Conversation Starters for When You Just Don't Know What to Say
"And I've noticed something I really need to work on..." His text read.
"What?" I was worried.
That's all? What a relief.
"Sorta, yea... I've gotten so comfortable being by myself that in communal settings sometime I forget to be fully engaged socially. And since I don't watch tv I have nothing really in common to talk about with the everyday person."
"Try asking questions like this: How was your week? Give me a few of your highs and a lessons you learned about yourself.... What's up with you? Listening to any thing new in music? ... What are you reading lately? ...Those should help. I suck at small talk too. But I started writing a list of small talk questions to help me."
"Seriously thanks! I be stuck."
"Yup.. Make a little list. You'll feel better about it. I know exactly how you feel. Trust me."
"Yeah I'm gonna practice that."
"Introverts. Plus OCD. We have to pre-think everything."
"Omg!!! People don't know the struggle!"
Truth is, I am just like my brother. I don't do well with small talk. Put a big idea, provocative question, or challenging concept on the table and I'm all the way in. But small talk can feel awkward and disingenuous. I spend a lot of time in my own space. Or in public spaces, by myself. Ironically, I found that I have the most enriching conversations with total strangers, but when it comes to my own home-base network of loved ones - it can feel so weird because of the latency between our discussions or interactions.
I came up with a list of questions to help myself when it feels like the conversation is forced or worse than that, totally dragging. It's been working for me.
"What's up with you? Listening to any thing new in music?"
"What are you reading lately?"
"If you could re-do anything this week, what would it be?"
"How's your family?"
"Got anything special coming up?"
"Seen any movies lately?"
"Did you see the moon last night?"
My brother and I are both introverts with slight OCD. So we have pre-think everything. It's either this or feel a sickening case of social anxiety. Why make myself feel that when I can be proactive?