Sometimes people just don’t want to talk. It’s important to remember that as you consider how to keep a conversation going. If they clam up, and you keep trying, then you are just going to annoy or anger them, and that will be counterproductive to anything you are trying to achieve – unless you are trying to annoy or anger them! But for the most part, people want to talk, and sometimes it is necessary to keep the conversation going so that you can resolve a problem that you are having.
Whether you want some tips on how to keep a conversation going on a date, over text, when tensions are high, during an important conversation, or with a stranger, this article has some pointers to help you out.
Keep A Conversation Going On A Date
On a date, you have three goals: make them comfortable, make them like you, and keep things fun. You can accomplish all of these things through conversation, and the longer you keep the conversation going, the better in many cases. So, following is how to keep a conversation going that accomplishes each aspect.
1. Make Them Comfortable
On a date, you are getting to know someone, not getting ready for marriage. Therefore, your conversation should be personal enough to get to know them, but not so heavy that they feel weird about you. The conversation should steer towards their interests, hobbies, likes, dislikes, and recent experiences, but it should not be focused on beliefs or personal history. Most people don’t want to discuss such personal things with someone they don’t know well.
Therefore, if you want to keep the conversation going, avoid asking about religion, marriage, kids, parenting preferences, or other heavy things that are reserved for people who are already dating. Stick to the lighter topics, such as what they enjoy doing and why, what they dislike doing and why, and what they did during the day before the date. All of these topics will ensure they feel comfortable, keep the conversation going, and help things from getting awkward.
2. Make Them Like You
By avoiding deep and personal questions, you will help them like you more. But, if you want to really make them like you, then keep the conversation going with topics that interest them and paint you in a good light. Take their interests, share how you relate to them, and your conversation will go on forever.
For instance, if they are animal activists, then talking about your pet bunny or cat can help spark a long conversation that creates warmth towards you. Or, if they have a huge family that they are close to, then talking about how close your family is will help them relate to you and feel a connection, which is very important for getting them to like you!
3. Keep Things Fun
When the conversation starts to die or get too serious, use your humor to lighten things up and get back on track. It’s very hard to give advice on how to be funny in a conversation; however, the best advice I can give is to avoid ‘jokes’ and constant attempts at making your date laugh, and make sure you take your character into consideration. If you make fun of someone walking by, and your date takes offense, then you are not only going to stop the conversation, but you are going to stop the chance of getting another date.
The best thing to do is avoid making fun of people or things and, instead, focus on the humor in the situation when it is called for. For instance, if you are unable to get a table at the place you planned to go to, then humor can help keep the date from going south. You can suggest something fancier. How about McDonalds? This will help chase away any upset feelings and ensure that you start engaging in positive conversation again.
Keep A Conversation Going Over Text
Over text, some people don’t feel the need to reply when you tell them something – even if you feel it is important. Sometimes people figure reading the text is enough, and a conversation can be hard to start. But, it’s not impossible.
The rule of thumb is engagement. You want to give someone a reason to engage with your text. That means you need to spark their curiosity, relate to them on some level, or make them want to share something with you.
1. Spark Their Curiosity
This is something that TV shows use to keep you coming back again and again. When someone is curious about what you mean or what is going to happen next, they will definitely reply and engage in a conversation with you. You can spark their curiosity by leaving your texts open-ended.
For instance, let them know that you are going out to the best Italian restaurant in the world tonight. They will want to know which one it is, and their curiosity will force them to ask. Or, let them know that you have decided to take on a new hobby because it is known to increase genius in people. Again, their curiosity will get the best of them and they will likely ask you what the hobby is.
2. Relate To Them
I use this in my texts all the time. People want to talk about the things that matter to them or that they are focused on at the time. Sending a text about how great the movie you saw was last night will not start a conversation, it will likely get a one word response or no follow-up. But, telling them that the main actor in the movie reminded you of them will relate to them and make them more willing to engage in a conversation.
And, if you ask them questions about themselves, then they will usually start engaging quickly. People just like to talk about themselves and what they are focused on. Therefore, asking them if they are alright, enjoying themselves, or having a productive day, are all questions that allow them to easily share things that they are currently thinking about or focused on and get to them to engage in a conversation.
3. Make Them Want To Share
Lastly, you can try being someone who they will want to share something with. Being open, non-judgmental, and curious are all ways to get someone to talk on text and keep a conversation going. By letting them know that you just want to listen to them, without giving them advice or your opinion, you can get someone to open up and share their thoughts, worries, or problems – even through a text conversation.
