Hi Lifehacker, I get invited to my partner’s family dinners a few times a year, and I really struggle to find common ground. They are into travelling overseas and playing golf, while my interests are mostly gaming-related. I feel like I have nothing to contribute — I’ve even tried researching things to talk about. What can I do to contribute more to the conversation?
Nothing makes a conversation more awkward than silence. Improv comedy rules can be used to help improve your life in a lot of ways, and social encounters are no exception. Conversations are really just an improv scene anyway.
Small talk is hard. If you’re trying to really get someone to like you, FBI behavioural expert Robin Dreeke suggests that the best question to ask someone is about the challenges the faced over the week.
Not everyone is good at making small talk, and approaches like the five-stage outline can make things easier. Another key strategy? Aim for niceness rather than dazzle.
Dear Lifehacker, Every week after work we have informal drinks with the boss. I am the resident nerd and I want to find what topics of conversation are appropriate without pretending to like things that I don’t like or having to be false. I do have a decent sense of humor and can crack the boys up now and then, but I need more than that. I need to be interesting and respectful without acting like a fool or being a suck-up. What topics of conversation can I use that I am actually interested in that will engage and interest the boss and his cronies? Thanks, Conversation Starter
Hey Lifehacker, I seem to have trouble with speaking to other people (even though I levelled up to 100 in Skyrim). No matter how I talk or who I talk to, they don’t seem to “get me”. I’m often talking to a friend, colleague, client or family member, thinking I’m acting normally, only to be told told I’m “forceful” or condescending. Often another person says the exact same words I said and they don’t get called out. What am I missing to make people react to me normally? What could I do to communicate better with others? Thanks, Lost For Words
Life is full of awkward moments. We meet people who share intimate details about their personal lives after shaking our hands, others who barely have the capacity to talk, and find ourselves in delicate situations with our friends and family. In trying to relieve our discomfort, we often make matters worse, but that doesn’t have to happen. You can survive any awkward situation with the right mindset.