I'm not very good at expressing myself verbally — and I don't think it's just a lack of confidence. How do I get better? [more inside]
I’m starting to think that I don’t know how to make small-talk properly, or else people tend to find me very boring. Or maybe both. Most of my conversations (aside from those with close friends or family members) revolve around the other person. Should I do something differently? [more inside]
I've recently come across an instant ice breaker that works nearly instantaneously for certain category of people. This icebreaker topic concerns asking people about their pets and it usually works like magic. Are there other topics that the hive mind has found that can act as almost instant ice breakers with people without the topic delving into personal areas that are not appropriate for, say, work, or while at a bar, or making talk with someone with whom you'd like to establish a rapport or a sense of connection? [more inside]
Recently in another question, someone linked to a fascinating article about New York Jewish Conversational Style. The article detailed quirks of this conversational style and discussed the implications of it on others who don't share the same style. Do you know of other articles that detail the conversational style of certain groups? Perhaps about people of certain genders, ages, areas of the country, socioeconomic statuses?
Can you help me learn to talk with someone who has a difficult (for me) conversational quirk? [more inside]
I'm a shy person and it seems like I will always be this way. As I've grown older (I'm in my late 20s) I've learned to cope with my personality quirks and to modify certain negative aspects of my social self, but overall I think that socializing and entering new situations will always be a little bit tough for me. But I still would like to challenge my character and learn to open up more. [more inside]
I'm a late-twenties guy with no friends. I feel like I need to get out of this situation somehow. What to do? [more inside]
I talk fast. Very fast. Sometimes, when stressed or on low sleep, VERY fast indeed. This must stop! My attempts at speaking more slowly, unfortunately, have often verged on self-parody in the opposite direction: far too slow, or like an English actor doing a bad American accent. What are some good ways to slow down my speech and avoid these pitfalls? Thanks!
I'm having success with online dating insofar as I've been lucky enough to go on dates with people I'm very physically attracted to! However, I turn into a terrible conversationalist with them when I'm on dates: I talk too fast, spiral off on tangents, try too hard to impress, fail to make decent eye contact and generally act like a schoolkid with a huge crush rather than the intelligent, mature adult I like to think I am. As a result, things tend to disintegrate after a couple of dates, because I'm not really being myself. How can I overcome this? [more inside]
How much talking goes on in your 3 (or more) person Scrabble games? I've been playing Scrabble with two friends recently; at some point, they decided to put a time limit (2 minutes) on each person's turn because I was taking a while to play. In our most recent game, I realized I was getting distracted during my turn because the two of them would chat a bunch. [more inside]
I am interested in learning more about how world-class magazines create grids that work for both print and digital platforms. Any resources that delve into how tablets changed the way magazine content is propagated and how they have affected modular systems would be great.
For awhile now I've noticed that I have a hard time having fun, light conversation when in one-on-one conversations. When in a small group (3-4) of people joking around, I can contribute. (In a large group I mostly just stay quiet and I'm fine with that.) But when hanging out with people one-on-one, even with people who seem to be naturally jovial, the conversation tends to get really seriously and sometimes depressing. [more inside]
My husband is a good guy. He consistently provides me with solutions to problems that a) aren't actually the problems, b) cause more work and stress for me, and c) perpetuate purchases instead of pitching in. I need help. But not like this. Advice on/scripts for discussion, please? [more inside]
I need to talk to my boyfriend about some issues in our relationship, but I'm notoriously bad at confrontation and I never know how to start the conversation. It doesn't help that from my perspective it feels like I have a bunch of complaints without solutions (other than "stop doing that"). I want the conversation to be fair and effective. [more inside]
I'm editing my poetry manuscript and foolishly I've got a few stray poems nowhere else except scattered over some Facebook messenger threads. I'd love to find a way to quickly download threads without scrolling through the whole things, so I can quickly locate the poems I want to add to my draft. [more inside]
How to incentivize myself to talk about myself less? It turns out I love talking about myself (monologuing), but I want to love listening. Tell me your tips and tricks! [more inside]
A friend recently told me that he and his wife will likely be starting IVF soon. I didn't know what to say and felt quite awkward. I've figured out how to talk with friends about being pregnant, but how do you make polite conversation about IVF?
