how can I make small talk when meeting new people

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Richard2989
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30 Jul 2020, 7:44 am

What are the list of dos and don'ts of making small talk? I'm socially awkward.



kraftiekortie
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30 Jul 2020, 7:59 am

Talking about the weather is a good form of small talk.

It just so happens that weather is one of my special interests.

Avoid talking about religion, sex, or politics when you first meet somebody. Talking about your family is good.



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30 Jul 2020, 12:00 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Talking about your family is good.


But not in too much detail. Pets are a safer topic, or just animals in general.



kraftiekortie
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30 Jul 2020, 2:30 pm

I meant in general....not the grimy details.



quite an extreme
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30 Jul 2020, 7:27 pm

Ask them who they are and what job they have and what they are doing. Think about what they are telling, tell your opininion and tell about things that enter your mind while thinking about the stuff you are talking about. Skip talking about special interests and hobbies.


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31 Jul 2020, 11:58 am

When I know I'm going into a social situation, I make a mental list of topics to bring up so I don't spend the entire time sitting there saying nothing.



Volpe
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05 Aug 2020, 2:24 pm

I am reasonably good at this. My advice is to focus the conversation on the other person you are conversing with. Ask them what they are doing at the weekend and pick up in things that they say in their answer. If the old lady next door mentions her son is visiting maybe ask about him ‘what does he do’ ‘where is he visiting from’. Then you can wish them well in their activities. Maybe the person you are talking to will mention their job then ask about that. You will always find follow up questions and this shows you are listening.

Maybe they will ask about you in turn. This is ok just keep things light and maybe talk about where you are going, doing at the weekend or your job or family. Nothing too deep or heavy just surface level conversation.

Also remember context is important. If there is a lady on the train with her headphones in or reading, watching something it is rude to interrupt her and try and talk. Normally people will make eye contact or offer a conversation starter if they wish to speak.

I hope this helps someone.



magz
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05 Aug 2020, 2:42 pm

I found out a lot of people are most happy to find someone who just listens to them.
One of the safer strategiees is just encourage the other person to do all the talking.


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Volpe
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05 Aug 2020, 3:46 pm

magz wrote:
I found out a lot of people are most happy to find someone who just listens to them.
One of the safer strategiees is just encourage the other person to do all the talking.


Yes. I very much agree with this. People like to talk about their self.



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05 Aug 2020, 6:27 pm

Number one rule I learned: don't worry about specific topics you have to memorize and bring up. Start with one or two easy ones, and then work out from there based on the keywords they give you.

For example:

You: "So, what did you do this weekend?"

Them: "Oh, not much. Just walked the dog down to the park and back."
(So, here, you can ask them about the dog, or the park, or both)

You: "I love dogs. What kind of dog do you have?" and/or, "Is the park far from your place?" (or something like those.)

Them: "I have a dachshund. The park is a about 6 blocks from us. We don't go often but it's pretty."
(Just keep on the keywords they are dropping... more about the dog? more about the park? Who's 'we'? Why is the park pretty)

You: "I bet your dog is so cute! My grandmother had a dachshund when I was in grade school. It's name was Biscuit. Is there a dog park at the park you go to?"
(since you dropped some keywords about your grandma's dog, they may feed those back to you, as well, now)

Them: What a cute name for a dog! Yes, there's a dog park there, but our dog Joe mostly likes going to the lake there. I like that too. Lots of ducks."
(and so on and so on as long as you need to.)

Once I practiced listening for keywords and feeding them back as questions, I've not had problems with small talk. And I don't have anxiety about it any more, either.

As for starter questions, practice never asking a question that can be answered with a yes or no. Because that's all you'll likely get. Then dead air.

I usually start with "What did you do this weekend?" because (for some odd reason) everyone is expected to have an answer to that so they are quite likely to give you one you can get keywords from. If that won't work, what do you obviously have in common right this minute? Like, you're at a wedding, so "How do you know the bride/groom?", or, you're both in school together, so "What classes are you taking this semester?" And so on.

This took me some time to master - I had to be willing to keep practicing and examining when what I was doing was working and not and then make adjustments. Sometimes I asked trusted-others for feedback.

But it was all totally worth it, because people compliment me on my small talk now. And it's amazing how it deflects negative attention from you at times, as well.


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14 Sep 2020, 3:28 pm

More often than not, I find it best to exercise a neutrality of sorts" in small talk - this is especially true with neighbors known only on a first name basis.



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15 Sep 2020, 5:21 am

Talk softly while kneeling. :mrgreen:


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17 Sep 2020, 3:17 pm

Making small-talk when meeting new people has become a challenge with the COVID pandemic - that the organized activities e.g., arts & recreation have been largely postponed/cancelled. Such activities would otherwise be ripe for inviting small-talk.

Again, with opportunities for small-talk greatly reduced, making small-talk with staff at favorite hangouts e.g, coffee-houses, eateries are options which are currently hard to find.

With HFA, many of us have already become used-to imagining how participating in various social activities might progress.



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18 Sep 2020, 11:14 pm

I will admit I am not that great at starting small talk, but I found asking questions is the best and it works really well if the person you are conversing with is outgoing. I like to start with the usual how are you, what do you do for a living, type questions. Somewhere in the conversation a topic will come up we both have an interest in and if not more detailed questions about job tasks, past vacations, school, etc.. will be asked.

The worse case scenarios I have been in involve miscommunication at networking events. To save these conversations I try to go back to a topic or question I know we are both interested in or I need/want to know more about. I also find complements work well even if it is something simple such as "I like your shirt" if I don't know someone at all.