* I send out short monthly newsletters that highlight the best of the previous month’s posts to about 20,000 subscribers.If you’d like to sign up, click here or email me at grubin, then the “at” sign, then gretchenrubin dot com. Ask open questions that can’t be answered with a single word. ” This is a good question if you’re talking to a person who doesn’t have an office job.Recently, at a dinner party, the guy sitting on my right side was clearly very bored by me. ” or “It’s frustrating—I’m sure we have interests in common, but we’re having a difficult time finding them.” Clearly this is a desperate measure, but my friend insists that it works.He explained to me at length about how happiness didn’t really exist, but after setting me straight on that subject didn’t want to talk about it anymore, and after a few failed attempts at other topics, after an awkward pause in the conversation (my fault as much as his), he said, “Um, so where are you from? I’ve never had the gumption to try it, I have to admit.” It was such a listless, uninspired effort that I leaned over, put my hand on his arm, and said meanly, “Now, Paul, surely we can do better than that! (It is moments like that that make me happy that I basically gave up drinking.) So what can you do when the conversation is such a struggle? What are some other strategies for starting an interesting conversation with a stranger? On a related note, here are some tips if you can’t remember someone’s name. This Wednesday: 7 tips for making good conversation with a stranger. I live on the upper east side.” “Great…” Painful silence. Unless you can be hilariously funny, the first time you come in contact with a person isn’t a good time to complain. ” or “Have you decided to do anything very differently from the way you were raised? If he makes a joke, even if it’s not very funny, try to laugh.
She writes about branding, social media, and creativity, and always has fresh, interesting things to say.(sorry about that weird format – trying to to thwart spammers.) Just write “newsletter” in the subject line. We live in the virtual age where human relationships are no longer bound to physical meetings.But while it might be fairly easy to avoid topics that are likely to bore someone, it’s much harder to figure out what to say if you want to be interesting. Comment on a topic common to both of you at the moment: the food, the room, the occasion, the weather. I was trying to be all insightful and interesting, and these two people reacted as though everything I said was completely obvious and dull. Now, what to do if a conversation is just not working, and there’s no way to use the “Excuse me, I need to go get something to drink” line? A friend scans Google News right before he goes anywhere where he needs to make small talk, so he can say, “Did you hear that Justice Souter is stepping down from the bench? It’s also helpful because it allows people to choose their focus (work, volunteer, family, hobby) — preferable to the inevitable question (well, inevitable at least in New York City): “What do you do? ” This is a useful dodge if you ought to know what the person does for a living, but can’t remember. If you do ask a question that can be answered in a single word, instead of just supplying your own information in response, ask a follow-up question. ” an interesting follow-up question might be, “What would your life be like if you still lived there? ” you might ask, “How are you a different kind of parent from your own parents? “What newspapers and magazines do you subscribe to? ” These questions often reveal a hidden passion, which can make for great conversation. React to what a person says in the spirit in which that that comment was offered.
First chats are like first dates, where guys have no more than a few minutes to impress the girl.