Facebook share
LinkedIn share
Google plus share
Twitter plus share
Give Advice
Ask For Advice
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 25

Thread: How to stop having one sided conversations?

  1. #1
    Bronze Member FairyGodmother's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    251

    How to stop having one sided conversations?

    Hi everyone,

    I need some help on how to have better conversations with people. A bit of background: I moved to different countries alot throughout my life due to various factors incl my parent's jobs, studying abroad, and being in a long-term relationship with someone from another country. Even when I have stayed within the same country, I've moved cities alot as well. As a result I haven't had many long-term friendships. In the last couple years I found it "easier" to not have friends, maybe to avoid the disappointment of losing them when I move away? I try to keep in touch, but it never seems to work out very well.

    In any case I recently decided to put more effort into reconnecting with previous friends and making new friends. In the spirit of that, I had a video call with 3 of my high school friends yesterday. But the conversation was decidedly one sided. I do have a tendency to talk alot when I am nervous, or when other people are not talking because I feel uncomfortable with the silence. Although I am aware of this problem, I don't know how to change my behaviour? As a result the call was disappointing because alot of it was me talking at them, with them kind of interacting but not really. I did try to engage with them by asking them questions like: where are you living now? with who? what is your job like? how is your family? I received a fairly tepid response, and I did try to ask more but I also didn't want to pry into their lives if they didn't want to talk about it.

    I spoke to my partner about being disappointed after the call because I still don't really know much about what my high school friends are up to, and he said that he thinks that: 1) I would do better talking to them one on one than in a group so I don't verbal diahrrea as much and 2) I need to figure out a way to talk less by being more to the point with what I say.

    I would be really grateful for any tips you guys could give me, because it feels really isolating to want to connect with people but doing it wrong and not knowing how.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Cloud Nine
    Posts
    40,100
    Gender
    Male
    Great tips, start there. Ask more open ended rather than nosy sounding questions, LISTEN. That's it.
    Originally Posted by FairyGodmother
    1) I would do better talking to them one on one than in a group so I don't verbal diahrrea as much and

    2) I need to figure out a way to talk less by being more to the point with what I say.

  3. #3
    Bronze Member FairyGodmother's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    251
    Thanks. I guess I'm just scared that if I don't say anything that it will be silent and no one will say anything. And then if that happens maybe they won't want to talk to me again because we have nothing to say.

    But then I guess alienating people by talking too much isn't any better.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    4,103
    It's ok. I do the same thing sometimes and sometimes that's just the natural end to a conversation. I think you're being very hard on yourself too. This is the first time in how long that you've spoken with these people? They may also be thinking - gee, how lame was I there and felt like the cat got my tongue and I should really take lessons how to communicate better.

    You placed a lot of pressure on yourself to reconnect. Let go of that. It sounds very nice of all of you to even be present for a video call! The second conversation or third conversation may go better.

    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?

  5.  

  6. #5
    Platinum Member Lambert's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    N/A
    Posts
    2,912
    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.

    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.

    Maybe ask more open questions. Like:
    1. What you been interested in lately?

    2. Reference your shared connection or history in a question. Have you been back to our old school?

    3. Remember you are not responsible for the entire conversation. If you ask a few questions, pause to let them think and answer, you're holding up your end... Let them contribute, too.

    4. Focus on listening when they are talking, not on your response. That is the real key to a good conversationalist. They listen and follow the natural flow of the conversation.

    5. When you do respond ask open ended questions... How, what, why.... Not questions that require only yes or no answers.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    52,003
    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    It's ok. I do the same thing sometimes and sometimes that's just the natural end to a conversation. I think you're being very hard on yourself too. This is the first time in how long that you've spoken with these people? They may also be thinking - gee, how lame was I there and felt like the cat got my tongue and I should really take lessons how to communicate better.

    You placed a lot of pressure on yourself to reconnect. Let go of that. It sounds very nice of all of you to even be present for a video call! The second conversation or third conversation may go better.

    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?
    It's simple but not easy -you're aware of the issue so change your habit -develop a new habit where you handle the pause, the silence -without chatting to fill it in. Understand this will be hard and be ready to accept the challenge and put in the effort. I am copying Rose's quote because I think zoom is hard and on top of that it had been a long time. And ask yourself with blunt honesty -are you really interested in hearing about what they've been up to or do you just think you "should" be interested?

  8. #7
    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    10,712
    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.

    As far as any tips go, while you of course need to throw in an ice breaker somewhere, try building a conversation based on something they answer with and which you're picking up any level of enthusiasm from them on. 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. If nobody's finding anything of mutual interest to talk about from the dialogue itself, you simply may not have enough in common anymore. But easing up on the talking too much and giving them an opportunity to present themselves only gives you more fuel to pick up on their actual interests. If they're not talking much, maybe they see it as more of a forced reunion and a chore.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member melancholy123's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    6,687
    Gender
    Female
    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.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    5,025
    Gender
    Female
    Originally Posted by FairyGodmother
    In the spirit of that, I had a video call with 3 of my high school friends yesterday. But the conversation was decidedly one sided. I do have a tendency to talk alot when I am nervous, or when other people are not talking because I feel uncomfortable with the silence.
    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.

    You just need to allow yourself to sit back and let them gab.

    I rely on this a lot with my own friends, in person or on zoom meetings!

    However, if this was an impromptu reunion after years of radio silence, I can see how the silences would be awkward, and how you might need to take leadership of the situation.

    If this last scenario is the case, then I like what your partner said about talking with each of them one-on-one. Not a big huge investment, just a quick "hello" and an update here and there.

    They may never develop strong relationships with each other on a virtual platform.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    52,003
    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.
    Yes this is true and I find it's overused. I love to hear other people's stories and anecdotes and what makes them tick. i talk to myself all the time lol.Yes I used this tactic a lot -what you suggested - in professional settings - when I didn't want to reveal too much of my own personal information.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Videos


Maintaining A Strong Relationship

Detaching From a Malignant Man

Divorced Parents Prefer Technology and Social Media As Communication Tool

Wedding Jitters Could Be a Predictor for a Future Divorce

Botox Fights Depression And Makes You Feel Happier

Men Are More Sensitive than Women when Having Relationship Problems
Give Advice
Ask For Advice

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •