[This is a direct extract from part of an interview we conducted with Vin on topics such as social skills, social anxiety, and conversation techniques.]
How do you make conversation with people? I ask this especially on behalf of a lot of people who suffer from social anxiety, and get pretty stressed out even just thinking about talking to strangers.
I think one of the big problems is that people tend to make it harder than it needs to be. When I coach guys, a lot of them seem to feel like they need to come in and get straight to the meat of it right from the start.
That’s just not the case! In the initial stages of the interaction, you can actually come in and say, “Hi,” to a person, ask them how their day has been, and basically keep the conversation at a very platonic level. There really doesn’t have to be any pressure here – small talk is a big part of conversations people have on a daily basis, even with people they’ve known for a while.
– Although technology has no doubt helped people connect, I feel as though the habit of talking to people without actually seeing them, especially through text, leads to more social anxiety when it comes to face-to-face contact. Do you agree? We’d love to know what you think about this, so leave a comment below! –
I guess the reason why people shy away from platonic conversations is that you can get stuck in them. If after two minutes you are still at a platonic level with a girl, and you’re just asking her the usual factual questions, like where she’s been, where she works, etc., then the girl would tend to become bored with the conversation and see you as someone who is just a stranger. That’s usually when she suggests she has to be somewhere else.
However, if within that 2-minute period you can manage to transition to a more personal level, then there is actually nothing wrong with starting at a platonic level.
Alright, so start at a platonic level – no pressure. And then you suggest moving things in a more personal direction. But how? What would be a good starting point?
Moving things in a personal direction is all about how much information you reveal about each other. As a good starting point, it can be great if the guy actually goes first in this. Whether that’s revealing personal qualities about himself, or perhaps even mentioning the names of his family members or friends. That just personalizes the conversation a lot.
Maybe he will start talking about where he works and why he got involved in that job, or the exciting things that he’s got going on in his life. Stories are a great addition too, and it helps if you recite the story beforehand so you remember all the details and ensure it flows nicely.
You will find that if you can actually reveal more about yourself in the form of statements, and even demonstrate a little bit of vulnerability in the process, that the girl becomes a lot more comfortable meeting you in the middle and revealing more about herself. For one thing, it will be refreshing for her to be able to meet someone new who is comfortable being upfront and honest about who they are.
It will also trigger some familiarity processes inside her own head. What I mean is that this is the way she talks with her close friends — this is the way she talks with her family members. Talking in a similar way with her will make her feel like you’re already close.
When figuring out how to talk to women, also keep in mind that women respond better to emotional topics and questions than factual ones. If you want to ask her about her work, ask her whether she enjoys it, or what motivates her to go to work – not where she works, or how many hours she works.
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