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Thread: How to stop having one sided conversations?

  1. #11
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    Some additional food for thought:

    This is not a job interview, so keep it light-hearted. People enjoy being with whoever is fun and interested in them. Thus, show you're interested in something they do or like, give them an honest compliment and be the best version of yourself.

  2. #12
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    I actually agree with your partner. 1:1 friendships are the best. Also, keep in mind that it takes time to cultivate, nurture and maintain friendships.

    Sometimes, it requires money, too if you're local. For example, activities, meeting for meals, tickets and the like cost money if friends are into social type entertainment.

    As for reconnecting with your high school friends, it is difficult especially if everyone went their separate ways and there were so many changes to their adult lives. You're strangers all over again and have to start fresh which isn't instantaneous. Don't have expectations. Let friendships unfold on their own without great effort. It either happens or it wasn't meant to be.

    And don't take rejection or loss of interest personally. In some ways, I am the same way. Granted in the past, I had my 'social butterfly' years but lately, I've since whittled down my socializing to only a select few friends in my life. I don't yearn nor crave a lot of friends. I only have a local BFF (from ever since I was 9 years old) and a few friends who are not BFF types. I'm busy with work, a husband, sons, local relatives and in-laws. I guess that's why. My scheduled days are packed and hectic.

    I digress, sorry. Back to you. I agree with your partner. It's difficult to have group chats because there isn't enough time and attention for one or two people. Everyone is competing for dialogue and the conversation gets either watered down or it's all over the place with various superficial chit chat. After a while, it gets really boring really fast!

    Since you've humbly admitted that you engage in one sided conversations, change yourself. With practice, you will master the art of conversing. Btw, my MIL (mother-in-law), mother and a friend always monopolize every conversation. They never come up for air! I can never get a word in edgewise which is maddening! I tend to avoid them because they're too self absorbed, selfish and so boring. My eyes glaze over and I cannot wait to make my exit!

    Try 1:1 conversations instead of group chats. Develop 1:1 friendships and treat each person as individuals instead of lumping friends into groups. You did the right thing by asking questions about their lives. In the future, ask those questions and since they're 1:1 from now on, they'll feel less self conscious. Most people don't wish to share their lives with so many witnesses abound. They prefer private chats with you.

    Know the person whom you're chatting with. Instead of generic questions, find out through your questions and past knowledge, what their interests are. It could be intellectual pursuits, books, sports, hobbies, excursions, outings, cooking, recipes, their career or the like. Dig deeper. Try to avoid personal questions such as family because often times there is personal pain which they don't wish to divulge. You were correct by not prying. People love great listeners so listen more and talk less.

    I agree with greendots. Give sincere compliments. You'll make fast friends this way! Remain gracious, humble, modest, quiet, NEVER interrupt them and make it all about them. I've practiced these traits during conversation and you'll become their new best friend!

    Most of all, remain patient AND realistic. Don't rely heavily on only electronic correspondence and communication. Once it is permissible, try developing real life, in person friendships and meet them once a week or several times a month. Something gets lost in translation whenever friendships are exclusively text, email, messages, voice mails, phone conversations, Internet video chats, etc. Good old-fashioned "let's get together" socializing trumps all else.

    Accept that everyone has different personalities and characters. Not everyone meshes well. Not everyone is compatible. Not everyone is habitually kind, well mannered, respectful, considerate and reciprocal. If there are blips in their personalities and characters which bother you, those types of friends are not for you nor will they endure. It's okay to become very picky and choosy. It's better to have one or two high quality friends than a bunch of acquaintance type friends whom you're not particularly fond of. Quality vs. quantity. Remember that.

    Pre-COVID-19, I'd invite friends or our married couple friends over for dinner and game night. Other times, we'd host a potluck party and game night. It's so enjoyable and doesn't break the bank. A lot of times friendships, don't have to be just talk talk talk. Share meal times together and game nights. Do enjoyable activities.

    Meet at a park and have a picnic. Throw a frisbee. Do something fun even with social distancing.

    I'm sorry about moving around a lot. Even though friends can be temporary, try making friends anyway. I've had friends in my past, we moved, changed jobs and drifted apart. However, I enjoyed those past friendships anyway.

    Since you have a partner, perhaps your partner and you can develop couples type friends. This is what my friends and us have been doing: We bring our own food or bring take out meals, meet at a parking lot or park which isn't too deserted nor crowded either. Then we set up our chairs all 6 ft apart in a big circle, eat and converse. It's very enjoyable, share laughter, enjoy good eats and have a change of scenery.

  3. #13
    Bronze Member FairyGodmother's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    I think you're being very hard on yourself too.
    Probably, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder so I tend to be pretty harsh to myself when I feel like I've done something wrong. It's something I'm tring to work on, but thanks for the reminder to be a bit more compassionate to myself.