I need to spend NYE having a sober dinner with people who have absolutely no interest in being inclusive. I can't not go. How do I survive this? [more inside]
My job is boring and not easy to quickly explain, but telling new people I meet who ask me what I do that my job is boring or it's "paperwork" seems to be mildly alienating. What the hell do I tell people? [more inside]
How should I let someone know whom I'm potentially dating that I'm unemployed and going through a transition phase in life? Should I even be dating? Any advice. [more inside]
I’m really bad at talking about what’s going on in my life with my family, on both the trivial and profound levels. This is really starting to hurt my relationships. Please help me learn how to do it. [more inside]
How much conversation time or "together time" should I expect in my marriage? Do I have unrealistic expectations of what a healthy marriage is? [more inside]
What are some scripts and/or techniques for ending conversations-- particularly in contexts where the other person clearly either needs or wants to talk? [more inside]
A friend and I travel together frequently. What are some interesting questions we can ask one another while we're hiking for hours on end? [more inside]
I'm trying to come up with a term that describes a phenomenon where someone's genuinely well-intentioned effort is criticized because it's perceived to be not good enough, or ideologically impure in some critical way. Examples inside... [more inside]
I am hosting my neighborhood women's discussion group tonight. I am supposed to have some discussion topics ready, but I have absolutely nothing. Help! [more inside]
I've noticed a trend on TV: multi-lingual families are shown having conversations in both languages at once. Usually, it's the older generation speaking in their first language and the younger generation speaking in English. Is this something that actually happens? [more inside]
Sometime last year (or maybe the year before?) while browsing r/creepypms I came across a painfully hilarious (hilariously painful?) exchange between some folks probably on steam. I haven't been able to find it again and reddit is a total cluster when it comes to browsing history so I'm turning to you all for help. [more inside]
Part of my job involves reading books and discussing them with preschool students. Sometimes, when those stories feature the police, the tiny kids will talk with me and my coworkers about how cops are "there to arrest you" and about family members who are unfairly in jail. How should we respond? [more inside]
How can I become more comfortable talking about myself and sharing my interests with others? [more inside]
I'm related to a person of moderate fame in a (global) community I'm part of. We share a last name. When people ask me my name, I don't tell them my last name, but if it comes up, they ask "Oh, are you related to [famous relative]?" How do I gracefully shut down, redirect, or prevent this conversation? [more inside]
I often meet a nice couple and want to know more about their life together. Can you think of good, appropriate questions to address this? [more inside]
A friend of mine moved to Philadelphia recently and is looking for places where he might run into people of a similar intellectual/philosophical/political bent as him, namely left wing, interested in critical theory, interested in reading hard books. My suggestion was the sort of cafe that radicals, hippies, immigrants and homeless people hang out at. We have a few of those in Minneapolis, but I don't know anything about Philadelphia. Help me, hivemind, you're my only hope!
I can't understand people at all and I don't know how to handle this anymore. [more inside]
I would like to be more curious about my fellow human beings. Curious people, how do you approach conversations with people you don't know? [more inside]
Hey all, a particular literary conversation has gotten stuck in my head for days and I can't source it. I've tried every number and combination of Bing/Google searches, but it may be that I'm not getting the exact words right in the phrase. [more inside]
I'm looking for movies scenes where protagonists don't understand each other, because of a lot of ambient noise or because the protagonists have to speak very low …people saying "what?", shouting, making weird faces, having a conversation based on a misunderstanding, etc. I'm looking for examples that happen face to face but also by telephone. Thank you in advance!
In Canada, if someone asks you if you are recording a conversation, can you lie and continue to record it? [more inside]
I would like to go back to speaking French and Japanese and found out that it really comes back to me better after listening to people having everyday conversations in a more "natural" setting (rather than podcasts, news, etc.). Where can I find some conversation-heavy videos to watch/listen to? [more inside]
If you find social interactions to be a breeze, can you impart some of your wisdom on this envied ability? [more inside]
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]
I am the sort of person I can't stand - an uptight conversationalist. Please help me be less controlling in conversation. [more inside]
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]
If you come off as dumb and/or uninformed in social situations, how do you correct this? [more inside]
Can these conversational hiccups be saved? [more inside]
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?
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]
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?
How do I avoid shop talk on dates? [more inside]
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]