In this blog post I would like to talk about an issue that I’m pretty sure affects many people but it is one that is hard to notice – unless you speak about it. It’s about having a problem to connect with people during a conversation.
Growing up I was very outgoing and it wasn’t difficult to meet new people and I really enjoyed getting to know the person I was talking to. But during my mid twenties I started to notice that talking became a tiring experience.
It became hard to concentrate on the conversation and to actually enjoy it and no matter what the other person said, it just wasn’t interesting.
In the beginning I didn’t see that it was a problem with me. I explained it to myself as „the person is just not interesting enough“ or „we have different interests.“ But when it also happened with my family or friends, with whom always had something to talk about, it started to concern me and I realized that the problem was in me – harshly said.
That made me feel less like talking to the point where I isolated myself and avoided everyone. It was almost impossible to connect with people I was talking to.
Why you can’t connect with people during a conversation
In my personal experience this lack of interest in talking became more prominent during my mid twenties. I observed the situations in which this happens to find a possible reason.
You can ask yourself the following:
Does this happen sometimes, or was it always like that? Are you feeling like this around certain people? Try to analyze previous situations to the core.
After a lot of thinking and a thorough “self-analysis” I found that these things prevented me from enjoying a conversation:
#1 Always thinking about something
Sometimes we have things on our mind that keep our thoughts occupied. It may be a project, an upcoming event or a problem. When you can’t separate your thoughts, you maybe think that you are present, but those thought keep running in the background preventing you from participating in the conversation and enjoying it.
#2 Worrying how people perceive you
This can happen when you want people to see you in a certain way. You’re maybe worried about your posture, keeping eye contact or trying to read what the other person thinks of you. This happened to me a lot and I was more worried about how I look in the eye of the other person rather that being present an enjoying the conversation.
#3 Worrying about that what to say next
Maybe you think that you are a terrible conversationalist and always try to come up with the perfect response to the conversation without really listening. This can put you in a stressful situation because you will do anything to avoid the awkward silence.
#4 Assuming the other person is boring
Sometimes we can feel superior to the other person and even before the conversation starts we decide not to participate. We assume the person is boring an we don’t go beyond small talk.
#5 You’re exhausted
It is an obvious reason but we often forget to take care of ourselves and notice the small warning signs. If you didn’t sleep well, go to work and after that you meet with someone, it is normal not to be very excited about talking and enjoying a conversation.
So what can you do about it?
How to connect with people during a conversation?
Having nothing to say during a conversation or simply being exhausted by it doesn’t mean that you don’t have social skills or that you aren’t interesting enough. The following steps helped me to feel more relaxed while talking to someone and making that time enjoyable.
Meditation is a great way to clear your head when you feel like your thought are all over the place. If you think that this is the reason why you can’t enjoy a conversation, try breathing techniques every day for about 10 minutes. I also like to use the app for meditation called „Insight Timer“. This will also help your overall well being.
Don’t worry about what you’re going to say next
Don’t rush to answer right away. We are all afraid of the awkward silence but use this time to really listen. It is your time to relax and let those words sink in. When we don’t know what to say, then it is possible that we don’t have enough information to form an opinion. That is a moment to ask and learn more.
I personally prefer when someone takes a moment after I’m done speaking to process the information. Responding the second you’re finished with a vague answer signalizes lack of interest.
Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself
Maybe you don’t enjoy a conversation because you feel like you don’t have anything interesting to say or that your life isn’t interesting enough to talk about. So you mostly just sit and listen to the other person talking. Take this time to express what’s on your mind and lead the conversation where you want it.
Choose the right environment
A conversation isn’t just about the words that are coming out and disappearing in the air. What I like to do is to create an experience out of the conversation because I don’t really like just to sit still and talk. So I would normally pick a place where I can eat or invite the person for a walk or maybe a picnic. So the conversation becomes more dynamic and enjoyable.
It’s OK to cancel a date
How many times have you accepted an invitation even though you didn’t feel like it? It is just normal that you will feel a bit frustrated and won’t be able to enjoy someones company. Don’t force yourself to attend social events if you don’t really feel like it.
Give people a chance
Some of us are simply not interested in small talk and don’t like to pretend to be, but everyone has an interesting side that can be discovered. When we first meet someone new, we often stick to a generic topic and it’s easy to say that the person is boring.
Some people may feel uncomfortable to talk about personal topics so they stick with a shallow conversation. Try to make the other person comfortable by sharing some personal stores. You don’t have to wait for the other person to start.
A meaningful conversation is necessary to form and deepen relationships. When you start seeing a conversation as an experience, you will open yourself to new ideas and connect with people more easily. If you avoid it because you’re having a hard time enjoying it try the mentioned tips and see if it can also work for you.
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