoint, express it simply and without putting the other person on the defensive.

Plan ahead – if you know in advance that you will be speaking with certain people, plan ahead to come up a few thoughts relative to their interests.

Be sincere – when contributing to a conversation, believe in what you are saying, don’t just say something for the sake of talking.

The don’ts – don’t swear or curse, don’t interrupt, don’t try to finish what someone else is saying, don’t mumble, and don’t talk too loudly.

Words to avoid – there are certain words that should be avoided or limited when possible. The word “but” sounds disagreeable, use the word “and” instead. Others filler words like “and um”, “like um”, and “you know” are just an annoyance to others.

The flow – at times the conversation will seem to stop. This is a great time when you can bring up a point you thought about earlier, ask a question or summarize a point for clarification. If the conversation just seems over for this topic, it may be time to transition to another topic. Try to leave every conversation on a positive note.

By AJ Haas

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