Conversation: A how to guide on talking to people.


I know we’ve all been there, sitting in a room all by our lonesome trying desperately to find an excuse to leave and be alone.

Well there’s hope for you.

Well… not really… For some of you there is this thing called Social Anxiety Disorder. If you have that, you might want to stop reading and go find a professional who can help you. I’m not a professional, I am an awesome dude with witty skills and a funny aptitude for making everyone laugh around me, but I don’t know anything about Social Anxiety Disorder.

ANYWAY! Now that those helpless people have decided to stop reading, lets get back to the real work.

First we’ll discuss how to respond, and later on we’ll discuss how to bring up a topic.

1. How to respond

If  you’re like me, you probably like trolling your family and friends by responding to their conversation starters with bold and unique critiques on themselves or generally ripping them a new one.

Friend A: I was at Mcdonalds the other-

Me: yeah I bet you were.

Here’s another example:

Friend B: I was listening to Barack Obama and-

Me: OH!? You listen to politicians? Looks like this country is already lost.

Or,

Friend C: Your mom was over at my house yesterday and-

Me: Be careful how you proceed.

Crafting responses like these does nothing to further the conversation. If you are looking to have no friends, die alone in your apartment while your neighbors smell your fetid corpse weeks after your demise, but have lots of laughs before you die.  Then please stop reading.

SWEET!  Now that the trolls have stopped reading, lets use this diagram and we will begin to craft responses to common statements made by your friends.

In any conversation, we have 4 responses we can make.

  1. To the statement uttered
  2. How that statement makes us feel.
  3. How the statement uttered makes us feel about PERSON A.
  4. A completely tangential statement that may or may not have anything to do with the first statement.

For example,

Person A: I recently finished reading the book, Gone with the wind, It was a good read.

1. Is it better or different than the movie?

2. Isn’t that book like a thousand pages? No thanks, I’ll stick to comics and movies.

3. Wow you must be smart for reading a book thats longer than 100 pages.

4. Did you know the south was right about the civil war?

As you can see, this is how you respond to any statement uttered by one of your friends or strangers you run into in your life. Notice too that 3 out of the 4 were questions, questions are great as they continue the conversation. A question implies that you want an answer.

2. How to make a conversation starter

If you’re one of those people that thinks everything you do or say is funny or interesting you might want to stop reading. No one thinks you’re funny or clever or interesting, your friends are just being nice to you.

Ok cool, now that the self centered assholes are gone lets talk about proper conversation starters.

The first rule about conversation starters is NEVER MAKE IT ABOUT YOU.  If its something that happened to you that has ample relevance to your friend John or Mary then yes. Otherwise, write it in your journal.

You: I saw a horrible car accident today and it looked like 14yr old or maybe he was 16, and this kid was driving a Mercedes Benz. Who lets a 16 yr old drive a Mercedes Benz? (*RELEVANCE* John and Mary have a son who is 16 and just got a BMW for his birthday.)

You: I was late returning the movies to blockbuster yesterday, not sure I want to go back and face the late fees. (*RELEVANCE* Your son just got a job at Netflix and you want to make him feel better about being a janitor at the office.)

And there you have it. thats it, thats you talk to people. Ultimately the goal is to have thoughtful coherent and insightful conversation, otherwise just go for a laugh.

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About MaximumWage

I don't wear shoes. And I habitually reinvent myself, like the wheel.
This entry was posted in Jobs, Life and the American Way and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Conversation: A how to guide on talking to people.

  1. BrainRants says:

    To think that all these years I was doing it wrong.

  2. Tess Kann says:

    I don’t even want to read the details but you have something there.

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