Remembering how to make conversation with adults again after being locked away with babies or toddlers with very little contact with the outside world can be rough. Even if you’re not riddled with social anxiety, you can sometimes feel as if you’ve forgotten how to talk to other adults once you finally get the opportunity.
So how do you put yourself at ease and regain faith in your conversation skills?
Wear a statement piece that has a story. Do you have a statement necklace that someone special gave you? Is there a sweet story behind it? You’ll have something to talk about as soon as someone asks you about it.
An ice-breaker piece can put you at ease as long as you make sure it’s appropriate for the occasion. You wouldn’t wear a sparkling diamond choker to a backyard barbecue, for example, just for the sake of sparking conversation. It’d be too obvious. But a chunky turquoise necklace would look incredible with jeans and a fitted t-shirt.
Remember, interested is interesting. Ask your new acquaintance questions about where she grew up, what it was like, what she likes to doâ€¦ To avoid coming off as if you’re trying to play a game of 20 questions, really listen to the answers instead of getting locked into a thought process that revolves around, “Oh, she’s almost done answering! What do I say next? How am I going to reply to what she just said?”
Simply listen, breathe, and the conversation will flow naturally. When you seem genuinely interested in someone, you instantly become interesting to them.
If it makes sense, keep a list of topics handy that you can sneak peeks at throughout the night. This is especially important if you will be chatting with one person or a few people throughout the evening rather than mingling with everyone in a crowded room. Keep the conversation going by sneaking a peek at a list of topics you prepared ahead of time while the pressure was off.
Also listen for clues about what your new friend is interested in. Sometimes topics will sneak in while you’re discussing something else. Revisit those. You may be able to get the person talking about something they’re passionate about; that means you have to do less work coming up with things to say.
Make eye contact. This makes you seem trustworthy, but it also shows that you’re genuinely interested in the person you’re talking with. That genuine interest is going to make them warm up to you as you chat. If you’re very shy, this could be a challenge, but with practice, you’ll be able to relax and maintain eye contact without having to make a conscious decision to do so.
Never meet a stranger.Â Have you heard of those people who have “never met a stranger”? They greet everyone as if they’re an old friend. When you meet someone new, pretend they’re already your friend. You’ll relax and the conversation will flow more easily. If you convince yourself that they already like you, you’re more likely to act in a way that will make them like you.
Smile, relax, and enjoy the fact that you’re out of the house, talking to adults again.
Photo credit: jonesor