When Texting Is Too Hard…
What happens if someone constantly texts you ‘lol’ or just plugs in a few emoticons after each text you send? How can you keep the conversation going if they refuse to actually reply with something intelligent? How you keep the conversation going if they do not enjoy texting? You can’t!
If they are unwilling to reply with something back, then you can’t force them to talk. A conversation requires two people to be involved, and if you can’t get them to play along, then stop trying because you will just get frustrated with the lack of response. Wait until you get them on the phone or see them in person to talk to them.
Keep A Conversation Going When Tensions Are High
When you find yourself in a conversation where tensions are high, it will be easy to want to shut it down. But, if issues need to be resolved, then it is important to keep the conversation going. How can you do that?
First, get out of your head. Don’t see things only from your point of view. Allow yourself to get in the other person’s head and try to see things from their perspective. When you start to feel compassion towards how they feel, you won’t feel so attacked and the tension on your end will start to decrease, which will help you do and say things that decrease their tension too.
Let them know that you understand where they are coming from. Repeat how they feel back to them so they really get a sense that you are compassionate towards their point of view. When you do that, they will be less defensive and unable to hear you, and more willing to listen to you and what you have to say.
Second, do not blame, accuse, or try to make someone feel guilty during a conversation, especially when tensions are high. The more you point the finger, the more defensive they will get and the more they will shut down. You need to let them know that you are not attacking them as a person, but, rather, trying to find a solution where you both are happy. Let them know, in one way or another, that you understand that you both have a different opinion, and you don’t think yours is more right than theirs.
Lastly, make sure you make your point of view clear instead of just saying ‘how it is’. For instance, if you are telling someone that they need to quit smoking because it is affecting their health negatively, then you need to make sure they understand where you are coming from. Letting them know that you’ve quit smoking and have experience can help. Letting them know that you love them and are concerned about them can help. Letting them know that you watched someone die because of smoking can help. The trick is to get them out of their own head and understand where you are coming from.
Keep A Conversation Going During An Important Conversation
When a conversation is uncomfortable it can be tempting to end it, but often the most uncomfortable conversations are the most needed, and they can create some much needed results. For example, if you and a friend have had a fight, then you are going to need to have an uncomfortable conversation if you want to resolve it. So, here’s how to keep a conversation going when it is uncomfortable: just keep talking.
Keep expressing your side of things, listening to their side of things, and working together to figure it all out. Eventually you will find that a resolution will come and the relief felt will be huge. Moreover, your connection will strengthen because you have made it through a tough conversation together.
I have a great example. A friend of mine had talked behind someone’s back, and as the gossip spread, she knew that the person was going to find out. She decided that she wanted to be the one to let them know that she had talked behind their back, so she approached them and started an uncomfortable conversation about what she had done, why she had done it, and how horrible she felt. It was hard for both of them to talk about, but once it was over, she realized how much this person meant to her and never talked behind her back again.
Keep A Conversation Going With A Stranger
Strangers will normally give you a lead into a conversation. They will tell you something about themselves or their day or their interests, likes, or dislikes. They don’t just talk random nonsense to a stranger. So, all you have to do is play off what they say to keep the conversation going.
For instance, if a stranger says, “I find that this store is often out of fresh produce,” then they have just given you an opening to start any type of conversation you want. You could follow with pretty much anything that relates.
– “Do you come here often?”
– “Do you have any idea why that is?”
– “What kind of produce do you normally come here for?”
– “Are there any other stores around here that typically have fresh produce?”
– “Have you ever thought about growing your own produce?”
The chances are good that they will give you an intelligent and descriptive answer to make their point clear, and then you can just ride off that to keep the conversation going.
If you don’t want to ask questions, you can simply reply with something about yourself, and that will encourage them to ask a question.
– “I usually buy only frozen stuff from here.”
– “There is a store down the street that has great produce.”
– “I love it when the farmer’s market opens up in the spring.”
2 Reasons Why Questions Are Usually Important To Keep The Conversation Going
It’s important to know that people like to talk about themselves more than they like to hear about you. If you are the one trying to keep a conversation going, then asking questions is a much easier and more lucrative option.
Moreover, if the person you are talking to in any situation is an introvert, then questions are the way to go. Why? Because introverts spend a lot of time thinking! They have a lot of insight, but they don’t often share their insight with other people. They tend to listen until someone encourages them to talk, and then – like all humans, they enjoy sharing what they know and think with other people. Therefore, if the person seems shy, and they are not playing off your thoughts or opinions, ask them about theirs.