    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    This is the first time in how long that you've spoken with these people?
    5 years for two of them, and incidentally it was those two it was most awkward with (maybe that should tell me something). I speak to the third one more reguarly.

    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    When you say their responses seemed tepid did you read any facial cues also? Did they seem blank or distracted with kids in the background or other things going on?
    There wasn't much going on in the background, but I would say their expressions were fairly blank. One of them actually messaged me yesterday to explain that she was upset about something, and that's why she was kind of weird on the call.

  4. #14
    Bronze Member FairyGodmother's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Lambert
    I would try pausing and counting to 7. Some people do have a lot of anxiety around silences. So as Rose said, you are being too hard on yourself.
    Thanks, I will definitely try that.

    Originally Posted by Lambert
    Maybe your questions are too pointed and not what the others really wanted to talk about or it feels more like an interview... You know explainging one's life, is not alway a quick answer.
    That is spot on, it felt exactly like I was interviewing them. I will work on asking different kinds of questions and respecting the natural flow of the conversation more.

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  6. #15
    Bronze Member FairyGodmother's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    Are you really interested in hearing about what they've been up to or do you just think you "should" be interested?
    This is a really interesting question. I did ask myself after the call when I felt like everything had gone all wrong, "what were you hoping to get out of this?".

    I guess to a certain extent it was nostalgia. I wanted to re-experience some of the easy-going, generally hilarious, friendship we had in high school 10+ years ago. They also had first hand experience of how my home life was, hint: not good, and I feel like that gave us a unique relationship as compared to other friends I've had.

    I also thought that we maybe had more in common than what we actually do. I am starting to realize that maybe we can't just jump back into our friendship as it was when we left it. I need to get to know them all over again. And it's hard because I think we might have a different perspective on alot of things, which was surprising to me.

  7. #16
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Why not stay in touch via social media. No reason to get on the dreaded Zoom bandwagon. Many people hate video calls and hate group video calls even more. Google Zoom Fatigue. Just keep your social media fresh and interesting as well as commenting positively on friends social media

  8. #17
    Bronze Member FairyGodmother's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by j.man
    Also-- not that it's at all a bad idea to reflect on your communication style-- remember that being high school friends doesn't necessarily mean you're all gonna be chummy and eager to have prolonged conversations in the present year. People change a lot. Nostalgia can only carry a lack of present-day chemistry so far.
    I think you're right, but I didn't want to accept that yesterday because it made me sad. It was easier to think that it was my fault that it was awkward because I talk too much. When, in reality, yeah I talked alot to fill the silence but the silence was there because we probably don't have that much in common anymore.

    Originally Posted by j.man
    A lot of people get bored quick when people keep too strongly to the spirit of "catching up" as a principle. They may not want to tediously paint a detailed picture of everything their life is now vs. then for you. So try to avoid going from question to question.
    It's amazing that you were able to verbalize exactly what I'm guilty of. On reflection, I think it's because I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and when I tell people about it alot of the time they understand it better if I expain how my life was growing up (violent, abusive, unstable). So I've gotten used to being in this weird story teller mode when I talk about my life.

  9. #18
    Bronze Member FairyGodmother's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by melancholy123
    People love to talk about themselves, so ask questions about what they have been doing, where they live, whatever things you want to know about. Allow them time to answer and from their answers you can find more questions to ask or things to discuss.
    I agree with this but in retrospect I've realized these people have some special circumstances which make this not applicable. To be less cryptic, we all had really bad home lives. There was alot of physical/emotional abuse, and in a way we were such good friends because we perfectly understood each other's situation. Our friendship was based on alot of avoidance i.e. fun, light hearted, care-free.

    So, without thinking, I asked them about their personal lives on the video call because we used to know everything about each other. But they were super reluctant and uncomfortable talking about themselves overall. And it felt really weird and superficial to not know anything of substance about where they live and what they're doing but talk about pop culture?

  10. #19
    Bronze Member FairyGodmother's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Jibralta
    Do these friends have their own relationships with each other? If so, they will probably fill the silence with their own banter back and forth.
    Two of them are very close, let's call them Ariana and Beyonce (lol). The other is close to me, let's call her Cher (again lol), and I thought Cher was also close to Ariana.

    However, yesterday when I was telling Cher that I was frustrated at myself for talking too much during the call she said it wasn't my fault and that she also feels that talking to Ariana is like pulling teeth. It was really surprising because they have always been close, but apparently when Cher asks Ariana about her personal life Ariana shuts down and says that Cher "wouldn't understand".

    I feel like all of this is too much "drama" for me to be honest. I barely have enough energy to deal with myself, let alone other people. Considering abandoning the idea of reconnecting with Ariana and Beyonce and just continuing my friendship with Cher.

  11. #20
    Bronze Member FairyGodmother's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by greendots
    This is not a job interview, so keep it light-hearted.
    Yes, I've realized from various replies that I need to work on this specifically. Thanks.

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