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The Zen of Shooting the Shit

If you find social interactions to be a breeze, can you impart some of your wisdom on this envied ability? [more inside]
posted by oceanview on Sep 23, 2014 - 35 answers

I just need to *sound* smart

All of a sudden, I've found myself in more challenging academic circumstances, surrounded by more advanced students and really incredible faculty (yay!). But, I'm constantly afraid that what I have to say is dumb. How do I address that so that I'm not afraid to start participating? [more inside]
posted by R a c h e l on Sep 13, 2014 - 13 answers

let me ask you a question. And tell you the answer

I am the sort of person I can't stand - an uptight conversationalist. Please help me be less controlling in conversation. [more inside]
posted by serenity soonish on Sep 8, 2014 - 12 answers

Personal Responsibility, My Ass

A close-ish friend and colleague of mine has started to show his true colors in the past few weeks with inflammatory statements on various social issues. I am disgusted, but I want to turn our conversations into learning opportunities. He's just now starting to realize that his beliefs are problematic and he's open to educating himself, but I don't even know where to start. [more inside]
posted by chara on Aug 27, 2014 - 21 answers

How do I come off as smarter?

If you come off as dumb and/or uninformed in social situations, how do you correct this? [more inside]
posted by dekathelon on May 31, 2014 - 67 answers

Sound of Silence

Can these conversational hiccups be saved? [more inside]
posted by bookgirl18 on May 8, 2014 - 23 answers

Name that trope

A conversation is in progress. Scene cuts for travel to a new location. Conversation picks right back up at the new location as if there was no time in between. Is there a name for this trope? Bones is a show that seems to have it in every opening sequence. As travel in DC is far from instant, it is like they stop talking for 30 minutes to 2 hours sometimes. Is there a name for it?
posted by slavlin on Mar 24, 2014 - 2 answers

Help me remember a radio story I heard on NPR

There was a story/performance I heard on some (probably NPR) radio show within the last 10 years. It was a man and a woman meeting at a party, and instead of saying things to each other they described what they would say to each other, kind of a meta-conversation. [more inside]
posted by benito.strauss on Feb 6, 2014 - 7 answers

Conversational podcasts?

Looking for podcasts that could best be described as "really smart people shooting the breeze." Favorite examples would the various Slate podcasts that feature three writers discussing a range of topics, as well as NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour. The subject matter can be about anything, though looking for something a bit more conversational and wide-ranging than, say, a panel of experts discussing their fields. Any suggestions?
posted by decoherence on Jan 9, 2014 - 33 answers

Married to our jobs, but seeing each other on the side

How do I avoid shop talk on dates? [more inside]
posted by Sara C. on Jan 8, 2014 - 34 answers

How can I assert my dislike of something more effectively?

How do you honestly and politely let someone know when you don't like something that they absolutely love without opening the door for them to try and convert you into liking it? [more inside]
posted by These Birds of a Feather on Dec 28, 2013 - 24 answers

How can I engage in better conversation and avoid boredom?

I'm tired of dreading large social gatherings where I am bored/bore people. How do I step up my game and engage people in conversation such that it is enjoyable and interesting for all involved? I want to avoid small talk. Please give me tips, tricks, mantras to make it better! [more inside]
posted by kendrak on Dec 22, 2013 - 28 answers

Is my therapist's definition of "social currency" correct?

Recently I spent hours with a former co-worker gossiping about our former workplace. We didn't actually connect or strengthen our own friendship; I just felt shitty after. My therapist labeled this conversation/habit "social currency" because workplace gossip was something impersonal to talk about that could ease conversation, but didn't result in actual sharing. But I've Googled the phrase and don't see "social currency" defined in that way. Is there a phenomenon by another name that she was referring to? [more inside]
posted by whenbynowandtreebyleaf on Dec 19, 2013 - 10 answers

Help me choose a name, book club edition

I'm starting a book club and need to come up with a name. [more inside]
posted by ambrosia on Nov 20, 2013 - 17 answers

Catgotmytongueasana

I'm a single guy. I go to a yoga class. There are lots of attractive women in my yoga class. I'd like to talk to some of them, but I suck at talking to strangers. I need prescripted lines. Not pickup lines, just making-a-basic-connection lines. Ideas please. [more inside]
posted by zeri on Nov 12, 2013 - 41 answers

Elvis can't figure out how to leave the building

Help me learn to exit conversations, interrupt people, and generally be more assertive with the big groups I'm in charge of. [more inside]
posted by hereticfig on Nov 10, 2013 - 13 answers

How do I improve my "offensive game" in the sport of socializing?

