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Struggling with conversation in general


Bartok

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So here I am, typical introvert. I'd even consider myself fairly confident these days, but conversation continually baffles me. I just don't *get it*, for some reason.

 

In groups, there always seems to be one or two people who just completely dominate the conversation. They have all the attention and somehow NEVER run out of things to say! I, however, struggle with even thinking of one thing to say. Then, by the time I run it through my "stupid thing to say" filter, the appropriate time to say it has long gone. If I try to remedy this by just saying the first thing that comes to mind, I often end up bungling up the words or saying something stupid, thanks to not running it through my filter. In either case, I try to avoid interrupting people (it's rude... right?), and I HAVE to interrupt people to get a word in when people won't shut up for a second. It just seems like a no-win situation at the moment, because a select few steal all the glory and I can't seem to get close to anyone.

 

One on one, I'm not too bad, but much to my surprise, they have trouble thinking of things to say, just like I do. Even more surprising, this even happens with the most extroverted people I know! This leads me to believe that, somehow, I'm making things awkward. I don't know how, but that's the only thing I can think of. I try to be aware of my body language, I can maintain eye contact, I try to smile... but something's always off. Always.

 

Overall, conversation doesn't ever seem to come naturally to me. Yet, I still manage to make friends/acquaintances easily, and everyone seems to get along with me well and feel pretty comfortable around me (aside from the talking thing, for some reason). It's very strange.

 

I try to start up random conversations with people to improve on this - but we run into the one on one problem, again. THEY always seem to shut it down, and can't keep the conversation going any better than I can. It's just baffling, really

 

Any ideas? This is one part of my social life - probably the most important part - that I just can't seem to figure out. Something's definitely wrong, though, and I'd love to be able to fix it.

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Conversation is really an art form. People that are the center of attention in groups and conversations generally are comfortable steering and propelling conversation.

 

A really easy way to get conversation going or keep one going is to talk about something you're interested in (i.e: skiing). Talk a little bit, and then pass the ball to them (i.e: "do you do any sports?" etc). You'd be surprised how quickly conversation will bud. Remember: the key to getting conversation going when you can't think of anything to talk about is do less talking, do more asking. All people - especially girls - love to talk about themselves. It's human nature. If you can get someone talking about something they like or themselves, things will just keep going from there.

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I am exactly the same. Been working on body language, eye contact, not crossing arms, etc., and am far more confident than I used to be. But ask me to make conversation? I can moan at length about politics or religion, or my love life, but actual conversation I can't do. I don't have anythingI'm interested in that I can talk about without offending or boring people, so I self censor myself on those things. My brain just completely dries up for small-talk.

 

Saying that, there are a few people I'm excessively comfortable around, and there my one-liners are always killers. I can't seem to carry this accross to any sphere where I really need it, though, like dating

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I wish I could give you the remedy to your problem, but I'm also ridiculously awful at steering and maintaining conversation. I've always been more of a listener/commentator. And I actually hate talking about myself because it makes me feel like I'm egotistical. Back in middle school with those friends or with my brother I could make conversation easily and I am so much more relaxed and can joke around freely. I've come to the mindset that if I don't have a funny story to tell, then whatever I say won't be interesting, so then I will just close up, ugh.

 

I think alot of it is the people around you. Some people you are just not going to click with and so conversation will be hard. But I would also recommend observing other's conversations like someone else said (feels like eaves-dropping, but is probably a good way to learn). Some people talk about the most mundane things, but they can make it sound more interesting.

 

Something else is expanding your interests and getting to know alot about it. If you're into a band, a movie, a sport or something, learn more about it and then you have a conversation topic. My problem is I am interested in alot of things but just slightly, I do them passively so I do not gain much to make a conversation with. It's always good to have something you're passionate about, people like that.

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they somehow NEVER run out of things to say!

I used to think this was the key, but no longer. In fact, I spent some time trying to think of general topics to talk about that I could use in any conversation, but I don't think this is really the issue.

 

You have just as many things to say as "they" do -- if you listen to what they're talking about, you probably don't think that highly of their *topics*. It's their storytelling style that you envy, and it's their storytelling style that keeps people enjoying or tolerating them talking on and on and on.

 

What I (and you) need is practice telling our stories in intriguing, exciting ways. You can talk about the most pointless crap, or the most boring thing (like standing in line at the bank) if you tell it in an exciting way.

 

Unfortunately, I don't have any advice how to do this. Maybe exercise by picking something exceptionally boring and try to describe it (in private) in a way that would get people to listen to you.

 

But don't try to come up with a list of topics, that's pointless. Anything in your life is a topic. Good luck!

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I've had this exact same problem my entire life. Lately I've worked on it and have improved slightly, but I still run into the same issues every now and then. With good friends, I have no problem talking or being stupid/random. But around people I don't know well it's just extremely awkward and uncomfortable. I hate it.

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