Ahhh, flirty conversation; the fine art of give and take, the charming bouquet of witty banter, the dancing flow of energy. It can be such an appealing encounter of opposing forces, like a glass of chilled white wine or a cold beer on a hot summer day. Something so natural and fun should be easy, right? Sadly, this seemingly easy interaction turns many of us into a stuttering, boring wreck. Thankfully, the art of conversation can be learned and excelled at. The following series will help you avoid awkwardness, have more control over your desired results, & enhance those linguistical skills.
Oooooh, opening up. Sounds kind of scary, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, this isn’t about exposing your blind spot to the enemy (though if you consider someone you’re interested in The Enemy, then we have bigger problems). It’s about allowing the other person to get to know you. Now that you’ve practiced developing your sense of curiosity, it’s time to round out the conversation with tid bits about yourself, here are two ways of doing that:
#1. Be Vulnerable
Again, this isn’t as scary as it sounds. Being vulnerable is about sharing maybe just a little bit more than you normally would; stepping outside your comfort zone, so that the person in front of you gets a glimpse of the real you. According to Brene Brown, in her very popular TED talk, being vulnerable is the only real way to create change in your life and relationships.
- Have you made mistakes in past relationships? Share those if the time is right.
“Listening wasn’t always my strong suit, but I’ve been working on it” or “I’ve been working really hard on my career, and it hasn’t left me a lot of time to develop deep relationships”
- Show your faults in a humorous way.
Self-depreicating humor always goes a long way. Is ice cream your kryptonite? Do you have road rage? Are you afraid of spiders? Learn to share those things in an entertaining way. “Oh, man, don’t put a pint of Rocky Road in front of me or I’ll inhale it like a vacuum” “I don’t usually cuss, but when I’m driving my self-control goes out the window!”
- Share your life goals.
For example, instead of just giving a basic answer to a question, take it one step further – “I work at such and such, but my goal is to be Vice President within the next few years” or “No, I don’t have any kids yet, but that is something I want in the future”
- Talk about your family.
- Be honest about what you’re looking for in a relationship.
Being vulnerable takes courage! But, it’s also an investment toward an open and honest relationship – the more open you are, the more open the other person will feel compelled to be – think of the ROI! Couple this practice with what you learned about the other person while Listening to Learn, and you’ll be golden!
#2. “I” Statements
If you’re a little nervous about, or not really open to being vulnerable, start by practicing with “I” Statements. “I” Statements are exactly what they sound like: “I like…” “I think…” “I want…” “I don’t like…” “I’m looking for…” Since you’ve already been practicing the “Be a Curious-About-Life Person” exercise from the last post, it’s now time to start sharing those things in conversation. You are practicing, right? The key is to start verbalizing thoughts that you might normally keep to yourself.
Maybe don’t verbalize everything you might be thinking.
- Give compliments – if you’re thinking it, say it!
“I like that shirt” “I like your hair today” “I like those shoes”
- Share something interesting that you read.
“I read an article about such and such today, have you heard about that?”
- Did you do some research on a place you want to visit? Now’s the time to share.
“I really want to visit such and such country, I’ve been reading up on it. Have you been there?”
Remember our Be-Do exercise from a while back? This would be a great time to reevaluate that. What do you DO when you are being open? Dating coach David Wygant recommends that you smile and talk to EVERYONE; the bank teller, the checkout person at the grocery store, the kid selling cookies . . . NOT just the hot piece of meat you want to sink your teeth into. This way, you get into the habit (Be – Do – Have) of easy, open conversation.
Stay tuned for Part 3 in this series. Next up: Body Language… oooh yeah. Miss Part One? Here it is.
About the Author: Amber is a Licensed Professional Counselor and her goal is to help others become the best versions of themselves that they can be. When she’s not helping motivated clients reach their goals, she moonlights as the graphics guru here at Dappered.