I just got back from a party, and I noticed one major problem I have with socializing. I'll try to describe the problem here. It feels like I am bad at directing the flow of conversation back to the person. It's as if the person is oppressing me with his/her words. Instead of bouncing the conversation back, I simply bear it, and respond weakly with an answer that suffices. [more inside]
posted by wuMeFi on Oct 20, 2013 - 14 answers

Place to read and talk all afternoon in London

Where can my girlfriend and I sit down, relax, read, and talk for a long while during our visit to London? When weather is good, we love parks. When it's raining, we're at a loss. Are there any especially good libraries or other places for this kind of thing? Thanks!
posted by honest knave on Oct 14, 2013 - 14 answers

Depressed people who ask for advice and angrily shoot it all down: Why?

A question for those who have suffered severe depression: Did you have circular conversations where you asked for help and then shot down all suggestions/offers? What did you get out of those conversations? What were you really trying to achieve? What did you really need to hear? [more inside]
posted by ROTFL on Oct 11, 2013 - 60 answers

I Need a New Job

I need a new job, and I have no idea what job I might be good at and enjoy. Please give me ideas for some jobs that I haven't thought of. I'm in my late 20s and working as a research analyst for a large firm, and I can't take the feeling that I'm not doing anything worthwhile (or even enjoyable) with my life. I'm not sure what to do. Do you know of any unconventional careers that might be a good fit? Please give me an idea of where to get started. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Sep 25, 2013 - 13 answers

how can I avoid answering standard, polite questions?

I hate responding to small-talk interrogations. I'm a private person, and I just don't feel ok with giving relative strangers answers to personal-feeling questions, even though the questions themselves may be fairly innocuous. I also get confused and flustered when people ask me a lot of questions, and I will make mistakes, even though they are about me. How can I avoid answering these kinds of questions? [more inside]
posted by windykites on Sep 20, 2013 - 26 answers

Dating filter: I like this guy - but he only talks about himself

I'm interested in dating and otherwise be-friend a guy. We have common interests and he seems to be "nice" and has a high level of intelligence. That said - Every conversation revolves around him. I love to ask people questions and let them "talk freely about their life or whatever"... but at some point you want to have a two-sided conversation. How can I politely make this point without coming across in the wrong way? This is not someone I have known longer then a couple dates.
posted by audio on Sep 18, 2013 - 25 answers

Yeah, I know....

When someone tells you some fact or story, is it rude to tell someone you already knew that? [more inside]
posted by side effect on Sep 15, 2013 - 21 answers

Compatibility without conversation

Can you build a successful romantic relationship without conversational "flow"? [more inside]
posted by chausette marionette on Sep 12, 2013 - 20 answers

Get the teens talking.

What are some great conversation starting questions to ask young people over dinner? [more inside]
posted by Mr.Me on Sep 5, 2013 - 19 answers

Congratulations! (as applicable!)

What phrases are reflexively on the tip of your tongue? [more inside]
posted by Chorus on Sep 5, 2013 - 33 answers

Conversations with kids?

I'm an uncle to three great kids, who are 12, 9 and 4. I love talking to them and listening to what they have to say about whatever they want to talk about. Our conversations end up being pretty fun and freewheeling, but sometimes I wonder if I should be putting more effort into what we talk about. Am I over-thinking this? More inside. [more inside]
posted by averageamateur on Sep 4, 2013 - 13 answers

How to talk to new boyfriend about his relationship with alcohol?

I have been dating a lovely man for two months. We met online. I'm concerned he may drink too much and would like to talk to him about it. [more inside]
posted by AlmondEyes on Aug 26, 2013 - 27 answers

Nudging the S.O. toward the Pro-Social

My sweet, slightly socially awkward boyfriend is about to meet my parents. When he's nervous or excited, he tends to talk a mile a minute and fill all silences with chatter, sometimes talking over others, or monologuing, or butting in before someone is really done speaking. Is there any way I can gently, er, make this stop? [more inside]
posted by enzymatic on Jul 20, 2013 - 20 answers

.... ...... ..... so...

What are some fun games/safe foolproof topic for awkward silences? [more inside]
posted by dinosaurprincess on Jul 17, 2013 - 19 answers

Why is eye contact so scary to me?

I've recently realized that I rarely make eye contact with people, so I've been trying to get better by consciously remembering to do it in conversation. But, why is it when I do make eye contact with people, it's terrifying? [more inside]
posted by averageamateur on Jul 15, 2013 - 22 answers

Dating while socially awkward

I'm no good at conversation. Should I bother with dating? [more inside]
posted by enigmatologist on Jul 10, 2013 - 26 answers

How to record and transcribe all conversations

Suppose I would like to automatically record and transcribe all conversations that happen around me. Is this technically feasible? What products and services would you use to accomplish this goal? [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Jul 9, 2013 - 13 answers

Dealing with casual bigotry?

What strategies do people have to deal with casual bigots when the situation mandates basic politeness? [more inside]
posted by Cannon Fodder on Jun 28, 2013 - 28 answers

how about that DOMA, huh?

I went to a dinner party the other night and was totally miserable. I literally had nothing to say the whole night. I'm going to another one this weekend and I need something to talk about. [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 26, 2013 - 20 answers

Giant hint or am I looking too much into things?

