Not all dates are going to be home runs, but ideally we can get through the basic conversations smoothly enough to give us a fighting chance. However, when the conversation slows, there is a way to keep things from going downhill quickly. Here are some ways to avoid those awkward silences that threaten to raise the discomfort levels.
Ask questions that connect people emotionally. One of the best ways to start a conversation that will keep flowing is to talk about something the person actually cares about. You might not know what they like yet, but most people like talking about themselves so you keep your questions focused on them.
Think back. If you can feel that the conversation is about to hit a wall, you can always back track a few minutes and pick up with another topic you might have veered from.
Relax. You can’t always stop the nerves from flowing, but do keep in mind that this is just another human you’re talking to, not a Greek god. The more relaxed you can remain, the more likely your conversation will just flow as usual.
Skip the negativity. Sometimes as a filler, people have a tendency to complain or talk about something they hate. But when you’re getting to know, someone starting a conversation in a negative tone can get a little awkward if they aren’t interested in joining your complaining party.
Summarize what they say. If you aren’t sure where to steer a conversation, summarize back what they just said. This will show them that you’re interested, and it might also spark another thought they have to add.
Put your phone away. One way to keep a conversation flowing is to get rid of the distractions. You might be listening, but if he doesn’t think you are, it’s unlikely that he’ll keep sharing profound thoughts while you stare at Instagram.
Don’t interview people. Rapid firing off questions at people doesn’t usually encourage good conversation however, because they feel put on the spot and might clam up. If you fall into this circle back to adding something about yourself or asking them to tell you more about something they already mentioned.
Say something about the place you’re at. If you meet at a bar or restaurant, it should be pretty easy to throw in some comments about the place if you run out of things to say.
Don’t worry that you’re going to say something “stupid”. Awkward silence comes from silence not lots of talking. You’re usually better off just talking instead of overthinking and accepting that some of your questions or statements might be a little silly.
Ask him questions that you’re legitimately interested in. People can usually tell whether you care about what you’re saying or not, so even if it seems a bit off the wall to ask him about his childhood pets, if you really want to know don’t hold back.
Relax if silence does occur. If there is a moment of silence who cares? Stay calm and take a look around you as opposed to freaking out and staring at the dude.
Actually listen. If you’re in your head and trying to figure out something to say you probably aren’t really listening to the other person, which is actually the only thing that you should be doing.
Smile at him. Silence only becomes awkward when you start judging it, so instead of fearing the moment, use a break from talking to flash him your pearly whites and let him know how much fun you’re having.
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