5 ways to ease the tension of awkward conversations

Many of us have had those moments, those painful interactions that just make us want to melt into the floor in embarrassment and horror.

You know, like that time a cashier said, “Enjoy your ice cream” and you replied, “You’re welcome.”

Or that time a cute guy/girl tried to make conversation with you, and you ended up saying something along the lines of, “Right — no, it was in the — I mean, after that time…yeah,” before trailing off into the abyss known as conversational death.

So here are some tips to try to avoid having these interactions on a daily basis, and maybe even improve on your small talk skills while you’re at it.

 

Laugh

Disclaimer: this is a tip that requires balance.

No one wants to listen to your fake laugh for 10 minutes straight.

But this is a good way to fill some silence, and it can also put your conversational partner at ease as well.

 

Consider context

Listen.

Talking with your grocer about the cancerous mole you just had removed is not appropriate.

And it’s also gross.

 

Keep it short and sweet

If you’re a rambler, and you tend to go on and on, this might be helpful for you.

Just know when to stop.

 

Ask them questions

No one knows any topic better than themselves.

Get them talking about their day or what is going on in their lives.

I promise, everyone wants someone to listen to them talk about themselves.

 

Create a repertoire of excuses

In the worst case scenario — as in you have started a conversation and you know you are losing ground as far as conversational topics go — get out of there.

Usually if you just say that you have to get going, no one will continue to push conversation.

by Ryan Rothkopf

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