I can be very clueless sometimes, so I need your help: was my friend hinting at me or just making conversation? [more inside]
posted by anonymous on Jun 15, 2013 - 31 answers

How to stop Mr Unhappy driving me out of my favourite hang-out?

How can I stop a clearly very unhappy person from driving me out of my favourite hang-out with his lengthy recitals of grievances? [more inside]
posted by Flitcraft on Jun 8, 2013 - 28 answers

Did I just break up with myself?

I recently had a very confusing break-up conversation that I am having a lot of trouble decoding. [more inside]
posted by karminai on Jun 2, 2013 - 21 answers

Milan Kundera's description of conversation -- what book is it in?

In one of Kundera's books, he describes conversation so aptly that I've been using his description (with attribution) for years. But I really feel like I should quote it exactly and for as long as I've been paraphrasing him, I've been trying to remember which damn book it's in so that I can stop paraphrasing and start quoting. Help me, hive mind! [more inside]
posted by janey47 on May 21, 2013 - 3 answers

Personality Problem

How can a person be more aware of their personality flaws? [more inside]
posted by Fairchild on Apr 6, 2013 - 28 answers

iPhone Recording Options

I have a need to record phone conversations that occur on an iPhone. What are my options? [more inside]
posted by cjorgensen on Mar 22, 2013 - 5 answers

How to be good at coming up with analogies?

I want to be able to come up with better analogies to describe life and work situations. I'm thinking of the kind that the folks in The Bugle would come up with.
posted by Lucubrator on Mar 21, 2013 - 7 answers

Have to face my boss tomorrow; reported her to internal auditing today

I am a temp employee in a very small office. Obviously I can't comfortably say what kind. My boss made a dangerous error Friday, repeated the error today and then covered up both errors, in front of me, and not giving me any plausible deniability of knowin what she was doing. I reported this over her head and am now nervous about handling the fallout. [more inside]
posted by tulip-socks on Mar 11, 2013 - 20 answers

Lose a good friend or try to fix it?

Is a man who pretends to be friends with a woman when he is actually interested in more than friendship doing something shady? Should said woman (myself) drop him as a friend or give him a chance to adjust? He’s a good friend and generally a positive, interesting and charming friend to have (smart, insightful, witty, capable of deep conversation, trustworthy with secrets, understanding…). I’m simply not interested in dating him (for many reasons, the most glaring of which is that he’s sexist in subtle ways that I couldn’t tolerate in a partner), but I value and love his friendship and conversation. I do not want to date him, ever. I don’t know if I should salvage our friendship or let it go, for his sake and mine...I've included the details below but I think this summary captures what I am trying to intellectually and emotionally figure out. [more inside]
posted by grassbottles on Feb 28, 2013 - 54 answers

And the award for "Most Sploosh-Inducing Situation" goes to...

Quick, blush-inducing question: remember the diner scene in Silver Linings Playbook? I would like more scenes from movies/TV like that (basically, a conversation which plays out like an impromptu tango, and in which one/both parties finds themselves unexpectedly/uncomfortably/obviously aroused).
posted by julthumbscrew on Feb 16, 2013 - 12 answers

Is it possible to develop conversational skills later in life?

I grew up as a painfully shy, socially anxious extrovert. No friends that weren't online, could not talk to anyone. This was not a fun combination, so after Highschool I worked on fixing it and I've gotten better. I can make small talk, break the ice, carry on a general conversation. But this is not what I want. [more inside]
posted by Pericardium on Feb 9, 2013 - 10 answers

Look.... at... me....

Sometimes when I am in a three-person conversation the other two people make lots of eye contact but I am excluded. I hate this so much! Am I doing something wrong? How do I make them include me? [more inside]
posted by dinosaurprincess on Jan 27, 2013 - 18 answers

Opposite speech

Trying to find a reference about a type of conversation where what ever you say the other person will have an opposing statement, not because they disagree but because they say something "anti" in every case. "Confrontational conversation" maybe??
posted by Freedomboy on Jan 26, 2013 - 14 answers

Give me ammo for the next sexist conversation

I work with a group of colleagues that I get along well with, mainly male. However, certain subjects come up, my Sexism Klaxon starts going off... but any comments I make always get batted down with "chill out we're only joking" or something similar. Can you give me tips to not always come out of these conversations either seething with frustration or feeling like the Grand Ruiner Of Conversations? [more inside]
posted by greenish on Jan 25, 2013 - 89 answers

I like someone, how do I talk to them without sounding crazy?

I like a guy but I don't think of myself as attractive. Obviously, he is attractive to me, but I also think he is considered attractive by most people. People tell me that you should always aim for your own attractiveness-level, so I'm wary about this already. Plus I really don't know how to talk to him because I've placed him on this pedestal and I am completely in awe. How do I approach him? [more inside]
posted by madsy on Jan 18, 2013 - 27 answers

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